This Week in Travel: The robot revolution stumbles

#1 Robots won’t be replacing us just yet

Dinosaur Concierge - Henn na Hotel
Photo by Henn na Hotel

Where: Henn-na Hotel in Tokyo

What:  The Henn na hotel, which is best known for being the world’s first hotel predominately run by robots (including those of the dinosaur variety) has laid off half of its droid workforce.

The decision appears to have been made due to malfunctioning robots and a to-slow-to-be-helpful concierge. One guest even complained about being woken up in the middle of the night as his in-room assistance bot mistook his snores for requests.

Reception, concierge, and bellhop duties at the hotel will now be performed by humans.

Humans: 1, Robots: 32

Read also: Watch: Japan’s Robot Hotel Is Unlike Any Hotel You’ve Ever Stayed At

#2 Speaking of robots – they may soon be valeting cars

Robot Parking

Photo by Stanley Robotics

Where: London’s Gatwick Airport

What: Sick of our species’ collective inability to park in-between the lines, Gatwick airport will be testing an autonomous robot to park for us. The robot, which slips a large ‘bed’ underneath our automobiles, transports them to appropriate parking spots, parks them properly and saves heaps of space.

The experiment will take place for three months in one of Gatwick’s long-term parking lots, cutting 170 of its 2,350 self-parking spots to create 270 spots for the robot valet.  If the trial goes well, it is expected that the airport will expand the project turning 6,000 self-parking spots into 8,500 robot-parking spots.

Humans: 1, Robots: 33 (for now)

#3 You can stay at this Swedish hotel for free, but there’s a catch

Hotel Bellora
Photo by Hotel Bellora

Where: Hotel Bellora in Gothenburg, Sweden

What: Need a digital detox and Scandi holiday rolled into one? Hotel Bellora is offering up one of its suites to visitors for free – that is if you can go your entire stay without checking your phone, computer or any other digital device.

The room, dubbed the Checkout Suite, is fitted with a smart lamp that can calculate the amount of time spent in front of a screen. As guest spends time attached to their screens the lamp gradually changes from white to red. If you can go your entire stay without checking your tech, then the room is free. For every minute spent online, however, the price of the suite increases 20 Swedish kronor, or about US$2.20.

Could you do it? You can register your interest on their website.

Read also: Digital Detox: Why You Need One, Beyond Just Proper Sleep

#4 Free noodles for commuters

Tokyo is giving away noodlesPhoto by Masaaki Komori on Unsplash

Where: The Tozai Line that runs east to west through Tokyo.

What:  In preparation for the 2020 Olympic Games and the expected influx of 20 million tourists, Tokyo is looking to solve the issue of its already massively overcrowded metro system. The solution Tokyo has come up with to get commuters to use the metro outside peak hours is to bribe them with free noodles.

For the next two weeks, Tokyo will be running a pilot program featuring free noodles for those travelling on the Tozai metro line outside peak hours. If 2,000 passengers sign up for the program, each of them will receive free tempura. If 2,500 commuters get on board, they’ll receive soba noodles. If 3,000 people start avoiding rush hour, they’ll receive a combo package of tempura and soba noodles.


#5 Cathay Pacific gives us a reason to live in their HK lounges

Cathay Pacific's The Sanctuary
Photo by Cathay Pacific

Where: The Pier Business Class Lounge in Hong Kong International Airport

What: Cathay Pacific is really trying to earn our love.  The airline has recently paired up with the Pure Group – known to Hong Kong expats for its yoga and fitness studios – to create ‘The Sanctuary’.

Utilising 65-square-metres of space within The Pier Business Lounge in HKIA, The Sanctuary is divided into two parts – The Body Sanctuary, where travellers can take yoga lessons, and The Mind Sanctuary, which offers guided meditations.

We can feel that sense of calm washing over us now. Om.

Read also: These are the world’s best airlines this year

Elisabeth Forsman

Our predictably unpredictable adventure nomad, Elisabeth is the yogi who wants it fast, the ultra-runner who prefers taking a hike, and the swimmer with a fear of lap pools. A consummate lover of all things outdoors, she’s on a perpetual quest to get those around her outside and moving.

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