Who knew that the Hilton Garden Inn LAX is where the Bev Hills-based hotel company tests out its new ideas? Actually, the hotel operates normally except for a secret wing that's code-named "University." As explained by Joe Brancatelli at portfolio.com, guests staying at the El Segundo property might be summoned to check out a "room of the future" (you need to be a Hilton HHonors Diamond V.I.P. member to be eligible). There are only 15 rooms in the University wing, and apparently there's heavy demand.
Besides next-generation design schemes and amenities—the wing houses everything from a new look for Doubletree rooms to a new version of Homewood Suites, Hilton's apartment-like extended-stay brand—there's also Room 267, Hilton's "technology room." As you might expect, it's stocked with the newest bells and whistles. A couple of years ago, a friend of mine called from Room 267 complaining that he couldn't operate the then-newfangled pod-style espresso machine. "It's complicated and challenging," Casaus says, "mostly because every possible new technology is in there and guests are sometimes overwhelmed."