Skip to main content

The Henn-Na (Weird) Hotel is run by robots, and you can now book a night for around $100

japan henn na hotel first robot screen shot 2015 07 19 at 2 01 44 pm
Henn-Na Hotel
For those of you whose ideal vacation involves as little human contact as possible, there is a new hotel that may be absolutely perfect. On Friday, the first ever robot hotel opened its doors in Japan, and for a very reasonable $60 to $153 a night, you can live in a temporary home that is staffed completely by humanoids. The five-star Henn-na Hotel, which translates perfectly as the Weird Hotel, opened its doors to eager guests over the weekend, who were greeted by a dinosaur at the front desk (if you speak English, that is), or a femme-passing robot for Japanese visitors. Hideo Sawada, the human at the helm of the enterprise, told the Associated Press that his motivation behind the project, which is part of an amusement park in Nagasaki Prefecture, was “highlight innovation.” And it seems pretty safe to say that he has achieved that goal in a very innovative way indeed.

The hotel, which is in many ways the pinnacle of technological innovation and creativity, boasts a wide range of features that place it head and shoulders above the more traditional hotel rooms currently available to weary travelers. In addition to the dinosaur/female robot receptionist, the hotel also employs a robotic porter, which guests program with their room number in order to have their bags delivered (no tips needed, please). Then there’s also the tulip-shaped concierge robot, Tuly, found in every room, which replaces antiquated devices like light switches or clocks. Instead, to adjust the brightness of your room or to tell time or the weather outside, guests simply ask Tuly, who is more than happy to be of assistance. And as for thermostats, you won’t find any of those in Henn-na Hotel. Rather, sensor panels detect your body heat, and adjust the temperature accordingly.

But that’s not all, of course. Instead of keys, rooms are opened by way of facial recognition, the same technology that is used upon arrival and check-in. And as for storing large pieces of luggage and other valuables that you don’t want lying around your stateroom, there’s a robot cloak room, fully staffed by a giant robotic arm that receives guests’ belongings and stores them in individual lockers.

If the enterprise proves successful, Sawada wants robot hotels to become a fixture in the hospitality industry. As he told Japan’s Nikkei News, “In the future, we’re hoping to build 1,000 similar hotels around the world.” While much of the world outside of Japan seems fascinated by the concept, locals have given the high-tech hotel a slightly chillier reception — the nation, known for its creative prowess, is no stranger to these sorts of projects. At least, when the hotel opened on Friday, there weren’t exactly lines out the door of people just itching to land a stay.

But who knows — maybe in a few years, the Henn-na Hotel will be the norm, and nothing about it will seem weird at all.

Editors' Recommendations

Lulu Chang
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Fascinated by the effects of technology on human interaction, Lulu believes that if her parents can use your new app…
Digital Trends’ Tech For Change CES 2023 Awards
Digital Trends CES 2023 Tech For Change Award Winners Feature

CES is more than just a neon-drenched show-and-tell session for the world’s biggest tech manufacturers. More and more, it’s also a place where companies showcase innovations that could truly make the world a better place — and at CES 2023, this type of tech was on full display. We saw everything from accessibility-minded PS5 controllers to pedal-powered smart desks. But of all the amazing innovations on display this year, these three impressed us the most:

Samsung's Relumino Mode
Across the globe, roughly 300 million people suffer from moderate to severe vision loss, and generally speaking, most TVs don’t take that into account. So in an effort to make television more accessible and enjoyable for those millions of people suffering from impaired vision, Samsung is adding a new picture mode to many of its new TVs.
[CES 2023] Relumino Mode: Innovation for every need | Samsung
Relumino Mode, as it’s called, works by adding a bunch of different visual filters to the picture simultaneously. Outlines of people and objects on screen are highlighted, the contrast and brightness of the overall picture are cranked up, and extra sharpness is applied to everything. The resulting video would likely look strange to people with normal vision, but for folks with low vision, it should look clearer and closer to "normal" than it otherwise would.
Excitingly, since Relumino Mode is ultimately just a clever software trick, this technology could theoretically be pushed out via a software update and installed on millions of existing Samsung TVs -- not just new and recently purchased ones.

Read more
AI turned Breaking Bad into an anime — and it’s terrifying
Split image of Breaking Bad anime characters.

These days, it seems like there's nothing AI programs can't do. Thanks to advancements in artificial intelligence, deepfakes have done digital "face-offs" with Hollywood celebrities in films and TV shows, VFX artists can de-age actors almost instantly, and ChatGPT has learned how to write big-budget screenplays in the blink of an eye. Pretty soon, AI will probably decide who wins at the Oscars.

Within the past year, AI has also been used to generate beautiful works of art in seconds, creating a viral new trend and causing a boon for fan artists everywhere. TikTok user @cyborgism recently broke the internet by posting a clip featuring many AI-generated pictures of Breaking Bad. The theme here is that the characters are depicted as anime characters straight out of the 1980s, and the result is concerning to say the least. Depending on your viewpoint, Breaking Bad AI (my unofficial name for it) shows how technology can either threaten the integrity of original works of art or nurture artistic expression.
What if AI created Breaking Bad as a 1980s anime?
Playing over Metro Boomin's rap remix of the famous "I am the one who knocks" monologue, the video features images of the cast that range from shockingly realistic to full-on exaggerated. The clip currently has over 65,000 likes on TikTok alone, and many other users have shared their thoughts on the art. One user wrote, "Regardless of the repercussions on the entertainment industry, I can't wait for AI to be advanced enough to animate the whole show like this."

Read more
4 simple pieces of tech that helped me run my first marathon
Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar displaying pace information.

The fitness world is littered with opportunities to buy tech aimed at enhancing your physical performance. No matter your sport of choice or personal goals, there's a deep rabbit hole you can go down. It'll cost plenty of money, but the gains can be marginal -- and can honestly just be a distraction from what you should actually be focused on. Running is certainly susceptible to this.

A few months ago, I ran my first-ever marathon. It was an incredible accomplishment I had no idea I'd ever be able to reach, and it's now going to be the first of many I run in my lifetime. And despite my deep-rooted history in tech, and the endless opportunities for being baited into gearing myself up with every last product to help me get through the marathon, I went with a rather simple approach.

Read more