R2-D2 and WALL-E have competition as hotels use more robots

How the hospitality industry’s newest employees stack up. 

WORDS By Jess Swanson
March 2018

More and more hotels around the world are turning to robots to handle tasks as basic as delivering towels and as complex as cooking breakfast. A look at some of the top robots in the industry.

M Social, Singapore

Activation: introduced in November as the first front-of-house robotic chef prototype; works with “his sister” Aura, a delivery robot

Specs: a robotic arm picks up and cracks open two eggs and cooks them sunny-side up or as an omelette

Duties: serves as the hotel’s “chef-in-training,” creating fresh egg dishes for guests at the hotel restaurant, Beast & Butterflies

Fritz Factor: he’s no Rosie the Robot—Ausca only knows how to make eggs; breaks a yolk or two every now and then

Aloft, Cupertino, CA

Activation: first launched by Savioke in 2014, this popular model—who goes by Botlr at Aloft properties—is now found in over 70 hotels worldwide

Specs: uses 3D cameras and Wi-Fi to navigate; capable of detecting and alerting human staff of internet outages and empty trays; wears a faux tuxedo

Duties: delivers towels, toiletries and room service, including special deliveries, such as engagement rings; asks for guests to rate their stay

Fritz Factor: once short-circuited after a guest accidentally put wet towels in him; requests Twitter mentions in lieu of tips

Sheraton, Los Angeles

Activation: after years of lugging around items in hospitals, Aethon’s automated robot delivery units are checking into hotels

Specs: designed to carry luggage; returns to charging dock when not in use; able to operate elevators and automatic doors

Duties: operates as a robotic bellhop who can transport suitcases, linens and other items to rooms; also capable of assisting the staff in taking out the trash when needed

Fritz Factor: Tug works best if you stay out of his way; must connect back to Aethon’s home office when he needs to be updated

Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas

Activation: launched in November, this chatty bot created by SoftBank Robotics can also be found in shops and malls around the world

Specs: humanoid bot with expressive “eyes” that can discern a guest’s mood by detecting facial, body and voice cues; features a tablet on her chest

Duties: hotel’s technical ambassador; greets guests in the lobby; works 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily; poses for selfies and gives directions

Fritz Factor: Pepper is programmed to crave attention; asks guests to “come over here”; sighs when ignored


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