Aloft Introduces Voice Activated Hotel Rooms

Filed Under: Hotels, Starwood Preferred Guest

While I like luxury hotels in general, I’m a huge fan of the Aloft concept. It’s unpretentious, consistent, and fun, all without trying too hard (unlike Tru by Hilton, which seems to be an annoying copy cat of this).


Even though they’re more of a budget brand, they’ve really embraced technology, from features like emoji room service to robot butlers.

Well, Aloft has just announced their latest technological innovation — voice activated hotel rooms. The voice activated hotel rooms each feature an iPad running an Aloft app that’s used for controlling in-room features. This new feature is initially available at the Aloft Boston Seaport and Aloft Santa Clara, though should be extended to more properties soon.

Here’s how the features of the iPad are described, per the press release:

  • Control Temperature – Wake up hot at 2 am? Simply ask Siri to adjust the temperature on the Ecobee HomeKit-enabled thermostat by saying “Hey Siri, cool the room” to your desired setting.
  • Adjust Lighting – Watching a movie or reading in bed? Use Homekit-enabled Philips Hue lights to select preset lighting options for every mood including: Re:set (standard lighting); Re:lax (evening); Re:view (movie theater); and Re:vive (morning). Just ask Siri to turn on the lights, turn off the lights, or simply say good morning.
  • “Set the Mood (Music) – Singing in the shower but want a new track? Say “Hey Siri, put on my morning playlist.” To use this feature, guests must be signed into their iTunes account on the iPad. Music plays through the guest’s personal device.
  • Explore Local Attractions – Need a virtual concierge? Just ask “Hey Siri, what are some attractions near me?” so you can navigate the area like a local.

Ultimately I appreciate any technological advancements that give guests more options, though personally I don’t see myself using this. For me, this is the point where technology goes from simplifying my life to complicating my life. That’s not to say that I don’t appreciate the option, but I just don’t personally see value in it.

Changing the temperature is easy enough, especially at an Aloft. As far as the lights go, typically there’s a light switch right next to the bed, and then from there I can decide which other lights I want to turn on or off. I’m not sure a voice-activated feature would help much in that regard. As far as local attractions go, I think I can research that better myself than what Siri could tell me.

Would you like to see voice activated hotel rooms expanded? Could you see yourself using it?

  1. I have hue lights hooked up to my Echo at home and I can’t imagine going back to the dark days of switches. But, as I travel so much, I find myself almost asking the hotel room to turn the lights on.

    I think if you ever started to use it you’d have a hard time going back to manual switches.

  2. No and No, There is a tendency to make this “One size fit all” and it really doesn’t.
    American companies have tried to make voice recognition work for non-US residents for more than 25 years. And with Abysmal results. E.g. Siri still doesn’t talk Danish to a level where it is usefull, and Siri is having great difficulties understanding Danish Accent.
    I dread the day I will be told, I have to sleep in an overheated room where the lights cannot be turned off, because some tech geek got the idea that everything should be controlled via an Ipad, and the rest of the hotel in the city are sold no, so no chance of moving.

  3. This is a good accessibility feature for blind or visually impaired users. All too often, any sort of touch screen device in a hotel has not been configured with accessibility features. Especially being able to turn on and off the lights, and adjust the thermostat with ease will be helpful. Many different kinds of Thermostats and light controls are found in hotel rooms, so this feature will make it faster for blind and sighted users alike to very quickly access these controls without having to learn an interface per se.

    I wonder if these iPads can also have the full featured VoiceOver screen reader activated, or if they are locked down? This would enable a blind user, for instance, to sign in to their iTunes account. VoiceOver can typically be toggled by saying to Siri “turn on VoiceOver,” or “Turn Off VoiceOver.”

    I’ve wondered also for a while why hotels have not outfitted rooms with the Amazon Echo with Alexa which provides a lot of voice activated features out of the box and through skills. The Amazon Echo with Alexa also provides good nonvisual accessibility.


    I’ve been working with voice recognition technology for 30+ years. The Amazon Echo is about the closest thing I’ve seen to a practical voice recognition device, but even it gets it wrong. I have one and enjoy it, but I’ve learned what it’s limitations are. The most useful one for me is “what time is it?” so I don’t have to have a bright alarm clock lighting up my otherwise pitch-black room.

    As far as a robot butler, meh. I’ll take a well-trained human any day.

  5. Can it pack and unpack all my Louis Vuitton bags and hang all my Burberry shirts and Trench coats in the wardrobe in the correct order or make me a bubble bath with pink rose petals only? If not, and as a SPG Platinum Ambassador guest, I’ll stick with The Real Butlers like The St. Regis Butlers cuz this Diva ain’t gon’ do all that stuff himself!!

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