Robots as room service and more hotel news

This week in “Get a Room,” SFGATE’s roundup of hotel and accommodations news, room service is revamped by automation that’s designed to avoid awkward eye contact after dropping off a spare toothbrush to your room; a boutique hotel in Sonoma is starting to grow its reputation as a California destination; and the lengths certain accommodations will go to in order to satisfy the everyday demands of guests, including sharing their cars. 

The Campbell-based tech company Savioke sells robots to the services industry, and no other facet has embraced the technology quite like hotels. Across California, hotels have slowly augmented their workforce with automation.


The Axiom Hotel near Union Square has been using a room service drone for the past couple of years, drastically reducing the wait time for guests in need of a fresh towel.

Hotel Trio in Healdsburg called it a transition from “novelty to necessity” when it brought on “Rosé” the robot, a 3-foot drone that delivers pillows, pet treats and groceries to guests.

Elsewhere in the state, Savioke robots are popping up in hotels across Los Angeles from the AC Hotel in Beverly Hills to the Embassy Suites by the Los Angeles International Airport. LAX has even adopted its own robotic assistant called Wally.

Savioke robots are incapable of accepting tips for their services and lack that genial attitude to ask about the flight or feign interest in our response.

Sonoma County property lands on Travel + Leisure’s annual best new hotels list 

After overseeing the temporary closure of the Kimpton Buchanan Hotel in San Francisco during the pandemic, Emily Glick switched gears for the North Bay. 

The Stavrand property, formerly the Applegate Inn, dates back nearly 100 years in the Russian River Valley. 

Emma Morris

She and her husband acquired the then-dormant Applewood Inn and spent the first half of 2021 fully renovating the hotel to become the 21-room Stavrand. Surrounded by redwoods and fruit orchards, the lavish Mediterranean-style hotel with blue-trim windows is merely minutes from Guerneville.

The hotel’s unique neologistic name combines the Norwegian word for church (stav) with hill (rand). 

Only in its second year, the Stavrand is luring travelers with tiled fireplaces and private cedar hot tubs. Non-immune to its charm was Travel + Leisure, which praised the Stravand as “Sonoma County’s hottest boutique retreat” in its latest list. Prices for a night range from $385 on weekdays up to $725 on some weekends. 

Baby you can drive my car 

The hotel industry is a business of saying “yes,” so it was only inevitable we’d arrive at the “can I borrow your car” phase of accommodation. 

The Pendry, a hotel in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter, offers guests a “ride and drive” program that rents out a Cadillac for up to four hours. Moreover, the gold-plated chic hotel also offers complimentary use of their personalized Sector 9 longboards for cruising California. 

A red Cadillac Eldorado in July 2019.

A red Cadillac Eldorado in July 2019.

NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images

As if these loaners weren’t enough, the Pendry has announced a “stay and strum” program where guests can rent out a Taylor guitar to either jam in their rooms or take out to the pool in an effort to woo. 

No word yet if the room service robots are programmed to halt and listen as “Hotel California” is played for the umpteenth time that week.