Beginning this month, every room at the New York branch of the Ace Hotel will not only come equipped with Google's new Chromebook, but each device will also provide an interactive field map--what's being called a ?virtual concierge?--courtesy of longtime collaborators and travel guide gurus Superfuture. Hotel guests will be able to use the notebook computer, housed inside a sharply designed, custom-made felt slipcover, throughout their stay in the city.
This isn't the first high-profile collaboration for the Ace Hotel--it has worked with Uniqlo, Converse, Opening Ceremony, and other, primarily fashion, brands--but it does mark its first major foray into a high-tech digital side of things. For a hotel that has banked its appeal on an old-world, analog, functional set of ideals, working with Google is an atypical partnership.
It's an interesting model that other hotels will do well to develop on their own.
Alongside Superfuture, a company that presents itself as "urban cartography for global shopping experts," the hotel put together a detailed Field Guide of the best food, drinks, restaurants, art, design, and architecture hotspots in the neighborhood and around New York City. They then passed it over to Google's developers, who crunched it into an interactive map and app that can be downloaded, whether or not you're staying at the Ace, on Google Chrome. It's an interesting model that other hotels, particularly those with a design angle, will do well to develop on their own.
But it makes perfect sense for the Ace as well: If you're the kind of person that finds value in the hotel's point of view and taste in unconventional culture, then it probably doesn't matter whether it's in digital or paper. But just in case, the hotel is offering a flesh-and-blood pen-and-ink notebook inside the Chromebook's slipcover for additional personal use.
Chromebooks will be available at the Ace Hotel in New York through September 1. Download the Field Guide (sorry, Chrome users only) here.