Friday, 17th July 2015
In General Japan News,
Japan's robot hotel opens its doors today
The Henn na, or Weird Hotel, is open to guests from today (July 17th), offering a highly unconventional stay in Sasebo, Nagasaki.
A dinosaur robot welcomes visitors to the establishment, where everything from check-in to check-out is handled by androids.
Visitors can choose one of several automated receptionists to facilitate check-in, as each one has different skills, such as a selection of languages.
They use facial recognition technology to process the transaction, as well as a touch panel for guests to use.
Visitors then load their suitcases onto a porter robot and type their room number into its interface, then watch as the machine transports their luggage to their accommodation.
The technology does not go just as far as the staff, with the hotel also featuring a wide variety of mod cons to make stays all the more intuitive.
None of the rooms have light switches, with guests simply speaking to another robot for lights to be turned on and off.
This android can also provide useful information, such as the time or what the weather is predicted to be like for the coming 24 hours.
The temperature in the room is automatically adjusted from data gathered by sensor panels, which show how much body heat is coming off guests.
Visitors can therefore expect the ambience of the room to be perfect for their needs without giving it a second thought.
Once a stay has come to an end, guests can opt to leave their luggage in the hotel's cloakroom, which is staffed by the type of large robot arm that is usually seen in manufacturing.
This device stows belongings in secure boxes, which can then be retrieved when the holidaymaker returns from their sightseeing and requires to pick their luggage up to leave.
In a country that is obsessed with robots and gadgetry it is not surprising that such a hotel has sprung up.
What is less predictable is that to experience a night's stay in such a quirky environment is very affordable for the averaged holidaymaker.
At just 9,000 yen (£46) a night, Henn na is among one of the cheapest hotel options in the country, which is bound to make it even more popular.
Hideo Sadawa, the hotel's founder, pointed out that use of robots and the lower cost actually go hand in hand, as the need for labour is reduced and the running of the establishment is actually highly efficient.
He added: "I wanted to highlight innovation. I also wanted to do something about hotel prices going up."
Despite Japan's love for such things, the public appear to have become immune to new trends such as this one and the robot hotel is getting less attention inside the country than you might think.
The foreign media, on the other hand, is getting very excited about the development and it is likely to be the kind of place that tourists add to their list of things to experience while in Japan.