NY hotel books Yobot the luggage-handling robot

Is it any surprise robots are now invading our hotels too? At the Yotel, opening soon in Times Square, a robotic arm will hoist your bags into a storage locker--for a small fee.

Leslie Katz Former Culture Editor
Leslie Katz led a team that explored the intersection of tech and culture, plus all manner of awe-inspiring science, from space to AI and archaeology. When she's not smithing words, she's probably playing online word games, tending to her garden or referring to herself in the third person.
  • Third place film critic, 2021 LA Press Club National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards
Leslie Katz

If you don't mind courteous hotel staff powered by motors... Yotel

Not so keen on schlepping your suitcases through the streets of New York City after checking out of your hotel? Hand them over to Yobot, the luggage-handling robot.

The 15-foot bot will await visitors in the lobby of Yotel, which opens June 1 in Times Square and calls itself the "iPod of the hotel industry" for such sleek techno flourishes as touch-screen check-in, flat-panel TVs, purple mood lighting--and, of course, Yobot.

The robotic arm can pick up luggage and put it in one of 133 storage lockers in the hotel lobby in case you want to walk around unencumbered before or after checking in. You get a bar-coded ticket, which you then put into the system when you're ready for Yobot to fetch your stash.

Yobot's luggage lugging costs $2 a bag, so presumably you don't have to tip (although Yobot would probably offer a steely wave of appreciation if you did). You can, of course, store your luggage in most hotels for free, but then you get one less cool photo to show your friends back home in Minnetonka.

Robotic arms already reach out to stroke victims and children with motor deficits, among other demographics, but this is the first we've heard of an automated arm helping travelers haul their bags.

Is humanoid hotel hospitality next? Oh, wait...

Yotel room
The 669-room Yotel, located at 42nd Street and 10th Avenue, is going for a sleek, techno feel. Yotel