While hotels are certainly getting smarter (think robot butlers and keyless room access with smartphones), a new hotel in Japan is taking things to the next level—with a staff of robots. The Henn-na Hotel, which is currently the world’s first hotel controlled mostly by robots, opened last month in the Huis Ten Bosch amusement park in Nagasaki, and comes equipped with a number of innovative features.
Designed by Kawazoe Lab, the Institute of Industrial Science, University of Tokyo and Kajima Corporation, the low-cost smart hotel opened with 72 rooms, but will eventually grow to 144 rooms in 2016. They also have a vision to expand outside of the Huis Ten Bosch grounds in the future. By rethinking the services and facilities typically found in a traditional hotel atmosphere, Henn-na Hotel conceptualized hospitality with robots as the main staff using the advanced technology available today. However, as technology evolves, so will the hotel.
From doorman to concierge, robots have been taught to efficiently perform various gigs around the hotel; there’s a front desk clerk for information, a porter to take your bags to the room, a cloak robot to store your coat and bags, and a concierge robot always available for service in the room. Virtually all of the essential hospitality roles have been fulfilled by robots.
Smart check-in and check-out services have also eliminated the need to wait in lines at the front desk. In lieu of traditional keys, the hotel also features the latest facial recognition system, which opens the door once your facial properties have been read and registered, so you won’t have to worry about carrying your keys. But if you prefer not to have your face scanned and stored in a system, you can also stay with a contactless IC card key as well.
Deploying automated service robots has reduced labor costs, and the hotel also strives to save energy and cut down expenses by using solar power and radiation panels to cool the hotel rooms rather than conventional air conditioning through ventilation.
Photos via The Henn-na Hotel
Of course, some people will miss the human interactions that come with a traditional hotel stay (and who knows what kind of mishaps could happen with robots controlling the building), but it’s not everyday you’re greeted by a dinosaur at the front desk of a hotel!
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Would you stay in a hotel staffed by robots?