The future of hospitality? Hotels and restaurants around the world where you’re served by ROBOTS, from New York to Dublin via Blackpool
- These businesses are staffed by robot waiters, robot concierges and more
- A robot orchestra plays music in Japan’s futuristic Henn na Hotel chain
- MORE: Inside the three-star restaurant where one dish takes a YEAR to make
Robotic service isn’t usually a good thing, but it gives these businesses an extra edge.
Here we present innovative international hotels and restaurants where you can be served by a robot, from New York to Dublin.
Ranging from robot waiters to robot check-in staff, these hard-working droids are quirky novelties, but can also make the running of businesses more efficient.
To discover how to lend your next day out or weekend away a sci-fi twist, scroll down…
YOTEL NEW YORK TIMES SQUARE – MANHATTAN, NEW YORK
Check into the Yotel New York Times Square and the hotel’s robotic luggage concierge (above) will look after your bag for you
Enter the lobby of this Midtown Manhattan hotel and you’ll meet a robotic luggage concierge named the ‘Yobot’.
Designed to store luggage for holidaymakers who have spare time before and after checkout, the robot takes guests’ bags and slots them into storage bins.
To use the Yobot, guests key in their last name and a pin number of their choice into a keypad, prompting the Yobot to ‘spring into action’. Guests get a receipt with a barcode that they scan when they’re ready to pick up their bags.
As a bonus for social-media lovers, Yotel says that the robot offers ‘the perfect backdrop for a futuristic selfie’.
Rooms at YOTEL New York Times Square are priced from £136.
FLYZOO HOTEL – HANGZHOU, CHINA
Robots drop-off food to guests’ tables at the FlyZoo Hotel in China
The FlyZoo Hotel uses facial recognition technology to allow guests to activate elevators
Described as a ‘future hotel’, this 290-room bolthole in Hangzhou, China, is home to a series of room-service robots that deliver food or other goodies straight to guests’ doors.
More robots are in place in the hotel’s restaurants, whizzing over to guests’ tables to drop-off food.
The bots aren’t the only hi-tech touches dotted throughout the hotel. Guests can check in for their stay entirely through the hotel’s app, and the property uses facial recognition technology to allow guests to activate elevators and access the gym and restaurants.
Alibaba Group, the company behind the property, says: ‘FlyZoo’s technology serves to make a hotel’s services convenient and easy to use. And with hotel staff freed up from the more routine tasks, they can focus on delivering a better experience for guests.’
Rooms at the FlyZoo Hotel, Wenyixi Road/Jucheng Road, Yuhang District, Hangzhou, are priced from £73 per night.
HEMA ‘ROBOT.HE’ RESTAURANT, SHANGHAI, CHINA
A series of cute pod-shaped robots deliver food at the Hema Restaurant in Shanghai
The robot waiters roll over to the diner on a raised platform that runs throughout the Hema Restaurant
A second robot has been introduced to the Hema restaurant to help clear away the dishes
At this Shanghai restaurant, known for serving fresh fish, diners order their meals by scanning the QR code on the table. The kitchen receives the order, and when the dish is ready, it’s popped inside one of a series of cute pod-shaped robots.
These mechanised creatures roll over to the diner on a raised platform that runs throughout the restaurant, and diners simply reach inside the robot to remove their meal. When they’re low on power, the bots return to their charging station to re-energize before getting back to work.
A second robot, featuring an in-built shelf system, has been introduced to help clear away the dishes. Diners stack their empty plates inside the robot and it ferries the dirty dishes back to the kitchen for cleaning.
TCB DINING – VARIOUS LOCATIONS IN ENGLAND
All five TCB Dining restaurants in England are partially staffed by robots
The ‘Bella Bots’ were introduced to support staff at TCB Dining during the Covid pandemic. They were manufactured by the Chinese firm PuDu
The Bella Bots cost just £1 an hour to run
‘The staff sent one of the robots to sing happy birthday as our desserts arrived,’ reads Tripadvisor user Sam H’s review of the Bury branch of this restaurant chain.
Serving unlimited portions of Chinese food, all five TCB Dining restaurants – located in Bolton, Blackpool, Wigan and St Helens, as well as Bury – are partially staffed by robots.
The ‘Bella Bots’, manufactured by the Chinese firm PuDu, were introduced to support staff during the Covid pandemic, as the eateries moved from buffet-style to table service.
A statement from the chain says that since the robots were introduced, staff ‘now have more time to engage the customers in a more friendly and helpful way’.
