World’s First Hotel Staffed by Robots Opens in Japan

Huis Ten Bosch, a theme park located in Japan’s Nagasaki Prefecture will soon get a hotel partially staffed by robots capable of identifying human faces.
2015 02 12 Worlds First Hotel Staffed by Robots Opens in Japan

Sasebo, Japan – Huis Ten Bosch, a theme park located in Japan’s Nagasaki Prefecture will soon get a hotel partially staffed by robots capable of identifying human faces. The machines will be responsible for room cleaning and provide porter service, front desk and other services in order to reduce long-term costs and ensure guests’ comfort, The Japan Times reported in late January.

Huis Ten Bosch is located on Hario Island in the southern part of Sasebo and it seeks to recreate the Netherlands using full-size reproductions of old Dutch buildings such as hotels, villas, theaters, museums, shops and restaurants. It also has canals and windmills on display along with amusement rides and a park planted in with seasonal flowers. Opened in 1992, the theme park is operated by Huis Ten Bosch Co. Ltd., a $12.5 million company with over 1,000 employees, led by President Hideo Sawada.

The new two-story, 72-room facility will be called Henn na Hotel which translates either as “strange” or “change” hotel. One of the most important innovations in terms of customer comfort will be the introduction of a facial recognition technology that allows guests to enter their rooms without a key. Additionally, several specialized humanoid robots or “actroids” will greet visitors and perform other everyday tasks that make their stay more enjoyable. Sawada aims to create the world’s most efficient hotel, according to The Japan Times. “In the future, we’d like to have more than 90 percent of hotel services operated by robots,” he said.

The hotel is scheduled to open in mid-July and another 72-room building is also in the pipeline for next year, according to the operators of the park. Should it live up to the expectations regarding the public’s interest, potential visitors will have to bid for the price they are willing to pay for a night. Normally, a single room would cost around $58 per night and twin rooms are priced at approximately $75. The bidding, however, is limited to ¥14,000 for a single room, a little over $115, which is still below the lowest rates offered at the other hotels of Huis Ten Bosch.