10 Hotels That Have Robot Employees
Hotel robots — from check-in to bartenders — are becoming increasingly popular around the world.
Photo By: Henn-Na Hotel
Photo By: YOTELPAD Miami
Photo By: The Tipsy Robot
Photo By: Pechanga Resort Casino
Photo By: Motel One
Photo By: Hotel EMC2
Photo By: MGM Resorts International
Photo By: M Social Singapore
Photo By: Sheraton Los Angeles San Gabriel
Photo By: The Cosmopolitan
Henn-na Hotel, Japan
Japan has been at the forefront of the hotel robot trend with the Henn-na Hotel chain taking the lead. Henn-na Hotels’ nondescript exteriors belie the fantastical elements within. At the world’s first all-robot (well, mostly robot) hotel chain, dinosaur robots check you in, a robot porter delivers your bags to your room and an in-room tabletop robot functions like an Amazon Alexa device. Forgot your room key? Facial recognition technology renders it obsolete. Depending on the hotel, there are also fish robots in a bowl, a robot recycling bin, robot vacuums (all Tokyo locations) and even an entire robotic orchestra in the lobby of the Nagasaki locale. Meanwhile, expect a Henn-na Hotel boomlet in the near future, starting with two new additions in Osaka, plus Kyoto’s first, all by early 2019.
The trendy Yotel brand is an affordable chain geared toward tech-savvy travelers, so it makes sense it would be among the vanguard of robot-friendly hotels. As such, Yotel is slowly introducing a small number of robot butlers who can handle deliveries weighing up to 77 pounds. These robots can independently ride elevators and navigate hallways to bring you snacks and coffee, and there’s even an app to track their whereabouts. Language shouldn’t get lost in translation either since the robots are programmed to speak numerous tongues. In between deliveries, you’ll find one of these robots hanging out in the lobby where you can ask it questions. They can also play music and dance, or rather, move, with you. The Boston location already has one, Singapore has two, while a new Miami location, YotelPad (pictured), a mixed-used condo/hotel property, will offer one in the hotel when it opens in 2020. Meanwhile, the NYC location even boasts a Yobot — a robotic device that temporarily stores your luggage.
Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas
It appears that robots are taking over the Las Vegas scene, starting with a recent robot bartender addition over in the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood. The concept first launched on cruise ships in 2014 and is now slowly entering the hotel space. The Tipsy Robot claims to be the first robot bar on terra firma, although a robotic bartender debuted at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Biloxi, MS soon after. So, how does it work? Order your drink from one of the tablets, then watch as two robotic arms pour, mix, shake or stir your libation. The contraption can churn out 120 drinks an hour, and stat screens show the wait time for your drink and where it stands in the queue. The monitor even displays up-to-the-minute information for each step in the drink-making process. Once ready, robot bartender places the drink on a conveyor belt for easy pick-up. And while these bartenders can’t lend a sympathetic ear, they can dance.
Pechanga Resort Casino, California
Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula features California’s largest casino (complete with 154 game tables, more than 4,000 slot machines, bingo seating for 700 and a poker room). To help protect it, the hotel added two security robots in June 2018 to assist with surveillance. You’ll find one circulating through the hotel lobbies, while the other is parked at the casino’s entrance. The smaller one in the lobby resembles R2-D2, minus the Star Wars’ abilities. While it may not seem like they’re doing much, the robots are actually taking non-stop photos and videos and have the ability to recognize faces, objects and license plates.
Motel One, Germany
Munich’s new Motel One Munich-Parkstadt Schwabing took advantage of its proximity to major IT firm IBM by partnering with them to introduce Sepp, the concierge robot. Dressed in lederhosen and perched on the front desk, Sepp can converse in English and German about hotel basics, like what time the rooftop bar opens or directions to said bar. Sepp can also tell you all about his spiffy Bavarian outfit.
Hotel EMC2, Chicago
Hotel EMC2 just opened in 2017 and is Chicago’s first hotel to introduce robots. Leo and Cleo are Relay robots, a type of delivery robot already used by Aloft, Sheraton, Westin and about a dozen other brands. At Hotel EMC2 — part of the Marriott Autograph Collection — Leo and Cleo greet guests in the lobby and can ferry amenities (water, towels, toothbrushes) to rooms. Summoning them is a cinch, thanks to an Amazon Alexa in each room. No tip is required, but expect a little happy dance in exchange for a five-star rating.
Vdara Hotel & Spa, Las Vegas
Vdara Hotel & Spa in Las Vegas is also among the first hotels to incorporate Relay robots into rotation. They currently have two, named Fetch and Jett, who can deliver toiletries, spa products and snacks and coffee from the hotel’s Market Café. It’s a fast, seamless process that involves an employee loading the robot, entering the room number and sending it on its way. Upon arrival, Fetch or Jett will then call the room, open the lid and request feedback. Though they’re not dog-shaped, Fetch and Jett are covered in replica dog fur reminiscent of a golden retriever and Dalmatian, complete with collars and a V-shaped tag. When’s the last time your dog brought you coffee?
M Social Singapore
The M Social Singapore is an impressive hotel with Philippe Starck-designed interiors and an outdoor infinity pool. Since M Social is geared toward millennial travelers, there are also two robots on hand: AURA, a delivery robot, and the newer AUSCA, an egg-maker extraordinaire (pictured) at the hotel’s Beast and Butterflies restaurant. That’s right, AUSCA can make egg dishes on demand, although its specialties are currently limited to omelets and sunny-side-up eggs. However, there’s hope for more options in the future.
Sheraton Los Angeles San Gabriel, Los Angeles
The Sheraton Los Angeles San Gabriel is another new hotel that has joined the robot trend. It counts eight delivery robots among its staff, called Tugs. Similar to the Relay robots at other hotels, the Tugs can make room deliveries, but they can also deliver room service and luggage. Plus, they’re programmed to remove trash and dirty linens from cleaning carts, making everyone’s life easier. There’s even one Tug that’s dedicated to guiding guests from the lobby. While none of them can converse per se, their screens are programmed in English and Mandarin.
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
Compared to delivery robots, Rose is one of the less conventional forms of AI, now available at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. That’s because Rose is a chatbot, whom you can text 24/7 for a range of needs (If you need water, towels, or want to book a spa, etc.) instead of pestering the front desk. But she’s no mere chatbot: Think of her as a more fun version of Alexa or Siri. Your first introduction to Rose is a card that reads, "Know my secrets. Text me." If you text, "What should I have to drink?" she’ll respond with, "This one’s only for the daring, so don’t look for it on the menu. Ask for the Verbena like you’ve been here before and tell them Rose sent you." Rose can also play games (Would You Rather, Two Truths and a Lie, etc.) and score restaurant and cabana reservations, but you’ll have to contact the concierge if you want tickets to a sold-out show.