Queenstown: Checking in to mi-pad, New Zealand's first fully 'smart' hotel

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Queenstown: Checking in to mi-pad, New Zealand's first fully 'smart' hotel

Queenstown: Checking in to mi-pad, New Zealand's first fully 'smart' hotel

The view from the rooftop terrace at Mi-pad Queenstown.
SUPPLIEDThe view from the rooftop terrace at Mi-pad Queenstown.

It helps to be technologically savvy to fully enjoy this smart hotel in Queenstown

The Place

The Queenstown mi-pad Hotel opened in August calling itself New Zealand's first fully "smart" hotel. It is one of only a handful of hotels that sit in the heart of Queenstown and differentiates itself by offering slightly cheaper room rates and stripped back services. Much is made of its reliance on technology to reduce costs to the traveller and use of the digital concierge Mia, an app downloaded to a smart phone, which enables self check-in and eliminates the need for room keys.

The Location

It is in the centre of Queenstown and in walking distance to many of Queenstown's most popular attractions, which is just as well as the only car park available is the public one on the street outside with a two-hour limit during the day.

The lobby at Mi-pad Queenstown, one of the many comfortable shared spaces, features a floor-to-ceiling electronic ‘social wall’, which was displaying skifield information when we arrived.
SUPPLIEDThe lobby at Mi-pad Queenstown, one of the many comfortable shared spaces, features a floor-to-ceiling electronic ‘social wall’, which was displaying skifield information when we arrived.

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The Service

I was determined to do things the "smart" way and walked through the entrance, phone in hand and ready to check myself in, only to be accosted by a helpful young woman who took my name and handed me a room key. All very traditional. I explained that I had downloaded Mia and she excitedly showed me how to use my phone as a key to the hotel and my room, adjust the room's lighting and temperature and how to add my husband as a guest (he was also required to download Mia to use his phone as a key).

Mia, the digit   al concierge, at Mi-pad Queenstown.
SUPPLIEDMia, the digital concierge, at Mi-pad Queenstown.

The Space

We were given a quick tour of some comfortable shared spaces, equipped with tea and coffee facilities, tables, chairs, lots of USB connections and the odd book to pick up. The decor is simple and modern with neutral tones.

Upstairs on the sixth floor there is an impressive rooftop terrace with spectacular lake and mountain views and an outdoor fireplace but the weather wasn't right for us to visit.

MARTIN DE RUYTER/STUFFThe Helicopter Line pilot Callum Fisher, photographs Australian tourists near Queenstown after a flight in one of the companies helicopters to the Remarkables over looking Queenstown.

The Room

The rooms are designed in a modern, minimalistic style, with all of the basics of a good hotel room. There's a fold out desk under a large television screen, crafted coat hooks that fold away to a flat design feature on the wall, and a comfy chair. I was surprised there were no coat hangers as they are one of the first things I use in a hotel room when travelling for work or functions. However, the manager informs me they are coming.

The bathroom was integrated into the bedroom. The handbasin (equipped with hair dryer and straighteners) was at the room entrance while the tiled shower opened directly into the room. The towels were hidden in the toilet room.

It took us a few minutes to navigate the control panels for heating and lighting, functions that could also be performed via Mia. Features included 'mood lighting in the form of a coloured light that you could set to any colour or a changing rain bow combination if you desired.

The hotel rooms at Mi-pad Queenstown are designed to be simple while providing all the basics.
SUPPLIEDThe hotel rooms at Mi-pad Queenstown are designed to be simple while providing all the basics.

Guests could easily spend a night in front of the TV with free wi-fi and chromecast providing the ability to link up to your own devices.

The promised "mountain and like" views for a standard room were also minimalistic from our room on the fourth floor but I liked being able to see out over the town centre (albeit through a beech tree).

Toilet and shower lights operated automatically when the rooms were entered and we discovered during the night that sensors ensured our smart lights would activate every time we moved from the bed â€" a handy feature in an unfamiliar place though perhaps not so desirable if there's too much movement on the bed!

Comfort Factor

In keeping with the simplistic design, the bed was a standard queen-size with big fluffy pillows. Things only got uncomfortable when we realised we had set the room temperature too high and woke up roasting during the night.

Food

The developers have chosen not to include a restaurant nor any kitchen facilities or equipment for visitors. Instead staff are happy to advise on food options in Queenstown and welcome BYO purchases and deliveries.

We made use of the free drinks at the hallway vending machine (the hot chocolate was fantastic, but I was not so keen on the coffee) but didn't purchase any of the breakfast cereal or drinks. Personally, I would have liked to have something more substantial as a breakfast option, complete with plates and utensils.

The owners of Mi-pad Queenstown say it is New Zealand's first fully smart hotel.
SUPPLIEDThe owners of Mi-pad Queenstown say it is New Zealand's first fully smart hotel.

The verdict

Mi-Pad is one of a new type of hybrid hotel that sits somewhere between the traditional offering and an upmarket backpackers. A big part of its appeal is its central Queenstown location. I suspect it will appeal to price-conscious yet upmarket travellers who really only want somewhere to rest their head after a day taking in the attractions and the many restaurants and cafes in Queenstown. It might appeal to business travellers also.

Having the necessary technology (and knowing how to use it) will allow visitors to maximise all of the "smart" hotel f eatures, but you can stay without the gadgetry.

Highlight

The central location and special views from the rooftop.

Lowlight

The lack of a cooked breakfast. I enjoy being able to take my time in the morning in a hotel room with breakfast, the radio and newspapers (when available).

Essentials

Standard rooms, such as the one I stayed in, are $215 a night. Courtyard rooms are $195 and deluxe rooms are $275. More information and bookings are available at: mipadhotels.com.

The writer was a guest of Mi-Pad Hotels.

Stuff

Source: Google News New Zealand | Netizen 24 New Zealand

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