August 14, 2015

"Chu-ri-chan, a cute little electronic creature...will switch on the lights and offer weather forecasts and wake-up calls...She’ll also perk up after being silent for an hour and scare the crap out of you."

Guardian News of the world’s first hotel staffed by robots, which opened last month near Nagasaki, Japan (where else?), immediately went viral, but few of the reports actually involved a visit. by Monisha Rajesh

'Robots are taking off in Japan and several companies manufacture them for service. In April the Tokyo branch of Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi put a humanoid robot on reception; Nestlé is investing in robots to sell coffee makers in stores across the country; and robots guide visitors round the capital’s National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation.

'The hotel’s owner, Hideo Sawada, says he wants to make this “the most efficient hotel in the world” by reducing manpower and having 90% of staff be robotic. The hotel is in the Huis Ten Bosch theme park in Sasebo, Nagasaki. Designed to resemble the Netherlands, the park is a sort of Dutch Disneyland, with gardens, windmills and tea shops – and so far most hotel guests have been Japanese families visiting the park. The hotel itself is a beautifully designed modernist property, with techy additions such as aircon that adjusts to guests’ body temperature.'

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