When you're looking for a hotel, there are a few amenities to consider such as a pool, continental breakfast, wi-fi, and fitness centers. Sure, cleanliness and proximity to different attractions is part of the deal, but the experience of staying in a hotel is more or less the same no matter where you go.
But Hann-na Hotel, due to open in Nagasaki, Japan this July, is bringing an incredible twist to the hotel experience:
The majority of the hotel’s employees aren’t humans, they’re robots.
The hotel's name is based on "henkō" which means "change" or "strange" in Japanese. It is a fairly apt moniker, given its complete departure from how conventional hotels are run. Robots will be in charge of a number of tasks including greeting and managing guests at the front desk, bringing luggage to rooms, room service, and housekeeping services.
Henn-na Hotel is located in Huis Ten Bosch, a theme park that replicates the aesthetic of the Netherlands. The first building of 72 rooms is set to open July 17, but a second building with 72 rooms more rooms will be available when construction is completed in 2016.
The humanoid robots have been dubbed "actroids" by their manufacturer, Kokoro. In addition to looking incredibly lifelike, these actroids are even able to exhibit some mannerisms and facial expressions of an actual person. Their software is also capable of reading a guest's body language, and can adjust the customer service approach accordingly. They are even multilingual in order to accommodate travelers from all over the world.
However, if there are any technical difficulties with the robots or dealing with an actual person is preferred, there will be 10 real humans on staff to take care of any situations that may arise.
"We will make the most efficient hotel in the world," Huis Ten Bosch's President Hideo Sawada told Japan Times. "In the future, we'd like to have more than 90 percent of hotel services operated by robots."
In addition to the high-tech staff, the hotel boasts other features such as facial-recognition software in place of standard room keys, tablets for in-room use, and automatically adjusting thermostats that can sense body temperature. The hotel is powered with solar panels and features energy-saving LED lights.
If you've got a trip to Japan planned and would like to stay at Henn-na Hotel, there is some good news: the nightly rates are really reasonable. Double occupancy goes for $75 per night, while a single bed can be had for only $60. However, if you want to go during the peak season when vacancies are in high demand, you'll have to get into a bidding war with other potential guests. Bidding is capped at $117, which is still incredibly inexpensive.