One of London’s famous landmarks got a modern spin last week, as Café Royal Hotel—which opened just over a year ago on Regent Street—debuted a front- and back-of-house integration with Apple technology that's intended to streamline its entire operations process. Now, guests staying at the property can check in remotely using an iOS device, be it en route from the airport or over a cup of coffee in the restaurant, rather than having to queue up at the desk.
At Domino, the belle époque restaurant opening on-site this May as part of the Café Royal's new private members club, iPads will be available for guests to FaceTime with executive chef Andrew Turner, who no longer needs to leave his post to walk you through his intricate dishes. (The same devices will hang in strategically chosen, heat-resistant spaces in the kitchen, where chefs can reference recipes and plating guidelines without rifling through books and manuals.) But the smartest integrations are behind the scenes, where staffers will save time and manage customer relations by storing guests’ preferences (everything from pillow types to favorite playlists) and keeping track of housekeeping requests via iOS software. Add some extra bells and whistles in the Dome Suite, where guests can control a series of mood lights—and even a giant movie screen—via in-room iPad, and it’s clear that this 1860’s icon has landed firmly in the 21st century.
Sarah Miller is Travel + Leisure's European Editor.