Considering to stay in a capsule hotel?
Always up for new experiences, I wanted to stay in a capsule hotel on my first trip to Japan. Since my partner and I had an early flight home to catch, it was the perfect solution to stay at one located right within Narita Airport (Terminal 2) – the 9h (nine hours) capsule hotel. We could check in the night before, have dinner at the airport, sleep a night and then catch our flight with no rush. Would I recommend you to stay a night at a capsule hotel? Definitely, for the experience.
1. Not as claustrophobic as it seems
Most of the capsule pods measure at least 1 metre (width) by 2 metres (length) by 1 metre (height). While some may have the misconception that it is as small as a coffin, my 1.65-metre self could sit comfortably upright with headroom to spare. My partner, who is 1.91 metres, could also sleep comfortably in the pod.
2. Cheaper and Last Minute
Capsule hotels came about primarily as cheaper, last-minute stays for businessmen. Since the amenities provided is very basic and minimal, you can get a pod at a lower rate (from US 25 onwards depending on the hotel) than a private room at a hostel or hotel. In addition, if you are stranded in a city due to a missed connection, you stand a higher chance getting a pod than hotel accommodation. Even if you need just a shower or a quick comfortable nap without having to stay the night, most capsule hotels would give you that option.
3. Great for solo travellers
While there are solo travellers who enjoy mingling with other travellers at a hostel, there are some who prefer to minimise interaction and have the quiet each night to reflect introspectively. Returning to your pod is just like retreating into your personal cave, without the need to interact at the end of a busy travelling day. I think some introverts would appreciate that.
4. Safety for the ladies
Most capsule hotels are segregated by gender. For example at 9h, one wing is for the ladies and the other for the men. Some places segregate by floor. It is even possible to find men-only or women-only capsule hotels.
5. Capsule hotels – A unique experience!
If you ever wanted to feel like an astronaut, or a prisoner (depending on how you look at it), capsule hotels would provide you with that experience. 9h is a sleek hotel with minimalist aesthetics. The monochromatic color scheme makes everything feel sharp, clean, almost sterile even. You check in, get a key, put your luggage into a gym-like locker room, take a shower (communal but individual stations), then crawl into your space pod (or prison cell). There are some however, who prefer not to put themselves through such regimented procedures while they are supposed to be on holiday!
At the end of the day, it is all about the experience and I enjoyed my single night at 9h. Living longer might provide a different experience. Most people would stay in a proper hotel room or in a bunk, but how many can say they stayed in something so quintessentially Japanese – a capsule hotel?
Have you stayed in a capsule hotel before? What was your experience like?
Top image photo credit: Janell Hoong