Japan robot hotel fires most of its 'annoying' robotic staff

Robotic staff at the Henn-na Hotel include a velociraptor receptionist, an automated gardener and a one-armed claw that handles left luggage

Guests at the Henn-na hotel in Japan were apparently not impressed by their robotic hosts
Guests at the Henn-na hotel in Japan were apparently not impressed by their robotic hosts

A hotel in Japan has laid off more than half of its robotic staff following complaints from some guests about the practical limitations of the machines.

Among the 243 robots employed by the Henn-na Hotel, which roughly translates as "Weird Hotel" were a velociraptor receptionist, an automated gardener and a one-armed claw that handles left luggage.

The facility which made headlines in 2015 when it opened in Nagasaki Prefecture, also made use of more experimental machines, such as bedside table-sized butler capable of arranging a wake up call or announcing the weather forecast.

Glitches with this robot saw it wake up guests who were snoring loudly after mistaking the noise for a voice command, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The Hen-na hotel describes the concept as "excitement meets comfort" thanks to "state-of-the-art" technologies.

"One of the definitions of the Japanese word 'Henn' is 'to change, which represents our commitment for evolution in striving for the extraordinary sensation and comfort that lies beyond the ordinary," the hotel's website states.

"Staying at Henn na Hotel is filled with unexpected and delightful surprises. The unique experience will take our guests one step into the future."

When The Independent visited in 2017, there were no humans to be seen working in the hotel.

The initial success of the hotel led to several other openings of robot hotels, with the founder of the H.I.S. travel agency behind the concept originally saying he planned to launch up to 100 over five years.

(HUIS TEN BOSCH
(HUIS TEN BOSCH
(HUIS TEN BOSCH

“Having robots in charge of the reception and placing robots everywhere, we aim to make it the most efficient hotel in the world,” said HIS. founder Hideo Sawada at the opening of the second robot hotel in Chiba Prefecture.

He added that hotel was "not about being strange, it’s about transforming and evolving."

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