I wouldn't call it bleeding edge, but it's definitely leading edge," says Steven Bearden, vice president, hospitality technology for Fidelity Investments, referring to the advanced technology at the new Seaport Hotel at the World Trade Center Boston and Conference Center, which opened on May 1. It's an anchor in the newly revitalized Seaport District in Boston's waterfront area. Fidelity is the largest tenant in the World Trade Center, the neighboring 250,000-square-foot meeting and exhibition center, which is managed jointly with the Seaport Hotel.
All 427 guest rooms have multi-line, digital phones with caller i.d. and voice mail. "Theoretically, a guest could have up to six phone lines in his or her room," says Bearden. Also, a 10BaseT Ethernet network serving the hotel (every guest room and meeting room) means guests can surf the Internet at T1 speed. "If you bring your Ethernet card and cable from your office for your laptop, you can plug in, access the Internet, and be on the phone and your PC simultaneously, and at T1 speed. . . . Best of all, all this technology is included the rate," says Bearden. Rack rates start at $265.
The 17,000 square feet of meeting space at the Seaport Hotel is a technology meeting planner's dream, with a fiber-optic network extending to all meeting rooms and ballrooms. The 8,100-square-foot Plaza Ballroom has windows that overlook Boston Harbor. Guest rooms in the 16-story hotel also have sound-proof windows, a wall-mounted safe large enough to store a laptop computer; TV with 43 channels (and Logan Airport's flight info); refreshment center; iron and ironing board; and umbrella. There's 24-hour room service, 24-hour laundry and dry cleaning, twice daily maid service, 24-hour concierge, and multi-lingual in-room directories and voice mail system. Also included are a fitness center, two concierge levels, and a business center with private workstations. A partnership with BostonCoach allows guests to check in to the Seaport Hotel on their way from the airport (a four-minute ride).
Meanwhile, the World Trade Center has been completely refurbished over the past five years. It offers a 120,000-square-foot exhibit hall, a videoconferencing facility, and a real showpiece--the 418-fixed-seat amphitheater. If you're are using both the World Trade Center and the Seaport Hotel, you need deal with only one meeting coordinator. For more information on these facilities, visit their Web sites at: www.wtcb.com and www.seaporthotel.com.
April, the Boston Harbor Hotel unveiled its new wiring, putting videoconferencing capabilities in every guest room and meeting space. The hotel's 28 suites and all meeting rooms feature fiber-optic connections for real-time videoconferencing; the remaining 202 guest rooms as well as suites and meeting rooms, also have wall-mounted jacks capable of accepting data speeds of up to 100 megabits (high-speed data or slow-speed videoconferencing), in addition to other jacks for up to 1.6 megabits. All rooms have two-line speaker phones. The hotel's advanced wiring arrangement allows data on a guest's personal computer to be sent from one guest room to another, from guest rooms to meeting rooms, or from either guest rooms or meeting rooms to the outside world.