It adds that the presence of the robots also takes the pressure off staff having to travel back and forth to the kitchen during serving hours. When the robot – which costs just £1 an hour to run – was first trialled, it clocked up over 67 miles (107km) of travel.
An unlimited lunch serving at TCB Dining is priced at £13.80.
M SOCIAL SINGAPORE – SINGAPORE
The ‘Aura’ front-of-house robot delivers goods to guests’ rooms at the M Social Singapore
M Social Singapore says: ‘If you put an item into Aura and tell her where to go, she will deliver it and then return to the docking station by herself’
Need a fresh towel, a bottle of water or an afternoon snack? The service delivery robot at this Singapore hotel will bring it straight to your bedroom.
Named ‘Aura’, the front-of-house robot is one of the hotel’s ‘friendly autonomous staff members’.
The hotel says: ‘Not only does Aura engage guests with her “personality”, she also frees up the hotel team’s time so that they can focus on providing the personal, human touches that go a long way to creating a positive hotel experience.’
It adds: ‘If you put an item into Aura and tell her where to go, she will deliver it and then return to the docking station by herself. Aura can operate and ride in elevators, navigate her way to a guest’s door, let them know that a delivery has arrived (guest phone rings), and then open its lid for guests when they answer the door.’
The other robot on the team is ‘Ausca’, a robot that prepares your eggs at breakfast. Press a few buttons and its mechanised arm will whip up an omelette or sunny-side-up eggs to your exact specification.
Rooms at M Social Singapore, 90 Robertson Quay, are priced from £122.
HENN NA HOTEL – VARIOUS LOCATIONS IN JAPAN
Guests at Japan’s Henn na Hotel are greeted by multilingual robots at check-in
Some robots at the Henn na Hotel Kyoto branch look like dinosaurs
Japan’s one-of-a-kind Henn na Hotel chain is paving the way in robot hospitality. Guests are greeted by multilingual robots at check-in – they speak Japanese, English, Mandarin Chinese and Korea.
Some robots look like dinosaurs, while others are spookily human-like in appearance.
A ‘robot orchestra’ plays music for guests and baggage is placed in temporary storage by a giant robotic arm.
A facial recognition system gives holidaymakers access to their rooms. If guests are peckish during their stay, they can shop for snacks at the hotel’s unmanned ‘smart’ convenience store.
Evenings are spent at the Henna Bar, where robots serve beers and cocktails. Other hi-tech entertainment options include virtual reality games and a karaoke station called ‘The Zone’.
Rooms at the Henn na Hotel chain are priced from £48.
ALOFT DUBLIN CITY – DUBLIN, IRELAND
Lofty the robot delivers room service at the Aloft Dublin City hotel
Complete with a dinky painted-on tie, a robot known as ‘Lofty’ will personally deliver food to your room at this central Dublin hotel.
Lofty can travel in the lift by itself, and guests are alerted once it’s outside their room.
To summon Lofty, guests simply send a Whatsapp message to the front desk, communicating what they need via emojis. A pizza emoji, for instance, will see a pizza arrive at your door.
‘The kids loved getting room service delivered by a robot,’ wrote Tripadvisor reviewer ‘Jing’ after their stay.
Families can also get a teepee tent and kids’ games set up in the room when they sign up for the hotel’s ‘Camp Aloft’ experience, during which Lofty drops by with goodie bags for each child that contain colouring pencils, paper and snacks.
Rooms at Aloft Dublin City, 1 Mill Street, are priced from £142 (159 euros).
ROBOTAZIA – MILTON KEYNES, ENGLAND
The Robotazia restaurant in Milton Keynes is described as a ‘mini robot museum’
Robotazia promises a ‘sci-fi themed robot restaurant dining experience’
Above is Robotazia’s ‘Sector 6 VIP table’, a green-hued space that takes inspiration from Dr Who and Robocop
Dine out at this Milton Keynes restaurant and you’ll meet a ‘unique’ collection of robots, many of which have been built from discarded materials.
‘We are in effect a mini robot museum,’ the website reads.
The eatery promises a ‘sci-fi themed robot restaurant dining experience’, with some robots delivering food to your table and others offering entertainment.
Those with a special occasion in mind ought to book the giant ‘Sector 6 VIP table’, a green-hued space that takes inspiration from Dr Who and Robocop.
Tickets to enter Robotazia, Lower 12th Street, Milton Keynes, cost £5.50, not including the price of food and drink.
Prices are correct at the time of writing.
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