Push the staff's right buttons

The dinosaur robot at the check-in counter of Henn-na (or weird in Japanese) Hotel in Sasebo, Nagasaki may look like it belongs in Jurassic Park, but don't be alarmed if it greets you in English.

"If you want to check in, push 'one'," the dinosaur says.

All guests have to do is punch a button on the desk and type in the required information on a touchscreen panel .

In this hotel in south-west Japan, almost every member of the staff is a robot. Should guests need a Japanese-speaking robot, a female humanoid will assist them.

It opened last Friday and is part of a theme park run by Huis Ten Bosch company. Room rates start at 9,000 yen (S$100).

The company's president, Mr Hideo Sawada, came up with the idea of using robots to cut manpower costs.

Guests can check in by registering the digital image of their faces, thanks to facial-recognition technology, instead of using electronic keys. The concierge, a robot, can provide breakfast and event information, but it cannot call for a taxi or run other errands.

Robots are also not much help when it comes to finding lost keys or making beds.

But those looking to pull the wool over the robots' eyes should be warned: There are still humans around. When it comes to hotel security, it appears nothing beats human eyes and ears.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 20, 2015, with the headline 'Push the staff's right buttons'. Print Edition | Subscribe