updated 12:56 am EDT, Tue July 10, 2012
Opus also offers iPads for 'virtual concierge' service
The Opus Hotel in Vancouver, an upscale boutique hotel, began adding iPads to guest rooms with built-in concierge services and software that guest could use in March. It has now expanded the program to include in-room iPhones that can be taken by guests and used while they visit the western Canadian metropolis without worrying about international roaming fees as they would if they used their own phones.
The iPhone isn't just another amenity, though -- it replaces the traditional "landline" telephones in guests' rooms entirely. Being set up to a local Canadian provider, guests can use the phone to make in-Canada calls without fear of surcharges, take the iPhones with them as they explore the city, and call the US or other countries at lower rates than they'd get from their home provider. The iPhone comes preloaded with hotel department numbers, reports USA Today, and is fully wiped and re-imaged after the guest checks out.
The Opus is a boutique hotel in the trendy Yaletown part of Vancouver, and rooms routinely sell for $300 or more per night. Online travel agency Orbitz recently found that Mac users tend to prefer hotels of this sort more than Windows users -- and the hotels appear to be responding in kind, with iPads used for concierge services or for menus and wine lists among other options, and Kindles replacing Bibles in a similar hotel in the UK. The Opus has been singled out as an outstanding business and boutique hotel by Condé Nast Traveler and Tripadvisor.com. [via USA Today]