If you fancy sharing photographs of your latest trip or luxury hotel features with your family and friends, Postcardly is a great way to do it. It combines the simplicity and convenience of sending an email photo attachment from your laptop with the more traditional pleasure of a sending a postcard to keep.
For US travelers it is a novel way to send short messages and photos. Business travelers can quickly send a personal snapshot home to the kids, delivered by the postman. Those on vacation can send their favorite digital photo on a touchy-feely postcard home to colleagues and friends. They also make great postmarked souvenirs of your travels if you send one home to yourself!
This is how they work. Send an email photo attachment from your Smartphone or laptop to Postcardly, along with your personal text. They produce a real postcard with the photo on the front and the message and address on the back. They then mail it (stamp and all) to the people you have listed. They are not a phone app or a cheap gimmick, they are a good old fashioned postcard designed to be attached to the office pinboard or refrigerator with a fridge magnet.
A pretty cool idea for Luxique travelers who want to send mementoes home for around $1 a postcard.
A growing number of luxury hotels in the US are now providing tablet computers for guests to use in their rooms. Initially offered as a novel amenity for playing games, the iPads are suddenly starting to generate money for the hotels with new apps.
An Orlando-based company, Intelity, provides apps for the device that allows guests to order food, request wake-up calls contact housekeeping, browse hotel amenities and message other guests while lying on the bed.
These apps are being offered in 380 upscale properties such as The Plaza in New York, Mondrian SoHo in New York, The Hilton Inn at Penn in Philadelphia, Royalton Hotel in New York and 90% of Wingate Hotels. Each app is customized to the specific hotel in question.
However this self-service amenity is not only increasing demand for room service, it is cutting down on the workload for staff by directing requests straight to the kitchen for food orders, or direct to housekeeping for extra pillows. It is no longer the front desk staff that is managing the calls, but the software.
Intelity is now working on apps for hotel conference guests to see workshop agendas, chat with other attendees and read the bios of speakers. Restaurants may also follow suit, handing diners a tablet rather than a menu, allowing then to order direct from the kitchen and use the device while waiting for the robot waiter to deliver it.
First there was the oversized key on a giant metal fob that weighed down your pocket. Then there was the key card that you invariably left on the dressing table. Now prepare for the key-less luxury hotel room – with entry secured by your smart phone.
The technology, to be trialled next month at two hotels in the Holiday Inn chain, would mean that guests could choose to avoid the hassle of checking-in at the front desk.
Instead, they would download an application to their smart phone, which would allow them to open the door simply by holding their phone to a sensor.
Testing will take place for a couple of months at the Holiday Inn Chicago O’Hare Rosemont and the Holiday Inn Express Houston Downtown Convention Center.
Bryson Koehler, an executive at InterContinental Hotels group, told USA Today: “The holy grail for us is to simplify the room key hand-off moment at the hotel. “We don’t need to burden people with additional items; it just clutters up their lives. The beauty of the smart phone is that they’ve already got it.”
He said the technology would be compatible with most smart phones, including the iPhone, BlackBerry and Android. If the trial is successful, it could be extended across the company’s luxury hotel network with sensors fitted to about one in five of each hotel’s rooms.
by Andy Moreton
A swimsuit has been developed that dries off almost as soon as the wearer steps out of the pool or sea. The effect is said to be as natural as water sliding off the skin.
The technology works by letting water pass through the fabric rather than being absorbed into it. Each fabric fibre is surround by an invisible non-toxic mesh that creates a permanent water-repelling barrier without interfering with the weave.
It’s called the Sun Dry Swim and has been developed by Solestrom International, a company based in Brooklyn, New York.
Both the adults’ and children’s costumes are chlorine resistant. The swimwear for youngsters also has an SPF 50 rating and is promoted as ideal for children who are in and out of the pool all day.
“As a mum I’ve found these bathing suits an essential time saver,” said Amy Hardin, from Sun Dry Technologies, a division of Solestrom International. “I don’t end up with a bag of damp bathing suits to
rush to wash and get hung up as soon as we get home.”
by Andy Moreton