In the southwestern city of Sasebo, Japan, a hotel run almost entirely by robots, from the animatronic humanoid greeting Japanese-speaking guests and the English-speaking dinosaur, to the robotic bell hop and the doll-like robot concierge in people’s rooms, is now open to the public.
Hideo Sawada runs the aptly named Weird Hotel as part of an amusement park, but he denies the hotel is a hokey lure for tourists. Japan just loves robots.
“I wanted to highlight innovation,” Sawada told reporters recently. “I also wanted to do something about hotel prices going up.”
Plus, it’s not a bad idea to get started on the robot revolution when Japan’s human population is declining so rapidly.
For just 9,000 yen ($US80), the general public can take a breezy stroll through the uncanny valley.
To check in, arriving guests can either talk with a humanoid robot who speaks Japanese or a dinosaur who speaks English.
The hotel staff waits patiently for guests to complete the check-in process. They have to. They are robots.
Floor robots, also emerging in Japanese airports to assist weaker travellers, help carry guests' luggage to their rooms.
Guests can leave their luggage in a cloak room, manned by a robot that probably wishes it was programmed for a more exciting job.
Hideo Sawada, president of Huis Ten Bosch Co., says the saved labour cost can keep the Weird Hotel affordable.
Each room comes stocked with Tuly, a hotel concierge doll that can help guests find nearby restaurants, recommend events, and acclimate them to sleeping with one eye open.
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