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High-Tech–Gadgets Appeal to Productive Travelers



Marquis Setting High-Tech Standards in the Desert

As more local companies look for meeting destinations, the demand for information technology also is expanding.

The Palm Springs area is slowly adapting to meet such needs, said a convention and visitors authority official, with one resort appearing to take the lead. The Palm Springs Marquis Conference Resort has enticed several San Diego companies and organizations to its location in the heart of Palm Springs because of its high-tech appeal.

“We did a write-up on the Marquis,” said Mark Graves, media relations manager for the Palm Springs Desert Resort Convention & Visitors Authority of a story that ran in the organization’s monthly mailer. “We expected a response from other hotels saying they offered some of the same services and amenities, but we haven’t heard from any of the others.”

What the resort, which was bought three years ago by local developer Mark Bragg from the Princess Hotels chain, does offer sounds impressive by most high-tech standards. While not revealing exact figures, Marquis General Manager Gratien Kruczek said owner Mark Bragg has spent close to $1 million in high-tech upgrades.

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“The infrastructure is complete,” Kruczek said. “Now we have to keep updating. We want to be right up there on the cutting edge of hospitality.”

– The Cutting Edge Of

High-Tech Hospitality

There are Gateway PCs in each of the 165 guest rooms that run Microsoft Office Suite, and all rooms also offer T1 lines. The conference rooms boast an array of high-tech gadgetry, ranging from $17,000 PL 9000XL LCD projectors to Intel Fast and 10/100 hubs and the ability to set up a Local Area Network for up to 100 computers.

“Give me five minutes and I’ll put a T1 line anywhere on the property,” said Robert Bartley, the Marquis’ sales manager for technology.

While the advent of the laptop and Palm Pilots has made the PC seem archaic, Bartley noted the in-room computer actually serves as an advantage for both the hotel and the guest.

“If we have 100 people in here who use a computer, four or five, maybe even 10 of them are computer-savvy,” he said. “Most executives have their laptops set up for them by their tekkies. I can fix that laptop and configure it to our system, but what happens when he goes to the next hotel, or goes back to the office? It has my configurations.”

It’s different for each laptop, he added.

“And god forbid he has a Mac,” Bartley said.

Guests can walk into their room and immediately access everything they need and download information quickly, he said.

– Intel Broadcasted

Live Web Conference

Intel recently held a business development conference from the Marquis, for which Bartley set up a live Webcast.

“That was so much fun,” Bartley said. “We went wireless from here to the (Palm Springs) Convention Center. We’re the only one here to be able to do that.”

Besides impressing Intel with their high-tech abilities, the Marquis provided uplinks and downlinks for television broadcasts from their ballroom when Sonny Bono died and when his wife, Mary Bono, subsequently won his seat in Congress.

Bartley added they did a television show during the millennium for San Diego-based Deepak Chopra and patched into a live Webcast of the Dalai Lama from India.

As if the hotel wasn’t already wired from floor to ceiling, cocktails with little umbrellas aren’t the only thing being served poolside. There are T1 ports around the pool as well.

According to ConVis’ Graves, the region is aware that companies demand more than a pool and a round of golf these days.

“We’re hoping, trying to be high-tech,” he said. “The Marquis is a great example of that. We want to let companies know we’re not just sleepy old Palm Springs anymore.”

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