Okay, I admit it: I’m that dummy you see at the hotel gift shop buying an overpriced iPhone charger, because I pretty much always forget to bring one from home. But I have good news for forgetful travelers like me. Hotels are about to start rolling out beautiful, wireless phone chargers in every room capable of powering most new smartphone models.
Currently, luxury hotel chains like the Four Seasons, the Ritz Carlton, and the Fairmont are piloting this feature at certain locations, with the hope of rolling them out to all properties, and high-end boutique hotels like Lotte New York Palace and Twin Farms Hotel already have them in all suites.
The technology behind this new trend comes from a year-old startup called Courant, which I have profiled before. The company creates fashionable wireless phone chargers that are wrapped in Italian leather that cost between $80 and $175. While the brand has been popular with everyday consumers who want their electronic devices to complement their home decor, Courant has also provided a solution to hotels that have been trying to come up with a solution to in-room phone charging. “Wireless charging technology is compatible with different smartphone brands,” says Monish Sabnani, Courant’s cofounder. “This is a game changer for hotels, because until recently, offering phone charging meant buying chargers for every single brand of smartphone on the market.”
For luxury hotels, there were also aesthetic considerations to keep in mind. There’s nothing like an ugly bundle of phone cords in a corner of a room to ruin the carefully designed interior of a hotel room. But Courant has made their chargers from beautiful, high-end materials, which seemed a little indulgent compared to the cheaper plastic chargers on the market. For instance, the brand is about to launch chargers in fashion-forward colors like rose and blue. “Our hypothesis was that people actually do care about how their technology fits into their lifestyle and interior design,” Sabnani says.