A new Japanese hotel is staffed by robots, and it’s extremely terrifying


If you’re like most people, falling asleep surrounded by creepy robots isn’t your idea of perfect hospitality. If not, then this new Japanese hotel staffed almost completely with robots might be for you.

Henn-na Hotel—which means “Strange Hotel”—opens on Friday in the southwestern Nagasaki prefecture with a staff of about ten robots. The 72-room hotel is built in the middle of a theme park intended to recreate a small Dutch town.

The robots will check-in guests, carry bags, clean, store luggage, and answer guests’ questions in English or Japanese. The hotel’s management would like you to know that these robots are not the kind that are going to kill you or take over the world.

“You are sure to sense the warmth that these robots exude when chatting with them as they efficiently go about their duties,” the website says.

Sure, sense the warmth exuding from “Iwazume,” one of the concierge robots:

Does that make you feel better? How about now:

Some of the robots are humanoids who fall deep, deep into the uncanny valley. There are also cute robots that sit on your nightstand and can tell you the time or turn the lights on and off:

Bizarrely, the English-speaking check-in robot is a dinosaur:

Hideo Sawada, who runs the hotel, told the AP that the use of robots isn’t a gimmick but a serious decision to increase efficiency and lower costs. “I wanted to highlight innovation,” Sawada said. “I also wanted to do something about hotel prices going up.”

There will be a few human staff members, who will monitor security footage and make beds (which the robots can’t do yet). The hotel also features face recognition technology for the room locks: Instead of carrying your room key, guests will scan their faces to get into their rooms.

If you’re not worried about robot nightmares, they’re now accepting reservations. A night’s stay costs just 9,000 yen ($80), which is cheap for Japan.

It appears that Henn-na won’t be the first hotel staffed by robots—the Pengheng Space Capsules Hotel in Shenzhen, China also features almost completely robot workers, although it is definitely lower-budget. (“Disappointing. The promised robots didn’t function—why else would you stay there?” wrote one Booking.com reviewer.)

Casey Tolan is a National News Reporter for Fusion based in New York City.

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