With its autonomous shuttles, smart windows and voice-activated room controls, the Lake Nona Wave Hotel in Orlando may well be the hotel of the future—today—when it opens its doors this fall.
“Every aspect of the guest experience at Lake Nona Wave Hotel celebrates the possibilities of the future, today,” said Suzie Yang, general manager, Lake Nona Wave Hotel, which is operated by CoralTree Hospitality. “From self-driving shuttles taking guests around town to voice-automated, in-room controls, everything is thoughtfully designed to be a marvel to the innovative eye.”
The hotel, which will have 216 guestrooms, 16 one-bedroom suites and two penthouse suites, is located in the Lake Nona community, a 17-sq.-mile destination with residential, business, dining and entertainment venues designed with the latest technology and wellness features. In addition to the self-driving shuttles, guests will see robotic lawn mowers, use super-fast free WiFi 6 and visit a Verizon 5G Innovation Hub.
“The hotel serves as a gift for our lively city, known as the ‘smart city with soul,’” she said. “We aim to be an extension of the innovation already in place in Lake Nona. For example, the community is home to a 650-acre health and life sciences hub featuring the nation’s top hospitals, universities and research institutions, where wellness and tech work together; the newly opened Lake Nona Performance Club with the world’s only Chopra Mind-Body Zone and human performance labs; and WHIT, a first-of-its-kind home designed with tech-forward features that promotes sleep, relaxation, mental health and nutrition, including Hue lighting, health metric monitors, mobile apps, equipment for at-home exercise and more.”
She added, “Lake Nona is all about forward-thinking tech that allows for a more collaborative community, and the hotel is designed to do just the same for our guests.”
While the entire community is built around the latest in technology, the hotel itself weaves these advancements throughout. “Attentive technology begins the moment someone books their stay and downloads our app,” said Yang. “Not only can guests communicate needs with staff at a touch of a button, they have full control of their room preferences through voice-automated technology and in-room tablets. We all learned in 2020 that humans crave interaction and connection, so at Lake Nona Wave Hotel, we are using technology that allows our guests and team to connect with each other and have more time to do the things they are passionate about.”
She added, “Guests who have forgotten their toothbrush, want to order food to be waiting in their room upon their arrival or want to discover the many weekly enrichment events available to them will find this and more within the app.”
The entire property is the first to be equipped with View Smart Windows that tint using predictive intelligence in response to the sun and weather, saving energy as well as providing a health and wellness benefit by reducing eyestrain, headaches and drowsiness.
In addition, restrooms throughout the property, including guestrooms, make use of TOTO smart toilets, which offer luxurious features. Healthe Cleanse Solutions also use UVC light to provide hospital-grade sanitation to keep the property clean.
While increased technology often has a perception that it takes away from the personal hospitality aspect of a hotel stay, the designers remained focused on keeping that interaction top of mind. “There’s been a seamless synergy between the two throughout this process,” she said. “Our team carefully selected tech-forward features that will enhance the guest experience through convenience, ease and relaxation. Additionally, the level of technology coursing through the entire hotel creates endless possibilities for the kind of personalization that today’s travelers are after.”
Also important to the hotel and the entire Lake Nona community, is the health and wellness of its residents and guests. The community has miles of nature trails.
Just outside of the hotel is the performance club, a 130,000-sq.-ft. center of well-being that be will home to Dr. Deepak Chopra’s Mind-Body Zone and Spa, a first-of-its-kind for holistic wellness, according to the developers. The center will also offer a ROX rock-climbing gym and premier indoor performance training center for golfers in partnership with InClubGolf, their first location in the Southeast.
Guests will also have access to the nearby U.S. Tennis Association’s National Campus; Nona Adventure Park, a water-based entertainment center with an inflatable aqua-park obstacle course, cable park and a 60-ft. climbing tower with a ropes course and rock walls; and Drive Shack, a premium entertainment destination with an augmented reality driving range.
Health and wellness and technology both have influenced the design of the property. The hotel will be centered around a whimsical, open-air garden designed by Jeff Thompson, Lake Nona’s director of landscape architecture. The plaza will have almost 300 palm trees across six species atop a turf lawn designed to evoke the energy radiating from a pebble skimming a pond.
Arquitectonica, the architect of record for the hotel, created what it refers to as a “unique, unexpected and playful design,” with the building itself resembling an energy wave.
The interior of the hotel, designed by Blue Lantern Studios, with art curated by Amy Parry Projects, features an abundance of colors, lines and textures to stimulate the imagination, according to Yang. “The line between art and design is blurred as individual art pieces are paired with custom furniture, dramatic wallcoverings become enhanced by bespoke lighting and carpets and drapes feature gallery-worthy custom designs,” she said.
Many of those art pieces are part of the hotel’s Living Room, with its stadium-seating staircase lounge and game room, in niches designed to be conversation starters.
Within the hotel, guests will have two dining concepts, as well as two cocktail bars. Nearby in the Lake Nona community, guests can take the autonomous shuttles by BEEP to Boxi Park, an open-air destination built using 14 repurposed shipping containers, with restaurants, an outdoor stage and beach volleyball.
With businesses located within the Lake Nona community, the hotel will also be a destination for meeting and events—with 12,000 sq. ft. of event space. Naturally, the space features elements of the latest technology and health and wellness, including an abundance of natural light, UV air filtration, leading-edge technology for hybrid events and complimentary WiFi 6 for meeting attendees.
“We’re at the forefront of the Work, Play, Live movement,” said Yang. “Meetings and events are a natural incorporation of daily life at the hotel, and we offer the most vibrant destination to do so. In addition to over 12,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, we offer several work spaces, dining, entertainment and a wealth of team-building opportunities close to the airport—a combination of offerings that’s unheard of in the region.”
While this “hotel of the future” hasn’t even welcomed guests yet, there are already plans to add more innovations, including an electric air-taxi network that will break ground soon.