Charming. Eclectic. Fanciful. And oh yes, very technology-enabled. Such is Hyatt’s Andaz boutique hotel in Amsterdam. As visitors enter the hotel they are met by giant bells sporting ornate chandeliers cascading from the bell's great white lips like crystal clappers. Proceed further and see a simple desk with a laptop, but the laptop remains fixed. Rather than standing in a queue at a desk, a greeter meets you at the door with an iPad, already querying you about your stay and readying your keys, which eventually accept their RFID programming from a nondescript circle in the middle of the round table that sits precisely centered beneath the cavernous bells.
Not all hotels are the same, even within the same chain. That means different amenities, features, and services. In order to avoid getting caught figuring out a solution to a problem that could have been avoided with planning, scope out your hotels before you arrive and supplement their configurations by bringing what you need to make your room work for you.
I will be using my stays recent stays at two UK Holiday Inn properties: Norwich, and London, Bloomsbury, as a examples.
Since my recent trip to London, I've shared many travel tips. But this time I'm going to just let the following images speak for themselves. They come from the technology section of the upscale department store Harrod's. Look not only at the beauty of the crystals, diamonds, and gold plating, but at the prices associated with them. Keep in mind, a gold-plated iPhone 5s covered in diamonds becomes obsolete just as quickly as your basic model at AT&T or T-Mobile.
The iPad Air case market is now nearly as diverse as that of any other iOS device. I’m going to review four very different cases, two designed as heavy-weight protection and two as lifestyle cases.
Every time Apple ships a new phone or releases a new version of iOS the first thing most pundits check is battery life. And the news usually isn’t good, meaning that it’s about the same as it was in the previous version, or worse. During international travel, especially when one is on his own, a dead phone can be a very disconcerting thing. Apple’s battery challenges have created an entire market for external batteries to keep their kit going. I’ll comment on external batteries in a moment, but first...
On my recent trips to London and Washington D.C., I had the opportunity to review several pieces of Briggs and Riley luggage. I found them all superbly crafted and well-suited for the life of the commuter. The lifetime warranty on all bags includes repair coverage even for damage caused by an airline (but it does not include cosmetic damage). Each bag includes a unique serial number so it can be registered, eliminating the need to find original proof of purchase should the bag ever need repair.
If you want to take really good pictures with your iPhone or iPad you need to enhance your devices, or perhaps just not use them at all. I'll come back to that last bit later.
We arrived in Norwich after nearly 12 hours in a plane seat, first a flight from Seattle to Amsterdam, and then from Amsterdam to Norwich. We then wandered the Schiphol Airport for several hours, including a long period of time in Lounge 41. Eventually we settled in at the Holiday Inn, Norwich City Center.
To complement our current issue on travel, I’m going to be sharing my thoughts on tools and technologies I’m using during an extended stay in the United Kingdom. Starting this Sunday I’ll be in Norwich, UK, and then in London.
This first post will focus on the apps and other tools I used to plan the trip.