The Marlin Hotel, which was built in 1939 by architect Laurence Murray Dixon, is a pre-World War II property located in Miami Beach. The building is recognizable for its Art Deco design and entertainment industry connections (The Marlin is home to South Beach Studios), but it's now becoming known for something else entirely—a savvy in-room technology system.
In September, the Marlin completed the installation of an Apple-based control system designed by Savant Systems. The new technology allows travelers to operate several guestroom features from an iPad, presented to them at check-in.
"When we saw the demonstration from Savant, we thought it was exactly what we needed," says Walid Sfeir, general manager of The Marlin. "We wanted to make it a highlight of the hotel. The system is unique, it's convenient, and guests love it."
Sfeir knew that going forward, he would have to set his boutique property, which contains only 16 rooms, apart from the extensive list of destinations and locations in Miami Beach. He believed investing in a system that provides guests with easy-to-use control of their surroundings was a good way to accomplish that goal.
With the upgrade, guests at The Marlin can control the lighting, climate, shades, and drapes in their suites. All audio-visual components can also be controlled with the tap of a finger, and content can be displayed on a 60” flat-screen TV or heard through speakers in both the bedroom and bathroom.
"This puts us on another level," says Sfeir. "Miami Beach has so many choices. We've created a niche difference that is unlike anybody else."
Although Sfeir knows investing in technology can be risky, he feels confident that he made the right decision by choosing Apple-based technology.
"The great thing about this system is that we can always upgrade it," he says. "The hardware is there, and we'll probably just need to upgrade the software down the line."
The hotel's decision to make the iPad a main drawing point for potential guests further supports just how important and vital technology is becoming to travelers and guests all around the world.
For The Marlin, there was never any doubt about installing such a high-tech system into the historic property. At the end of the day, the control system is improving the guest experience and building buzz for the hotel through online reviews and plenty of publicity.
"In our case, this update combines the old with the new. It's the contrast that people love," says Sfeir. "This is the future. If you're in the hospitality industry, this is something you really must have."
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