Bleep blorp: New Japanese hotel to be staffed by robots

Maggie Hiufu Wong, CNNUpdated 5th February 2015
(CNN) — The robot revolution may be gentler than we thought.
We're not sure if the robotic staff at a planned hotel in Japan will be tucking guests into their beds at night, but they'll be performing plenty of other traditional hospitality tasks.
Huis Ten Bosch, a theme park modeled after the Netherlands in Japan's Nagasaki Prefecture, has announced plans to open a hotel with robot staff and other advanced technologies.
The hotel will be called Henn-na Hotel, which translates as Strange Hotel.
According to the park, the first phrase of the two-story hotel will open on July 17 with 72 rooms.
The second phrase will be completed in 2016 with an additional 72 rooms.
Operating under the motto "A commitment for evolution," the hotel will feature three "actroids" (robots with strong human likeness) that will act as receptionists.
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They'll be able to engage in intelligent conversations with human guests.
The hotel will also employ four service and porter robots, and others engaged in menial tasks such as cleaning.
High-tech features keep prices low
"We'll make the most efficient hotel in the world," boasts Huis Ten Bosch president Hideo Sawada.
Sawada says he hopes robots will eventually run 90% of the property.
"In the future, we're hoping to build 1,000 similar hotels around the world," says Sawada, according to Japan's Nikkei News.
Other features will help make Henn-na the most futuristic low-cost hotel in the industry, according to the company.
Guestroom doors will be accessed by facial-recognition technology.
Amenities provided in rooms will be kept minimal. Guests can request items through a tablet when needed.
Instead of air-conditioning, a radiation panel will detect body heat in rooms and adjust the temperature.
Solar power and other energy-saving features will be used to reduce operating costs.
Bid for your room
Room rates will vary depending on demand.
Instead of being presented with a fixed price, guests will bid for rooms during peak season. The highest bidders will secure rooms, though there will be a price cap on bidding.
The hotel says room fees at opening will be from JPY7,000 ($60) for a single room to JPY18,000 ($153), the highest possible price after bidding, for a triple room.
Superior and deluxe rooms will cost more.
Guests can already reserve rooms online through the hotel's website.
Huis Ten Bosch, 1-1 Huis Ten Bosch Machi, Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan; +81 570 064 110
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