Kiteba: A Futurist Blog and Resource

Knowledge Ideas Technology Ecology Biology Architecture

A Night at the Weird: A Robot-Staffed Hotel Opens in Japan


As a sign of the increasing automation of service industries around the globe, and perhaps also a symptom of Japan’s ongoing practice of replacing its people with technology, the Henn Na Hotel (apparently translated as “Weird Hotel”) is scheduled to open Friday, July 17, 2015, in Sasebo, Japan.

According to the proprietor, Hideo Sawada, the hotel, although part of an amusement park, is not a gimmick, but is rather an attempt to use innovation to solve standard hospitality challenges efficiently and cost-effectively. The hotel uses a wide range of technology, from cameras to facial and voice recognition technologies, to serve, secure and protect guests. It seems also that room keys are to be replaced with facial recognition locks.

Here’s a little news item on Henn Na that shows some of the robots, including a diminutive T-Rex:

So, what a fascinating and innovative concept, and one that Sawada is committed to developing, including the potential addition of social robotics approaches that cater to and comfort elderly guests.

Is this the future of hospitality? Maybe. Maybe not. But here’s a view of Japan’s population situation:

Given the downward trend lines, the Henn Na may at least be the future of hospitality in Japan. And if the world’s population follows suit, it may be that a night at The Weird won’t be so weird in the near future.

Author: Eric Kingsbury

Technology Futurism Creative Marketing Strategy Art Music Writing Thinking Ideas

2 thoughts on “A Night at the Weird: A Robot-Staffed Hotel Opens in Japan

  1. Loved this post Eric and was not surprised to hear that the Japanese are leading the way. They did, after all, introduce the “love hotel” and the “capsule hotel.” And it was timely for me to read of the robot servants/helpers. Tom has me reading yet another classic science fiction novel, Clifford Simac’s City, which features a robot butler named Jenkins who survives 1000 years into the future, witnessing the diminishment of the human race after a mass exodus to Jupiter, and the rise of “Doggish” culture. I’m all for trying this out. Sadly (or not?) our generation just may be counting on robots for more than hospitality care given declining numbers in the health care careers and the coming wave of the Baby Boomer elderly.

  2. Thanks for reading Jeanne. Hope you and Tom are well. We have to catch up soon. Yes, the SciFi tradition of the robot servant; I need to read Simac’s City. I think there’s likely to be good money in automated elderly care; the Japanese are wrestling with a large elderly population now. So obviously some folks there are thinking about it. Sometimes, though, it might be interesting to see what the robots are really getting into when they enter service to humans. That movie “Robot and Frank” from a few years back was an interesting example of a senior-care robot manipulated by his elderly charge. So much to talk about here. Cheers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s