This is 21st century, a time for many amazing innovations and inventions. Japan is the world leader in robotics technology. In July 2015, the world’s first robot-staffed hotel was opened in Japan. Henn-na hotel, all operated by humanoid robots, is grand-opening in Sasebo, Nagasaki near the popular Netherlands-inspired theme park called Huis Ten Bosch. The name of the hotel, Henn na means “strange” in Japanese. During the opening ceremony for the hotel, the CEO, Hideo Sawada said “The concept is not about being strange, it’s about transforming and evolving”. It is definitely a unique experience to be served by robots, to say the least, “excitement meets comfort”. With this concept catching on, in March 15th, 2017, committed to evolution with state-of-the-art technologies, all robot-staffed hotel Henn-na has opened its 2nd location near the Tokyo Disney Resort in Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture. The 2nd hotel has staffed with 186 robots, with a team of 7 people to handle emergencies for 144 rooms.
When you step into the lobby, right at the front desk, you will be greeted by 3 friendly robots that will handle the check-in and check-out process for you. These robots can be velociraptors, a human look-alike robot, or a robot standing behind the concierge counters to greet and help you with the check-in. But not all hotel staffs are robots. There are a few human staffs at the facility at all time to attend to guests as needed.
There is a pay locker exclusively for guests staying at the hotel. You can use it to store your bags before check-in or after check-out. Here, your bags will be taken by a robotic arm. Simply place your bag in the "Baggage Handling Door" (42cm × 72cm) and the robotic arm will automatically store it in a locker for you.
Robot-staffed hotels in Japan replaced human porters with robotic porters.
The facial recognition system records an image of each guest's face, allowing for keyless locking and unlocking of guest rooms. The hotels also provide key cards on request, so it is possible to stay without using facial recognition.
Each hotel room is equipped with a room concierge robot looking like a dinosaur egg named Tapia. Tapia is like a cute version of Alexa. It can give you information on weather, chose a song based on the music you are humming. Robot Tapia control lights, temperature in the room and set wake-up calls.
The Henn na Hotel in Sasebo, Nagasaki has been recognized by Guinness World Records as “the first robot-staffed hotel” in the world.
Hideo Sawada, president of the theme park owned by travel agency H.I.S. Co., said at a news conference in Tokyo at the grand opening,“Our hotel will keep on moving with the evolution of robots and artificial intelligence, aiming to entertain our guests better and make them happy”.
Despite the hype of the all robot-staffed hotels, there are still rooms for improvement. Here are a few lacking services guests should be aware of:
Don’t expect daily bed making service unless you stay long than 6 nights or pay a nominal fee for the service.
Another thing missing from the service is in-room dining service. Those robots won’t bring you breakfast to your room door.
Robotic staff can be exciting at first. But the human touch is irreplaceable. The kids might have a blast ordering these robots around. It is definitely an experience we’d like to have at least once in our lifetime.