Japan’s capsule hotels are a popular choice for both tourists and local businesspeople. Newer options have emerged in recent years and offer travelers unique opportunities to experience the Japanese-inspired lodging experience.
This is an overview of what you should expect from a capsule hotel. Also, highlights of some of our favorite capsule hotels.
What’s a capsule hotel?
In 1979, capsule hotels were first introduced in Osaka (Japan) to offer affordable accommodation. Each capsule is approximately seven feet in length, four feet wide, and three feet tall. The traditional capsule hotel stacks sleeping bunks side-by-side. This allows you to have many capsules in one large room. Because capsules are usually only equipped with a curtain or pull-down shade for privacy, guests will often be assigned a locker to store valuables.
Capsule hotels are now commonplace because of Japanese businessmen who stayed out too long drinking with their coworkers to catch the last train home.
Are capsule hotel prices cheap?
For those who can’t afford a hotel room, traditional capsule hotels are a great option. You can still find many cheap capsule hotels in Japan for as low as $15 per night.
Despite being more spacious and sleeker than traditional hotels, capsule hotels can still be quite affordable. Some capsule hotels are located in prime locations, such as Tokyo-Narita airport, or offer unique features, such as a view over the Mediterranean Sea.
Consider how many people are part of your travel group. A capsule hotel is generally cheaper than a traditional hotel for solo travelers. However, if you are traveling with a group of three or more, you will need to purchase three capsules.
You’ll also see capsule hotel guests of the opposite gender only in public areas. These spaces can be anything from a small lobby to large living spaces.
If you are on a tight budget, you will want to find a local spot that is simple and affordable. Here are six of our favorite capsule hotels around the globe.
The best capsule hotels in the entire world
1. Nine Hours Capsule Hotels Japan
This list includes many capsule hotels, but I have stayed at the Nine Hours brand. It can feel like you are on a spaceship, with the sleek design and directional signs on the floor. It can be easier to climb in the capsule and close the shutter to go to sleep with that explorer mindset.
You don’t have to stay there for nine hours, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do so. The Nine Hours name refers to the time it takes to wash up, sleep, and get ready for the next day. If you just need to take a short nap, you can rent a Nine Hours capsule for $7 per hour. The cost for each hour thereafter is $4.
2. First Cabin Capsule Hotels Japan
You want to be able to sleep in a top-class cabin but you don’t have enough mileage. You can still get your chance to sleep in a first-class “cabin” while you’re still on the ground. First Cabin, a Japanese chain with around 12 locations, offers four types of cabin rooms. These range from capsule-like cabins in “premium economy” to standard hotel rooms in “first class”.
The full-height business class cabins are the best option if you don’t want to worry about your head hitting the ground. The theme does not extend to cabin names, unfortunately for aviation enthusiasts. You won’t be sleeping on aircraft seats.
3. Book and Bed Capsule Hotels Tokyo
Book lovers rejoice! A capsule hotel allows you to sleep in the bookcases. These capsule hotels look and function exactly like a bookstore. You can find the perfect book by looking through the bookcase and then you can climb into your capsule to read it until you fall asleep.
4. The O Pod Hotel, Tel Aviv, Israel
Are you curious about capsule hotels, but would you like to have a view? The O Pod Hotel Tel Aviv can grant your wish. You can reserve a capsule hotel room with a view over the Mediterranean Sea. O Pod Hotel has a range of pod sizes. They offer traditional stacked pods and full-height mini-rooms.
You don’t have worry about losing your things or having someone mistake your pod for theirs during the night. The O Pod Hotel capsules are lockable, which is a departure from most Japanese capsule hotels.
5. Petra Capsule Hostel Near Petra, Jordan
Petra, Jordan is another location that offers spectacular views from its capsule hotel. The capsules are high above the city and offer spectacular views of Wadi Musa. They are also just a short distance from the Petra archaeological site. The capsule hotel received a 9.6 rating from its guests. This includes perfect scores for cleanliness, atmosphere, staff, and location. This property is not like traditional capsule hotels. There’s no curfew, for better or worse.
6. Pod Hotels New York City
Although not a capsule hotel, Pod hotels may be as close as U.S. tourists want to a capsule hotel. The mini-chain has four locations in New York City that offer 110-square-foot rooms. Pod Hotels is the perfect choice for those who like privacy: Each room comes with its own private toilet-shower area.
Are you interested in staying at a capsule hotel?
Capsule hotels may not be for everyone. Capsule hotels are not for everyone. Capsule hotels don’t provide the most peaceful environment because there are so many people sharing the same space.
Capsule hotels are the ultimate Japanese lodging experience. Capsule hotels are a great option for your next trip, whether you’re looking for a low-cost, $15 bed or a stylish, new concept in hotel design with views over Petra.
Featured photo courtesy O Pod Hotel.
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