by Tom Isler | February 01, 2008

Wyndham Smart ChairAt best, hotel bed wars can be deemed a stalemate, but a new battle of comfort is brewing: Welcome to the chair wars. Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, which already supplies ergonomic chairs in guest rooms, appears to have an early edge. Back in 2006, the chain commissioned a signature in-room lounge chair from Princeton, N.J.-based Michael Graves Design Group, and the resulting invention now populates hotel rooms in New Jersey, Texas and elsewhere. The “Wyndham Smart Chair” promises to be standard at all Wyndham properties by year’s end.

What’s so smart about it? The chair has an adjustable flat surface for each arm, perfect for snacks or computers; a power outlet and Internet port built into one arm; and the surface is protected by Crypton, a menacing-sounding product applied to the upholstery to keep it stain- and microbe-free.

InterContinental’s Crowne Plaza brand conducted research and found that 60 percent of business travelers believe more comfortable chairs could help them focus better in meetings. Now all Crowne Plaza properties have ergonomic chairs in breakout rooms and flex-back, banquet-style chairs with contoured seats at select properties.

Not to be outdone, Westin, which led the way with the Heavenly Bed, began testing a high-tech, remote-controlled toilet seat, the Brondell Swash 800, at the Westin Chicago River North, last summer. (Don’t worry, it comes with instructions.)