Japan is famous for its love of technology and nothing shows that enduring fascination quite like a hotel staffed by robots. Henn na Hotels are a chain of state-of-the-art robot hotels around Japan where guests are assisted throughout their stay by anthropomorphic robots. Best of all, these hotels are designed to be budget-friendly, so that anyone can add a stay in a Henn na Hotel to their Japan trip. Whether you’re a tech-head or just looking for a novel experience that you can only find in Japan, here’s what to expect from a Henn na Hotel.
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History of Henn na Hotels
As unlikely as the concept of robot hotels is, the story behind the Henn na Hotels is even stranger. The original Henn Na Hotel opened its doors in 2015 and is credited as the first hotel run by robots.
It was constructed at the Huis Ten Bosch amusement park in Nagasaki Prefecture, a theme park designed to look like a traditional Dutch village. Huis Ten Bosch seems like a strange choice for such a cutting edge experiment, but given that Henn na Hotel translates into English as “Strange Hotel”, perhaps it’s oddly fitting. This is a hotel chain where your greeter might be a velociraptor after all!
The premise of the Henn-na Hotels is that animatronic robots and AI handle many of the activities and jobs involved in running the hotel rather than humans. By using this technology, the hotel hopes to increase its efficiency, cut costs and become more environmentally sustainable.
Since the first Henn na Hotel opened at Huis Ten Bosch, more hotels have opened up in cities across Japan. Nowadays, you can find 15 Henna na hotels across Japan, with ones in cities like Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto.
What It’s Like Staying at a Henn na Hotel
Staying at a Henn na Hotel is truly an experience like no other, so it helps to know a little about what to expect before you go. However, if you’ve stayed at a hotel in Japan or elsewhere that offers automated check-in, you’ll have a vague idea of how things work.
From the moment you check in to the moment you leave, robots and technology will help you with all sorts of different parts of your stay. Upon arrival, realistic-looking multilingual robots will help you check-in. If you need to store luggage, a robotic arm will help you store your luggage.
Another robot will show you to your room, the door of which unlocks using facial recognition rather than a key or key card. That said, you can request a key card if that will make you more comfortable.
Your room even has its own personal robot, who can help you control the lights and check the weather. There are some regular aspects of the hotel though, like alarm clocks and Wi-Fi.
Unlike traditional hotels, Henn na Hotels do not have restaurants or room service. However, the Henn na Hotel Ten Bosch has opened its own Henn-na Café, where robots make patrons their drinks.
Information for Staying at a Henn-na Hotel
- Should something go wrong during your stay, there is an option at the check-in counter to speak with a human staff member 24/7.
- Hotel systems support four languages: Japanese, English, Chinese, and Korean.
- Bookings for rooms at Henn na Hotels can be made online in English at the official website or other regular booking websites.
- You can reach the Henna na Hotel Huis Ten Bosch using your JR Pass by taking the train from Hakata Station in Fukuoka. Getting to the hotels in cities like Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto is also easy enough by public transport.
- Guests at the Henna na Hotel Huis Ten Bosch do not require a ticket for the amusement park to stay at the hotel as it is located just outside the park. However, they will still need a ticket if they wish to enter Huis Ten Bosch.