A Japanese hotel run almost entirely by robots is expanding to 100 locations — here’s what it’s like to stay there

There are more robots than staff at Japan’s chain of Weird Hotels.
Issei Kato/Reuters

In the southwestern city of Sasebo, Japan, a hotel run almost entirely by robots has been so successful in its two-year run that owners are now inspired to open 100 more locations around Japan.

Hideo Sawada has run the aptly named Weird Hotel as part of an amusement park since July 2015, but business has been so good that Sawada’s travel agency H.I.S. Co. plans to expand to several more cities in the coming years and overseas within the next five.

“Having robots in charge of the reception and placing robots everywhere, we aim to make it the most efficient hotel in the world,” Sawada told reporters in March, upon the opening of his second hotel, near Tokyo Disney Resort in Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture.

Here’s what it’s like to stay there.

The original robot hotel sits in Sasebo, Japan, as part of the Huis Ten Bosch amusement park.

To check in, arriving guests can either talk with a humanoid robot who speaks Japanese or a dinosaur who speaks English.

While dashing, dinosaurs in bow ties can’t make beds. Housekeeping staff at the Weird Hotel are still very much human.

To make sure no one steals the prehistoric receptionist — or any other robot — humans are also on staff as security, monitoring the hotel at all times.

The hotel staff waits patiently for guests to complete the check-in process. (They have to. They are robots.)

Floor robots, also emerging in Japanese airports to assist weaker travelers, help carry guests’ luggage to their rooms.

Guests can leave their luggage in a cloak room, manned by a robot that probably wishes it was programmed for a more exciting job.

The cloak room robot can store unused luggage until checkout — or for eternity, if it so chooses.

Hideo Sawada says the saved labor cost can keep the Weird Hotel affordable. He hopes to add 1,000 more similar hotels in the future with robots making up 90% of the total staff.


Each room in Sasebo comes stocked with Tuly, a hotel concierge doll that can help guests find nearby restaurants, recommend events, and acclimate them to sleeping with one eye open.

In the second location, rooms are manned by Tapia, a colorful cross-eyed egg that can control room temperature and change channels on the TV.

Issei Kato/Reuters

True to form, the second location also includes a life-sized dinosaur in the lobby and a roving recycling bin for guests to keep the hotel tidy.

Issei Kato/Reuters

For just $80, the general public can spend a night among the machines.

Issei Kato/Reuters