These hotels want to boost your IQ

CNN  — 

Sure, a cozy bed and warm shower will get the job done, but a hotel can provide much more than just a place to rest your head.

Hotels are smartening up in new ways, with thought-provoking experiences for guests that make a more lasting impression.

From in-house neuroscientists to specially curated TED Talks, inspiring events and networking opportunities, these hotel experiences aim for travelers to leave feeling smarter, more productive and more energized.

Boost your brain power

Corinthia Hotel in London has brought in an in-house neuroscientist, Dr. Tara Swart.

Life on the road can be trying. Between time zones and meetings, constant travel can take a toll on even the most acclimated professionals.

To help travelers find mental clarity, Corinthia Hotel in London has introduced a unique amenity: an in-house neuroscientist.

“Travelers are often surprised to hear that the effect of long-haul flying on the brain can be extremely disruptive,” Tara Swart, the hotel’s neuroscientist in residence, tells CNN.

“Typical Corinthia guests are people working in high-profile, high-intensity professions for which their brains need to be in peak condition.”

The hotel’s Brain Power package includes specially tailored spa treatments, food, mocktails and amenities – all designed to boost brain power by addressing crucial areas, such as nutrition, hydration, sleep and mindfulness.

“When working with the chefs at the Corinthia we chose specific foods which are scientifically proven to boost the brain’s executive functions,” says Swart.

“For example, dishes including nuts, seeds or leafy green vegetables, such as kale, are rich in magnesium. This helps to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.”

Throughout the year, Swart also holds lectures at the hotel, covering everything from imposter syndrome (a persistent feeling of being a fraud, experienced by high achievers) to the effect of technology on the brain.

“A hotel makes for a particularly interesting place to observe differences in mental resilience, and be able to offer suggestions as to how it might be improved,” says Swart.

“It’s a unique microcosm filled with people under differing types and degrees of mental pressure, from jet lag to meetings to poor sleep.”

Corinthia Hotel London; Whitehall Place, Westminster, London SW1A 2BD; 020 7930 8181

MORE: Smart hotels for digital nomads

Ideas worth sharing

Travelers staying at Marriott Hotels have access to exclusive TED videos to "inspire creative thinking."

The world’s largest hotel group post-Starwood merger, Marriott International has introduced several innovative concepts this year – from Coachella pop-up hotels to innovation labs.

“We know our guests look for more than just a place to stay when on the road,” Brian McGuinness, Senior Vice President and Global Brand Leader of Marriott Hotels, tells CNN Travel.

“We are always looking for new ways to enhance our guest experience and inspire creative thinking.”

To encourage creative thinking, the group has partnered with TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) to create exclusive videos for Marriott guests.

The hotel works with speakers in the TED Fellows Program and develops blogs, playlists and videos around the ideas – available on the in-room entertainment system.

Which featured speakers made the shortlist? French-Tunisian “Calligraffiti” muralist eL Seed, winner of the 2017 UNESCO-Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture; Moroccan architect Aziza Chaouni; Cosmin Mihaiu, CEO of MIRA Rehab; and “body architect” artist Lucy McRae.

In addition to these in-room and online videos, the hotel group is hosting its own live TED Talk salons in key cities around the world, such as Seattle, London, Santiago, Abu Dhabi and Bangkok.

“TED content does not only entertain, but also educates and engages on topics that we believe are relevant to our guests,” says McGuinness.

“The goal is to have these events and experiences help spark guests’ creativity and innovation, while inspiring new perspectives.”

The world’s smartest smart hotel?

Guests at the Hotel Schani Wien in Vienna can use their phones as room keys.

Located in Vienna, Austria, Hotel Schani Wien has been a step ahead of the curve since it opened in 2015.

Harnessing valuable input from the Fraunhofer Institute’s “FutureHotel guest survey,” Hotel Schani Wien opened as one of the world’s first “co-working” hotels.

The hotel emphasizes time-saving touches to ensure guests are as productive and efficient as possible, including online room selection, mobile room keys, Bitcoin payment, electric vehicle charging stations, and even electric scooters for rent.

“We try to optimize processes throughout the entire building,” Benedikt Komarek, Hotel Schani Wien owner and CEO, tells CNN.

“Business guests are used to traveling a lot – they know how to check-in for their flight or how to choose their seat in the airplane and they are looking for this fast service as well in their accommodation. They don’t want to stand in line or wait until it’s their turn.”

In addition to ensuring guests are as productive as possible, the hotel also aims to help them feel inspired.

The hotel’s open plan pays homage to artists and painters of the past, who exchanged ideas in Viennese coffee houses 150 years ago.

Travelers can channel the inspiring experience at Schani’s Wohnzimmer – the hotel’s “living room” – which is designed to enable easy collaboration and conversation with local and global cooperation.

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“Travelers can meet locals, work together on projects or just have enough space and facilities to work,” says Komarek.

“I think everybody gets inspired in Schani’s living room – you can feel the Viennese charm.”

In addition to its social spaces, the hotel also offers dedicated co-working corners. Guests can set up an online profile to introduce themselves, and even contact other professionals.

Another way of inspiring guests and locals alike is with live music performances, smart talks from industry leaders, regular networking events and a co-working breakfast every month.

Hotel Schani Wien; Karl-Popper-Straße 22, 1100 Wien, Austria; +43 1 9550715