VR really is coming into the mainstream, and it’s not just limited to gaming. Today, Marriott Hotels launched their VR room service, or VRoom service, in their London Park Lane and New York Marquis locations for a 2 week test run.
The first-of-its-kind service allows hotel guests to order a Samsung VR headset, stored alongside some headphones in neat retro luggage, for up to 24 hours. Guests can order the service via the Marriott’s Mobile Request app, or just use the traditional method of using the phone to access a dedicated VRoom service extension, having it hand-delivered to their room with some simple airline style instructions.
We went to the Marriott on Park Lane this morning to test the service with Marriott’s own new virtual content platform “VR Postcards.” VR Postcards are immersive travel stories that users experience in 360 3D via the Samsung headset. Each story follows a traveller who tells the viewer person stories about why travel is particularly important to them.
I watched the first 3 postcards, set in the Andes Mountains in Chile, an ice cream shop in Rwanda, and the streets of Beijing. It was an interesting experience, quite different to the experience of using Project Morpheus. VR postcards is altogether a more relaxing utilisation of the immersive nature of VR, allowing you to see places you otherwise wouldn’t with no pressure to perform any action. I can imagine after a busy day of working in London, it could be quite nice to come back to your hotel, order a VR headset and escape to Beijing, listening to interesting stories and removing yourself from your immediate reality for just a little while. Although there is something strange about the idea of being on holiday in a hotel and ordering VR to go on another holiday within your holiday. Talk about luxury.
VR Postcards will be available to guests partaking in VRoom Service at participating hotels, as well as to the general public via Samsung Milk VR premium video service, accessed via the Samsung Gear VR headset. In addition, Marriott again worked with Framestore’s Virtual Reality Studio to develop the technologies and techniques used in creating the VR Postcards experiences.
This isn’t the first venture Marriott has made into interesting immersive experiences for their guests, having launched a 4D experience last year with their Marriott Teleporter. Fortunately, this effort is bit less overwhelming for the senses and available in the comfort of your room. Apparently the service comes available as part of the room for now, with the Park Lane Marriott having 75 headsets at the moment for guests to try and give feedback on, but there’s currently no word on future pricing or when the service will be rolled out to other hotels. Hopefully there’ll be enough interest that we’ll see this service expand, because it’s definitely an interesting and enjoyable concept that will allow people who otherwise wouldn’t the opportunity to experience VR.
Main Image: © Marriott Hotels