Ever wanted to stay in a hotel run by robots? Here is your chance at the Henn na Hotel. With a robot receptionist, where you can check in 4 languages, this is a futurist's dream.
In reality you can find other hotels where you can minimise interactions with another human. Japan is also known for its many love hotels, where the receptionist operates behind a screen, or you select your room in a vending machine.
It is somewhat ironic that in a time of increasing social isolation, there is even less opportunity to interact with another human. Comically, joking with your fellow travellers of the technology fails is a great way to bond with strangers, for these these failures are like a universal language. Thankfully these machinery breakdowns are trivial in nature, and there are always back up humans to help.
What stood out at this hotel, was the focus on health and wellbeing. You can choose a floor that is decked out with Phiten accessories, meant to give you better circulation and sleep. According to its makers, Phiten features micro sized titanium spheres, as well as carbonized titanium designed to stabilize the flow of electric current and increase your body's energy level, as used by a number of athletes. In addition, there is an AI Roboclinic, which provides customized preventative medical treatment, including internal medicine, and dermatology. At a time when travel is often associated with insomnia and jet lag, this could be a god send. JapanTravel first covered wellbeing hotels as early as 2012 with sleeping innovations at nearby Shiodome, and so it is good to see this continue here.
The other technology that this hotel features is a clothes deodoriser. You simply hang your clothes in a special wardrobe, and after turning it on, it will give a light steam clean, without having to put in a laundry machine. Perfect if you are recovering from a long night in some smoking den, or hole in the wall izakayas filled with barbeque smoke. Not that I am suggesting that robot hotels were purposed built to drive you to places where you are more likely to find company.
Speaking of dining there are a number of intimate eateries just a block away, in the narrow yet safe alleyways. From French to Australian, there are bistros and beach inspired cafes like La Boheme and the Byron Bay Coffee Company, that are perfect for a social or business meeting. If you are likely to wander and get lost, pick up a handiphone from the room that you can use outside, preloaded with local tourism information. For breakfast, the café downstairs serves simple meals, which is homely with touches of American décor.
While there are bar fridges and kettles in the rooms, I have found the smaller rooms a bit tight, even compared with Toyoko Inn. If I could stay again, I would prefer the larger rooms with a view of Tokyo Tower, resplendent in red at night. On the other hand, the nearby Seaside Top Observatory gives you even higher views, a secret spot that is overlooked by tourists and locals alike.