Artist's impression of the Henn-na Hotel reception

Robot Hotel: Welcome humans how may we serve you?

The notion of robot hospitality staff has been around in science fiction for many years. Now a Japanese group is making it happen.

Have you ever had a problem with your hotel service? Unclean sheets? Lost your room key? Unaccommodating hotel staff? The Henn-na Hotel in Japan, set to open in July, wants you to have a comfortable and relaxing stay with the help of friendly service robots, who are there to serve you.

1. This is the conceptual image for the entrance of the one-of-a-kind Henn-na Hotel - aka the ‘Strange Hotel’. The owners hope that this will be a breakthrough in the hospitality industry, with low costs and ‘world-class’ productivity, all at a reasonable price for the client.

2. The first building will be opening on 17 July in Huis Ten Bosch, a theme park in Sasebo, Japan. It has 72 rooms and will be managed by Kawazoe Lab, the Institute of Industrial Science, University of Tokyo and Kajima Corporation. The construction methods and the use of automation and service robots are intended to reduce costs and are said to be expandable. Solar power and energy-saving initiatives will improve self-sufficiency.

3. The second building will have 72 more rooms and is to be mainly constructed from wood (whereas the first building is an all-steel structure). Work is due to start in early August and should be finished by the end of February 2016. The concept of the Henn-na Hotel is that it is ever-evolving as new technologies emerge.

4. This image shows the row of identical female robots that will check guests in to the hotel. Ten lifelike robot staff will run the premises, along with two humans. Customer facial data used at check-in will be recognised by the latest facial recognition system. Guests can check in and check out without the use of a room key. Cameras to read your face are installed in every room entrance, allowing smart entry without having to carry a keycard.

5. An identical set of 10 female service robots will be carrying bags, cleaning, performing porter duties and greeting guests at the front desk. These humanoid robots can speak several languages and respond to guest enquiries. Additionally, you can enjoy ‘humanly warm conversations’ with them while they work.

6. Huis Ten Bosch has designed the hotel rooms to have a relaxed feel: excessive services and amenities have been eliminated. They are more spacious than one would expect from a low-cost hotel. Facilities in the rooms can be operated with the tablet provided. The indoor environment is kept comfortable with air conditioning created with radiation panels, rather than traditional ventilation. The radiation air conditioner regulates body temperature without causing air turbulence.

Robot Hotel infographic

Robot Hotel infographic  

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