First Hotel Staffed by Robots Set to Open in Japan

How would you like to be served and serviced by robots when you check into a hotel?  Sounds fun, well Huis Ten Bosch, is doing just that with soon to be launched Henn-na Hotel.

The Henn-na Hotel located in Japan will be manned by robot receptionists, bellhops and concierges. Henn-na will have 10 robot staff in addition to human staff and these android assistants will do everything from greeting guests to carrying their luggage to their hotel room.

“Henn-na” can mean both “strange” and “change” in Japanese. Henn-na Hotel will be two-story, 72-room hotel and will be a part of the Huis Ten Bosch theme park, which is designed to look like the Netherlands

Not just Robot service staff

Henn-an Hotel will truly be a hotel room from the likes of sci-fi movies like Total Recall. In addition to the robot staff, the hotel will be equipped will also have other hi-tech gizmos like facial recognition scanners in lieu of room keys for guest. Further, the temperatures in the guests’ rooms will be measured via a sensor that monitors body temperature rather than thermostats. All the rooms will be equipped with tablets rather than intercoms to communicate with the front desk, the lobby and the kitchen.

The Android assistant will provide a variety of services, according to the company, including room cleaning, front desk and porter services.  Henn-na will check you in with a robot receptionist and have your luggage carried over to your room by a robot assistant.

The entire robots fleet for Henn-na is being supplied by Kokoro Co. Ltd., according to a report in the Telegraph.  Kokoro has been developing its android models, which it calls “actroids,” since they first debuted in 2003. The lady robots will have the ability to make eye contact, gesture with their hands, and will speak Japanese, English, Korean and Chinese.

Best services promised

Henn-na will provide best of the robotic services to the guest.  According to the Japan Times, the hotel’s operator is promoting the venue with the motto “A Commitment to Evolution.” Huis Ten Bosch’s president, Hideo Sawada, told a news conference that the company planned to use the futuristic technology to make Henn-na the most efficient hotel in the world.

Starting with 10 robot staff in the beginning, the hotel plans to eventually make the robots do 90 percent of the hotel staff work.

Costly enterprise

Maintaining a hotel manned by robots is a very costly proposition and  Huis Ten Bosch seems determined to keep costs affordable. He says that the robots will help reduce operating expenses significantly, with savings set to go to the guests, according to the Telegraph.

A single bedroom will cost 7,000 yen per night, or about $60 which looks pretty cheap for checking into a sci-fi hotel. Also during the holiday and tourist season, guests will have to bid for the rooms, but the company is capping the bidding at 14,0000($1200.00 approx) per night for a single guest, according to the Japan Times.

The Henn-na is planned to be built in two stages, with the first stage opening July 17. A second stage will consist of an additional 72 rooms and is due to be completed the following year.

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