When I was young my first encounter with the words "escape capsule" or "escape pod" was on sci-fi movies situated in outer space. In the movies, an escape pod or escape capsule was usually portrayed as a capsule or craft that is big enough to carry one person and used to escape from a larger vessel or mothership during an emergency. In the movies, it is usually portrayed as a last resort of survival.
Today, capsule hotels or pod hotels are sprouting one by one and are largely look the same as the ones from the sci-fi movies (just like an escape pod or escape capsule), there's no doubt capsule hotel owners take inspiration straight from sci-fi movies. Capsule hotels are slowly gaining popularity and are showing potentials for mass adoption. Capsule hotels or pod hotels can be a good alternative to traditional hotels (good news to travelers on a tight budget).
Looking back, capsule hotels were originated in Osaka, Japan in 1979 (earlier than I thought). At first, I thought that capsule hotel made its debut only five to ten years ago or so. I guess Japanese intellect is so advanced that they saw the importance of practicality, efficiency, and space usability, no wonder Japan has one of the top economies in the world.
Let's take a look at some of the capsule hotels in the world beginning to the country where they originated, Japan.
JAPAN CAPSULE HOTELS
9h Nine Hours
With 16 branches mostly located in Tokyo, Japan, 9h Nine Hours is one of the largest capsule hotels and is also one of the most popular. 9h's capsule arrangement is strikingly similar to the sleep capsule from the movie Avatar (though in the movie a person is not able to sit inside the capsule). If you take a look at the photos below, capsules are stacked in two layers and the capsule above overlaps with the capsules below, the capsule number is printed on the floor for easy recognition. Stairs are installed for the upper capsules.
Images are from 9h Nine Hours Facebook Page
9h's amenities include a locker room, lavatory, shower room, table capsule, specialty coffee, shampoo, body soap, bath towels (for rental), face towel (for rental), loungewear (for rental), toothbrush, conditioner, Shaver, mini pillow (for sale), running station (running shoes can be rented), customer lounge (with tables and chair), balcony, rooftop viewing, a bar, and private work desk. You can even go to the rooftop and do your work if you want. Locker Rooms can be locked and unlocked using your smartphone.
Usually, a 9h Nine Hours capsule hotel has dedicated capsule hotels for men and women. If a 9h branch caters for both men and women access to the capsule is through separate elevators. They offer "stay" or "nap" packages.
A caveat of this type of hotel is all guests must check out daily at a specific time for cleaning. Full payment is required upon check-in. The mode of payment is cash or via credit card (VISA, Mastercard, American Express, and JCB. If you got oversized luggage that doesn't fit in the locker it can be checked on the front desk. Eating and drinking inside the pod are prohibited.
9h Nine Hours branch locations are as follows: Narita, Shinjuku-North, Woman Kanda, Otemachi-Imperial Palace, Akasaka, Kamata, Asakusa, Suidobashi, Hamamatsucho, Hanzomon, Shin-Osaka Station, Namba Station, Nagoya Station, Nakasu-Kawabata Station, Sendai.
9h Nine Hours photo Gallery
Reference: 9h Nine Hours website
The Millenials offers high-tech and multi-functional sleeping that is a lot bigger and spacious unit compared to 9h Nine Hours' sleeping capsules that allows their clients to stand inside the pod. The pod features a full-sized bed for sleeping. The Millenials called its sleeping pod "Smart Pod"
Their sleeping pod has a ceiling height of 2.3m making you feel more comfortable.
Their sleeping pod also features a 120cm bed and thick mattress from Serta (Serta is America's popular mattress maker),
The Millenials sleeping pod features a bed that can be reclined adding more comfort to your sleep or while watching.
A client can be able to stand inside the sleeping pod, a feature not available on some capsule hotels or pod hotels.
A client has large storage available under the bed, a welcome feature to travelers with large luggage.
The sleeping pod also features an 80inch TV screen that you can interface to your personal device if you want to watch some of your personal videos or browse your photos. This 80inch TV is not available on all units.
The sleeping has an alarm that uses automatic lights and the reclining bed to wake you up at the time you set it.
