The New Approach to Hospitality: A Hotel Run by Robots

Having robots in charge of the reception and placing robots everywhere, the Henn-na Hotel aims to be the most efficient hotel in the world.

Image: Henn-na Hotel

The Henn-na Hotel, which in English translates to Weird Hotel, is part of the Huis Ten Bosch amusement park located in Sasebo, Nagasaki prefecture. Run by Hideo Sawada, the founder and chairman of the travel company H.I.S, the hotel “is not about being strange, it’s about transforming and evolving,” Sawada tells Business Insider. “Having robots in charge of the reception and placing robots everywhere, we aim to make it the most efficient hotel in the world.”

The hotel employs a handful of IoT technologies intended to engage and awe the user, as well as handle all basic duties required to operate a hotel. It is among the first to use facial recognition technology in replacement of room keys.

As you enter the hotel you are greeted by a humanoid robot that speaks Japanese and a dinosaur that speaks English. They prompt you to push a button on a touch-panel screen and enter your personal information. Once you’ve been assigned a room, facial recognition software allows you to open your door.

If you have any belongings that do not need to be kept inside your room, a large, mechanized arm takes your extra luggage and assigns it to a set of storage lockers, almost making you feel like you’re boarding a spaceship.

Henn-na Hotel smart building

Image: Henn-na Hotel

Porter robots help bring guests luggage to their rooms, and other robots handle basic cleaning duties, such as window-washing and vacuuming rooms. Electricity usage is reduced with the use of motion sensor lights that turn on and off according to your movement throughout the room. The air conditioning system is also sensor-controlled with technology that can detect body heat.

Weird Hotel smart building

Image: Henn-na Hotel

Each room includes Tuly, a hotel concierge doll that helps guests find restaurants, recommends events and nearby activities, and tells them the weather. In terms of security, human security officials monitor the hotel, along with security cameras, to ensure the safety of guests.

In the future, Sawada would like to include “block-shaped” robots to deliver room service and drones that can fly in small jars of snacks for hotel guests.

H.I.S. Co. travel agency has added a second hotel, near Tokyo Disney Resort in Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture, which features 100 rooms and uses about 140 robots. The company expects to open more locations and expand abroad, with the intention to show people that automated hotels can be a budget-friendly alternative for those looking for a no-frills overnight stay.

The price for a one-night stay at either of the hotels is around $170 per night.

Curious to learn more about robot hospitality?