Hotel Run By Robots Opens Near Tokyo With Pledge To Expand

(TN) Technocrats have built a hotel that is staffed exclusively with robots, from service to maids to window washers. They built it, but will anyone come?  TN Editor

(Japan Times) Major travel agency H.I.S. Co. on Wednesday celebrated the opening of its second robot-staffed Henn na Hotel. The new location is near the Tokyo Disney Resort in Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture.

The name is a play on a Japanese word meaning strange.

It is the company’s first opening of a hotel staffed by robots in the Kanto region, and there are plans in the works to launch 100 more, including overseas, within the next five years.

The aim of Henn na Hotel “is not about being strange, it’s about transforming and evolving,” Hideo Sawada, founder and chairman of H.I.S., said during an opening ceremony held the same day.

“Having robots in charge of the reception and placing robots everywhere, we aim to make it the most efficient hotel in the world,” he said.

Sawada said the company decided on Urayasu for its new location — called Henn na Hotel Maihama Tokyo Bay —because of its proximity to the Disney resort. He said the entertainment aspect of the hotel could match the tastes of those who visit the theme park and vacation resort.

A staff member of the hotel told The Japan Times that about 80 percent of available reservations are booked until the end of March.

The original Henn na Hotel opened in July 2015 near the Dutch theme park Huis Ten Bosch in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture. The park itself opened in 1992, dubbing itself an “Eco-Friendly Future City.”

The park’s operator, Huis Ten Bosch Co., is a subsidiary of H.I.S. and Sawada doubles as its president.

The concept of the hotel is “excitement meets comfort.” It was recognized by Guinness World Records in November last year as “the first robot-staffed hotel” in the world.

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