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Hotel chain experiments with robot butlers

This is not one of the robots the hotel chain Starwood is using to bring guests items such as towels and toothbrushes. (Clive Mason, Getty Images)
This is not one of the robots the hotel chain Starwood is using to bring guests items such as towels and toothbrushes. (Clive Mason, Getty Images)
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Updated: 8/20 1:42 pm

The hotel chain Starwood is trying out robot butlers, which they say are able to bring guests items such as towels and toothbrushes, freeing human staff for other activities. The robots are currently being used at Starwood's Aloft Hotel in California, and do not accept cash tips, instead letting visitors express their appreciation through tweets.

The hotel chain insisted that the butlers are not meant as a human replacement, with Starwood's senior vice-president for its Specialty Select brands telling the New York Times, "I see this as an enhancement to our customer service. It's not going to be a replacement for our human talent."

However, the U.K. hotel workers' union said the butlers can't replace human customer service and are little more than a gimmick. Hugh O'Shea, a spokesperson for Unite, said that the chain should instead invest in providing the living wage for its staff.

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