High-tech hotel run by robots opens to the public


A new high-tech hotel in Southern Japan is breaking the mould of the traditional hotel model, by employing a staff force made up of robots.

The five-star Henn-na Hotel, translated in English as ‘weird hotel’, and has 80 robotic members of staff on its payroll, plus 15 humans to oversee operations.

The hotel has opened its doors on site at a theme park in Nagasaki Prefecture.

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Japanese guests are welcomed at the front door by a robot at the reception desk, while English-speaking guests are greeted by a robotic dinosaur. It is thought that the robots are able to engage in intelligent conversations while serving customers.

More robots are then on hand to transport luggage to the hotel’s 72 bedrooms.

The hotel is currently in its first phase of development, with a second stage, including the addition of 72 rooms is due to be completed in 2016.

When the hotel was first announced, Huis Ten Bosch President Hideo Sawada, a former travel agent CEO, said he hoped robots would eventually run 90% of the property.

"In the future, we’re hoping to build 1,000 similar hotels around the world," he said, according to Japan’s Nikkei News.

Other features will help make Henn-na the most futuristic low-cost hotel in the industry, according to the company.

Guestroom doors are accessed by facial-recognition technology and amenities provided in rooms will be kept minimal. Guests can request items through a tablet when needed.

Instead of air-conditioning, a radiation panel will detect body heat in rooms and adjust the temperature. Solar power and other energy-saving features will be used to reduce operating costs.

Room rates will vary depending on demand and instead of being given a set price, guests will bid for rooms during park seasons, with the highest bidders securing a room.