By Peter Schlesinger
August 13, 2014

Aloft Hotels announced its latest hire today: a robot butler named A.L.O. who is now serving guests at the brand’s Cupertino location.

The first major hotel company to introduce a robot for front-of-house service, Aloft plans on using A.L.O. to help (human) staff around the clock, fulfilling chores such as delivering guest amenities and transporting bedding, towels, and other linens between laundry- and guest-rooms. The robot uses internal navigational software to find its way around the hotel and communicates via on-screen prompts.

Does this signal the end of real, personal service by a humanoid? Hopefully not. A statement from Aloft asserts that A.L.O. will allow hotel employees more time to create better experiences for guests while their robotic coworker handles more basic tasks.

The T+L Take? Aloft has long targeted the Millennial market, and A.L.O.’s debut in Apple’s backyard is no coincidence. Some guests will miss the personal interaction to be sure, but many of Aloft’s young and tech-savvy visitors will appreciate it. Indeed, they’d likely rather receive a midnight replacement toothbrush from a robot than from a staff member with better things to do.

Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure and a member of the Trip Doctor news team. You can find him on Twitter at @pschles08.