Is your hotel room smarter than you? Mine often is.

"It looks like a spaceship," said Leslee, my 9-year-old cousin, as she pointed to the coffeemaker in our Colorado cabin.

Apparently we're no rocket scientists. It took three adults and one child half an hour to decipher the alien apparatus, which seemed to us to possess more parts than a Chinese puzzle and more gauges than a jet cockpit. I later learned it came with a 44-page manual.

Alarm clocks at some hotels are nearly as baffling. Not wishing to lose sleep over waking up, I pack my own, as do many other travelers.

In a survey in March of 1,000 Americans, commissioned by Hilton Hotels Corp., fewer than one in five said they relied on a hotel's alarm clock when traveling. Most brought their own or ordered a wake-up call.

When it comes to user-friendly technology, there is room for improvement in the lodging industry, said Alan Hedge, professor of ergonomics at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., and a frequent traveler.

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