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What I found inside Hilton’s ‘Innovation Gallery’ in Washington

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Just outside Washington DC, just off the lobby in the Hilton McLean Tysons Corners hotel – directly next to the Hilton global HQ – is the Hilton Innovation Gallery.

Opened late last year, it is a 4300 sq ft space where Hilton highlights its new ideas.  These are not necessarily things which are destined to make it into hotels in the future, but it showcases new ideas and new ways of thinking.  It also highlights new projects currently underway in the group.

I had a tour of the space last week.  Here are a few things from the Hilton Innovation Gallery which I personally found interesting.  The first two are already happening, whilst the bottom three are just concepts at the moment which may never be used.

Amazon Lockers

These are already in place at 100 Hilton properties in the US, allowing guests to receive packages.  The real value is for resort properties.  Why travel with nappies, baby milk, sun cream etc when you can order it via Amazon Prime and have it waiting for you at your arrival?

Five Feet To Fitness

This is a ‘hotel gym in a room’ concept which is currently being trialled.  Your bedroom is, basically, a gym with specially designed equipment which won’t disturb your neighbours.  The idea is that a hotel will have a couple of these rooms as part of their overall inventory.

Natural Walls

The picture below isn’t very obvious.  It is a hotel bedroom with the wall made of Swedish moss.  It does not require watering, drawing moisture from the air.  It improves air quality in the room.

The Chest Which Becomes A Table

We were quite impressed by this one.  I should have taken a ‘before’ picture too.  The seat area of the table below pushes back into the cabinet.  Similar, the table top splits into two and swings back against the wall, creating a 2nd top and side for the cabinet unit.  Voila – you have a dining table for two or four which takes up virtually no extra space than the cupboard unit.


Hotel TV sets may now be thin, but do you need them at all?  This hotel bedlight doubles up as a wi-fi projector.  It can project a TV picture onto the wall opposite, or content from your mobile device.

There is a lot more going on which I didn’t photograph, including in-room cocktail makers.  Some of it is more simple, such as wireless charging units for smartphones built into desktops or table tops.

It isn’t all ‘tech’, reflecting the fact that simple innovations like the Amazon lockers can also make a difference.  Hilton has also installed a virtual reality simulator which gives potential franchisees or developers views of typical rooms.

You can’t, unfortunately, just walk in to the Innovation Gallery if you are in McLean on business.  If you book into the hotel, however, you might find some of the ideas being tested out in your room, and if you speak to the staff they may let you take a peek.

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Comments (62)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • sunguy says:

    Errr….there is this thing called a plug….remove and voila…no more red light…..

    My favourite bug bear are hotel TVs that are technically capabale of having a sleep function (i.e. turn off in 20/30..90mins) where either the function is locked down or the remote control cannot access it……

    • HAM76 says:

      Most TV plugs are behind panels now in the hotels that I stay in. Accessing them require tools you can only carry in checked bags… Lately, I‘ve come across illuminated air-condition controls and USB sockets….

    • Riku says:

      to take control of the tv you need your own remote (such as one-for-all). The hotel room remotes are the worst thing for germs in the room anyway. Then unplug any data/cable box from the back and you have control of the tv. If they have set the tv into “hotel mode” (some makes only) then they seldom change the default password – an internet search will tell you how to get into the hotel mode menu and unlock any features/inputs they have blocked.

    • Graham Walsh says:

      This annoys me too. I do like a good sleep timer

  • Riku says:

    the problem with amazon lockers in the USA is that they only store the items for a few days. so if you order too far in advance the package might be returned since it arrives too early. but if the delivery takes a few days then it might arrive too late.
    I much prefer the amazon collect service in the UK where post offices will hold the package for two weeks, there’s even a post office at LHR T3 and I often collect parcels from there when changing planes (i do not live in the UK).

  • Graham Walsh says:

    So the real question here is, would you stay in a Hilton over say an IHG if you knew it had an Amazon locker? I’ve ordered laptops before and had them sent to the hotel for my arrival. Have always worried about it, but paid on card so protected.

    Also I remember ordering something from Amazon to be delivered to a Las Vegas hotel. They failed to deliver and had no idea where to deliver. If you could select the Amazon locker in the hotel, then there should be no issue with them not being able to “find” the hotel.

    • Rob says:

      None of these things are game changers – it is all incremental improvements which, taken as a whole, would hopefully make you choose a particular hotel over another.

      • shd says:

        You think Hilton would get (temporary?) exclusivity on the Amazon-locker-in-a-hotel idea?

        Can’t see Amazon agreeing to that, but stranger things have happened.

  • the real harry1 says:


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    I read that as meaning you can upgrade from Gold Credit for starters

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