New Year’s Adventures in the Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Airport Hotel
If you follow me on Twitter, you already know: I got to play with a robot.
But before all of that, I woke up in the Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Airport Hotel.
There are three aspects of waking up in the Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Airport Hotel worth noting:
- It is cheaper, by far, to stay in an airport hotel and take taxis or rideshares (or public transportation, which is possible in LA and which I did at one point during the weekend) into the city. You’ll also get a significantly nicer hotel for your money. I paid $161 per night, not counting taxes and fees, but that was holiday pricing; generally the Sheraton Gateway is even less expensive. Comparatively, if you want to pay $161/night in Hollywood or Beverly Hills, you’ll be looking at the types of establishments where the reviewers repeatedly mention insects and hair.
- If you choose to forego housekeeping—which is always my preferred option because I enjoy lounging in a comfortable hotel room in my pajamas and I do not enjoy someone knocking on the door (and then calling the room) to confirm that I am, in fact, not going to leave—the Sheraton Gateway will give you a $5 coupon to use at any of their luxury dining options, including room service. They call it “making a green choice,” but I call it “everything I ever wanted in a hotel, along with a little bit of guilt about the fact that they’re probably going to cut housekeeping jobs.”
- On the subject of “cutting jobs:” the Sheraton Gateway also included an on-staff delivery robot.
The robot’s claim that it would bring “anything” to your room was a little misleading; I dialed 0 and asked for a gin and tonic, and learned that the robot could only bring toiletries. However, both the toiletries and the use of the robot were complimentary, and I ended up using the robot twice in a 24-hour period. (Because I could.)
The robot did exactly what you’d expect a delivery robot to do: it made bleep bloop noises; it displayed “expressions” on its touchscreen face; and when I stepped into the robot’s path to test its adherence to the First Law of Robotics, the robot did not harm me. It stopped —giving me something like a two-foot berth—and waited patiently for me to get out of the way.
Here I am retrieving my new (free) slippers from the robot:
I did not have to tip the robot, but I did have to rate my experience—and of course I gave the robot five stars.
This may very well be the future: first, the free robots and the $5 coupons will take the bulk of the housekeeping jobs; second, hotels will start charging for both robot use and housekeeping services. (Want the robot to deliver fresh towels? That’ll be $5 per towel, plus a $2 “robot fee.”)
Then, as more and more people use the robots, they’ll gradually get covered with fingerprints and insects and hair, and they won’t get as many five-star reviews.
Or maybe not. Maybe airport hotels—unlike, say, airplanes—will continue providing as luxurious an experience as I received at the Sheraton Gateway, where I left feeling like I had gotten not only a good night’s rest but also a fun robot adventure. I even swiped the Sheraton inkpen from the nightstand so I could keep it on my desk and remind me of the time I flew to Los Angeles, played with a robot, and rang in the New Year with friends.
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