Looking to gain technology creds in Silicon Valley, Starwood Hotels & Resorts' Aloft Cupertino is putting into service what it says is the industry's first robotic butler.
The device, called a Botlr, will debut at the 123-room hotel in Cupertino, Calif., near the home of Apple Computer, Google and Yahoo, on Aug. 20. The 100-pound robot, which will sport a "uniform" and name tag ("Hi, I'm A.L.O.") is 3 feet tall and moves on rollers.
The robot will transport small items from the front desk to hotel rooms via technology that enables it to open and close elevator doors, navigate to the right floor and notify the guest via a phone call upon its arrival at the guest's room.
Botlr has a 2-square-foot compartment that enables it to deliver amenities from the front desk or linens from the laundry area to guestrooms, though it will not have the ability to carry baggage. The device can be directed from the front desk simply by tapping in a room number on its touch screen. It communicates with elevators wirelessly.
Another Botlr will be added at an Aloft in nearby Sunnyvale, Calif., that's slated to open later this year, and more of the robots will added at other Alofts starting next year, according to Starwood spokesman Thomas Giordonello. Sunnyvale is the city in which Savioke, the robot's manufacturer, is based.
In addition to its usefulness, the Botlr shares the campy feel of Yotel New York's Yobot, the mechanical arm that stores luggage for guests staying in that hotel's micro-sized rooms.
The Botlr is also the second tech-minded service improvement slated for the Aloft Cupertino since February, which is appropriate given the property's proximity to high-tech giants of Silicon Valley.
The hotel was one of two within the Aloft chain where Starwood started a pilot program in which guests can skip the front-desk check-in process and use their smartphones to open their hotel room doors without a key. The other hotel in that program was New York's Aloft Harlem.
Starwood markets Aloft to younger travelers as a technologically advanced, ultra-modern brand.
It debuted the brand in 2008 and has since opened about 90 Aloft properties worldwide.