Robot run hotels: fad or the future?

By , October 11, 2016

Back in 2012 when the Oculus Rift was first announced, people were raising their eyebrows for the amount of hype it generated. Fast forward four years and everybody is talking about how virtual reality can revolutionize the hospitality industry. Like it or not, technology is forever transforming the way we lead our lives, how we interact with each other and how we do business in the world. As such we wanted to provide you with a list of robot run hotels in Asia that provide cutting edge technology to guests. The interesting thing about these hotels is that most of them have undergone extensive renovation in the recent past to embrace technology, improving on their already impressive infrastructure. Does this signal a paradigm shift towards technology driven consumerism? Maybe.

The following six hotels have some of the finest technology-based amenities in the world, some of which you’ve only seen in movies. So, let’s check them out!

1. Henn-na Hotel, Japan

Henn na

From the moment you step in you realize that Henn-na is not the typical hotel you’ve become accustomed to over the years. Instead of warm human faces you are greeted by robots from behind the reception desk. With robots acting as hotel staff and facial recognition software replacing the age old key-lock system you might need some time adjusting. That’s not to say it isn’t good, it’s just that it is different, in a geeky way. The owner of the hotel decided to use robots instead of human beings in order to improve efficiency. Nevertheless, these robots are controlled by humans and every time the robots are incapable of performing a task a person appears and takes care of it for you.

Henn na 1

Other noteworthy features at the hotel are the radiant panel air conditioning system which dynamically adjusts to your body temperature. You will also find that a robotic arm checks in your luggage while a robotic porter delivers it to your room. It might be a little overwhelming to know that the only other person you see are fellow guests. Instead of longing for the human touch, treat it instead as a precursor to what the future holds. Gone are the days of hotels trying to make you feel at home, it’s all about providing experiences now!

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2. Big Hotel Singapore

Big Singapore

Imagine yourself not having to get out of bed to put a Do Not Disturb sign on the door. That’s always the one major peeve you have, even at a luxurious five star. Big hotel Singapore makes your wish come true using smart technology! Every hotel service and facility is integrated on a Nexus 7 tablet found in your room. You can use the tablet to control everything in the room, from the curtains to the DND sign on the door. You can even order room service from the tablet. How great is that?


At Big, all the rooms are fitted with universal sockets – another peeve to leave at home. It’s like the hotel was designed to justify this contextual definition of technology: “something which makes life easy”. Another interesting aspect about the hotel is that it categorises prospective clients into four types and offers personalised services to meet their specific needs. The categories are businessman, hipster, explorer and lover. Need to know anything more? Then take your pick!

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3. Hotel Icon Hong Kong

green wall

Hotel Icon was built by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Owned by the university, the hotel acts as the research ground for hospitality and tourism students from the university. Of special mention at the hotel are three prototype rooms which are used to test out new innovations on customers. One of the rooms houses an interactive Cybertecture mirror which relays news, weather and other information. This device literally feels like its from the Minority Report.

Every room comes with a complementary smartphone, providing free international and national calls and unlimited data. The hotel has three restaurants, each themed differently from the others. Despite all the crazy technology offered, the hotel is conscious of the environment. This is evident from the big green wall inside the hotel and from their use of electric cars and shuttles to ferry guests to and from the airport.

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4. Upper House, Hong Kong


This hotel is for the Apple fans out there. Upper House is as much known for its spacious rooms as it is for its iPods and iPads that are available in every nook of the hotel. It has successfully managed to go paper-free, courtesy of its Apple products. Everything from check-in to check-out is carried out on the iPod. Hell even room service can be ordered on the iPod. The entire menu is navigable on the devices and while your meal is being prepared munch on an assortment of sweets, chocolates and cookies provided in in-room maxibars.

Their reputation for spaciousness can be substantiated by huge bathrooms which come with big LCD TVs. Basically, you can binge watch your favorite shows on Netflix, all while laying in the tub. Don’t forget to bring the blinds down though as the windows can be looked through from both directions, especially at night. You wouldn’t want to be a show to the rest of the city, would you? It does help that the blinds can be controlled via remote though. In addition, the hotel only employs hybrid models of Lexus and BMW to drive you around Hong Kong as part of their environmental initiative.

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6. Sofitel SO Bangkok

Sofitel SO Bangkok is a very innovative interpretation of the five elements of nature namely water, earth, wood, metal and fire by Thailand’s leading designers’. With this information alone you might think the hotel is a fall-back to old times. In fact it’s exactly the opposite. Except for the architectural design, everything else at the hotel is super contemporary, making a point that nature and technology can coexist peacefully.

All 238 rooms have flat-screen TVs and Mac Minis. Your stay at the hotel comes with an entertainment suite ready to augment your experience with just the push of a button. For business customers who need to get work done, there’s the special solution center. This room comes equipped with a scanner, printer, two iMacs and zipping fast internet. At short notice, it can also serve as a meeting room.

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7. W Singapore Sentosa Cove

pool with electronica beats

Sticking to the trend of Apple hotels, we close our list with the W Singapore Sentosa Cove. The hotel is an honest endeavor from the designers and owners to recreate their surrounding landscape, albeit in a different way. Natural waterfalls are replaced by an LED screen waterfall while light sticks protruding from the floor mimic the grass blades of the lush green landscape. Cherry on top is the mood lighting found all around the hotel to keep you in cheerful spirits at all times.

DJ booth

Another prominent feature is the pool which is fitted with electronica beats underwater. We’re pretty sure you won’t be able to stop yourself from grooving once the music starts. For our readers with deep pockets, you have to try the Extreme Wow suite which comes with its own DJ booth. As a complement, a very good selection of vinyl copies are provided to help you hone your disco jockeying skills.

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