Upon check-in, you will be given an iPod where you control all the functions of the pod, hence their monicker, Smart Pod.
Reference: The Millennials website
Capsule Inn Osaka
The first, the original, Capsule Inn Osaka was the first capsule hotel in the world. Capsule Inn Osaka started to offer sleeping capsules in 1979. Though their Osaka branch caters to only men.
Their branches feature large bathhouses and spacious customer lounges.
Reference: Capsule Inn website
CAPSULE HOTELS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES
Capsule Hotel Lucerne - Switzerland
Capsule Hotel Lucerne is the first capsule hotel in Switzerland. Their capsule is designed to mimic those of futuristic outer-space design just like those you commonly see in a spaceship from sci-fi movies.
Capsule Hotel Lucerne offers a fast Wi-Fi internet connection and is only less than 10 minutes walk from the train station (a welcome to travelers who frequently visit Lucerne). To locals that plan to bring their vehicles, parking is available at some public parking garage nearby namely
Parking garage Kesselturm (just 2 minutes away from Capsule Hotel Lucerne) and parking garage Altstadt (a mere 4 minutes away from Capsule Hotel Lucerne).
Their capsule features separate ventilation, mirror, mood lighting, USB charging, lockable from inside, and a single bed with bedding and a towel.
According to their website, a 10% discount is given to direct booking.
Reference: [Capsule Hotel Lucerne website](Reference: Capsule Inn website
Tubo Hotel - Mexico
Tubo Hotel's units are made from large tubes, hence the name Tubo. They are arranged in a pyramid. Tubo Hotel is located at the Magic Village, Tepoztlan, Morelos, Mexico.
Unlike any other capsule hotel that is housed in a building, Tubo Hotel is located in an open-air setting (outdoor) giving guests a unique experience. Tubo Hotel's tubes are commonly stacked in a group of three making them look like a pyramid.
At night, those normal-looking tubes turn majestic once the surrounding starts getting dark.
Reference: Tubo Hotel website
Panda Pod Hotel - Canada
Panda Pod Hotel is the first-ever capsule hotel in Vancouver. Their pod is available for one person per pod and it is for adults only. Their pod has privacy blinds and is soundproofed and has an industrial air filtration feature to keep the bad air out. Each pod has key fob storage. They also offer large luggage storage and their pods are divided into male and female sections for privacy. Panda Pod Hotel is also a handicapped-friendly pod hotel. Just like other capsule hotels, their capsules are stacked in two layers. They do require a deposit.
Amenities are free parking, slippers, shampoo, body wash, towels, hairdryers, charging stations, toothbrushes, Wi-Fi, hangers, coffee + tea, and lockers.
Reference: Panda Pod Hotel website
inBox Capsule Hotel - Russia
Located at the world-famous St. Petersburg inBox Capsule Hotel features a kitchen with a microwave, refrigerator, and toaster. It also has a Library wherein you can read books, magazines, and play board games. A luggage room is also available each capsule is ventilated and air-conditioned. They have also individual lockers and has video monitoring for security. Every guest is given keycard access upon check-in.
The following are free for every guest: breakfast, coffee, tea, Wi-Fi connection, shampoo, shower gel, towel, bed linen, hairdryer, and an iron safebox.
Their capsule comes in three variants namely SmartBox, MonoBox, and Double Box.
SmartBox is a very private single space equipped with privacy roller shade, orthopedic mattress, reading lights, hanging tools, power sockets, ventilation, and air-conditioning.
It is also equipped with power sockets, free Wi-Fi, LED lighting, a soft pocket for belongings, hanging tools for clothes, and a personal locker
MonoBox is a two-level room with no window and no shower inside the room. It has a 110 cm wide orthopedic mattress, a 40” LED TV, ventilation, and a, safebox. Has Wi-Fi and a wardrobe
DoubleBox is a two-level room that has its own bathroom and capsule bedroom with a window. The room is equipped with WC, shower, orthopedic mattress, 40” LED TV, ventilation, air-conditioning, Wi-Fi, and hairdryer.
Reference: inBox Capsule Hotel website
And that is some of the capsule hotels in some parts of the world.
Until next time. Keep safe.