iPhone Replaces Hotel Room Keys in New Pilot Program

Starwood Hotels & Resorts is implementing a new pilot program that will see two key hotel locations in Manhattan and Silicon Valley allowing guests to enter their rooms with their smartphones, reports The Wall Street Journal.

After installing the Starwood Preferred Guest (SGP) App, guests will receive a virtual key on their iPhone, which can then be used to unlock a door with a tap using Bluetooth 4.0. The newer Bluetooth specification, first introduced with the iPhone 4s, has been used in a similar way for many home locking products like the Lockitron and the August Smart Lock, but this is the first time it's being used on a larger scale.


Starwood officials are betting that the technology will become the standard for hotels in the future, replacing traditional hotel check-in methods.

"We believe this will become the new standard for how people will want to enter a hotel," says Frits van Paasschen, Starwood's CEO. "It may be a novelty at first, but we think it will become table stakes for managing a hotel."

Bluetooth 4.0 (or Bluetooth LE) is being utilized in a number of innovative ways. In addition to being installed in multiple different home locking products, it has also been used to replace traditional password logins on Macs through the Knock app and to deliver car diagnostics in the Automatic connected car device. Bluetooth 4.0 is also the driving technology behind Apple's iBeacons, which are rapidly being implemented in retail stores and other locations across the world to deliver location-based notifications.

Two Starwood Aloft hotels, in Harlem, New York and Cupertino, California, will be updated with the Bluetooth 4.0 technology during the first quarter of 2014. Starwood has plans to roll out the system at all of its locations by the end of 2015 should the pilot program be successful.

Top Rated Comments

jc1350 Avatar
109 months ago
This is neat, but there are times where a plastic (waterproof) card key would still be "better." Great Wolf Lodge for example. But for general hotel use, this is very cool.

My family went to Walt Disney World this past summer and we used the new MagicBands. Very neat. Waterproof RFID that was room key, park ticket, and room charge card all in one. NO worries about leaving an unattended card or phone by the pool and such. It was also convenient in that we didn't have to fumble through pockets and bags looking for keys, tickets, etc.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gnasher729 Avatar
109 months ago
More than waterproof... what if your cellphone is out of charge and nearest charger is IN your room O_O

What if you forgot your key in the room and locked yourself out.

Both problems have the same low-tech solution which involves walking to the reception :D
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Small White Car Avatar
109 months ago
This is fun and all but eventually wearable tech is going to take over this job from smartphones. In fact, isn't the Disney thing mentioned above already a bracelet?

THIS is where the iWatch will be interesting...not emails on your wrist.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Menel Avatar
109 months ago
Running android? Good luck getting into your room! Seems like a hotel apple would own!

Did you read the article?

"The company says the iPhone 4s or newer models and the Android phones running 4.3 or newer will be compatible"

This is what I really dislike about some Apple sites when they report about iPhone news: it always seem to read as if it’s an iOS/iPhone exclusive feature/app when it’s also available for Android.

My impression is that MacRumors and TouchArcade are particularly fond of replacing the word “smartphone” with “iPhone”.

From Google.

Version Codename API Distribution
2.2 Froyo 8 1.3%
2.3.3 -
2.3.7 Gingerbread 10 21.2%
3.2 Honeycomb 13 0.1%
4.0.3 -
4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich 15 16.9%
4.1.x Jelly Bean 16 35.9%
4.2.x 17 15.4%
4.3 18 7.8%
4.4 KitKat 19 1.4%

Only 9.2% of Android users are on 4.3 or higher.

Considering such a small minority of Android users are using up-to-date devices + this being a MacRumors site. I think it's A-OK to exclude Android.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ZOZO Avatar
109 months ago
Still can't find any Bluetooth LE keyboards. Imagine the battery life! I've been dreaming of one for some time now...
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Z400Racer37 Avatar
109 months ago
SO COOL with the hand twist hahaha. :D
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iPhone 13 Always On Feature

iPhone 14 Pro Screen Refresh Rate Upgrade Could Allow for Always-On Display

Tuesday May 24, 2022 7:23 am PDT by
Last year's iPhone 13 Pro models were the first of Apple's smartphones to come with 120Hz ProMotion displays, and while the two iPhone 14 Pro models will continue to feature the technology, their screens could well boast expanded refresh rate variability this time round. To bring ProMotion displays to the ‌iPhone 13 Pro models‌, Apple adopted LTPO panel technology with variable refresh...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Front and Back MacRumors Exclusive

iPhone 14 Pro Renders Highlight Multiple Design Changes

Wednesday May 25, 2022 8:56 am PDT by
Leaker Jon Prosser today shared ostensibly accurate renders of the iPhone 14 Pro, providing the most accurate look yet at what the device could look like when it launches later this year. In the latest video on YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Prosser revealed renders of the iPhone 14 Pro made by Apple concept graphic designer Ian Zelbo, highlighting a range of specific design changes...
iPhone 14 Purple Lineup Feature

Will the iPhone 14 Be a Disappointment?

Saturday May 21, 2022 9:00 am PDT by
With around four months to go before Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 14 lineup, the overwhelming majority of rumors related to the new devices so far have focused on the iPhone 14 Pro, rather than the standard iPhone 14 – leading to questions about how different the iPhone 14 will actually be from its predecessor, the iPhone 13. The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are expected...
iPhone 13 Face ID

'High-End' iPhone 14 Front-Facing Camera to Cost Apple Three Times More

Monday May 23, 2022 7:05 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 will feature a more expensive "high-end" front-facing camera with autofocus, partly made in South Korea for the first time, ET News reports. Apple reportedly ousted a Chinese candidate to choose LG Innotek, a South Korean company, to supply the iPhone 14's front-facing camera alongside Japan's Sharp. The company is said to have originally planned to switch to LG for the iPhone...
apple wwdc 2022

Apple Shares WWDC 2022 Schedule, Keynote to Take Place June 6 at 10:00 a.m PT

Tuesday May 24, 2022 9:06 am PDT by
Apple today confirmed that the keynote event for the Worldwide Developers Conference will begin at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time on June 6, the first day of WWDC. The keynote will be an online-only event, though a select number of developers have been invited to the Apple Park campus for a viewing event. In addition to confirming the keynote date and time, Apple has shared the full WWDC 2022...
2022 Apple Watch Pride Edition Bands

Apple Announces 2022 Pride Edition Watch Bands and Watch Face

Tuesday May 24, 2022 6:24 am PDT by
Apple today announced new Pride bands for the Apple Watch, with new Pride Edition Sport Loop and Pride Edition Nike Sport Loop options available. The new Pride Edition bands are available to order today for $49 on Apple.com and in the Apple Store app, and will be available at Apple Store locations starting May 26. The Pride Edition Nike Sport Loop is also coming soon to Nike.com. This...