For some, a tropical island getaway is all about leaving technology far behind. However, for many of us, technology has become such an integral part of our daily lives, that having a new tech toy to play with can be the highlight of a vacation, especially if the experience is somewhat akin to having telepathic ability – without needing to speak to anyone, or even having to signal a server, you can have meals and drinks appear on your table.
Using the Apple iPod Touch as a basis, the Coconut Phone offers intuitive menus and excellent visual fidelity.
However, what really impresses is how ordering lunch on the Coconut Phone in no way limits the options you would usually have when dealing with a server. When selecting a menu item, you are presented with various options for addition or deletion, and should the option you are looking for not be included in the extensive list, there is a notes section where other specific requests can be entered. So your Kobe Beef burger could be done just the way you like it, with all your personal favourite toppings and your favourite sides. Easy.
The device is not limited to ordering drinks or meals, but can also be used to book spa treatments and other services, so you can go from relaxing on the beach to a relaxing massage without skipping a beat. Talking about beats, the device also comes loaded with 1,000 tropical tunes to add to the beach experience. When you have to make time for the real world, the device also boasts internet access, so no need to get up and hunt down a laptop to catch up.
At present, the devices are assigned to a specific location, whether a specific cabana on the beach or a table at Barjack, which means that you cannot go wandering off and have your order follow you, at least not yet. But then again, who would want to when everything will come to you?
This is a big move for a company that prides itself on the personal touch, but according to Melissa Ladley, the innovation is part of the company’s push to constantly lift the bar and bring new guest experiences to the Ritz-Carlton.
The Coconut Phone was the brainchild of IT Director Carey Snider who has headed up technology for the resort since its opening in 2005. He worked with Runtriz, a leading hospitality network, to develop the protocols.
In spite of everything the Coconut Phone can offer, face to face interaction will still form the basis of all services at the hotel – Melissa assured us that the Coconut Phone was not the first step towards check-in kiosks!