Capsule Hotels–Not Just for Business Travelers

When we travel, we want to find the best hotel deals possible. Sometimes we get a great hotel deal at a hotel that has a lot more to offer than we will ever need. And other times, all we want is a comfortable bed to sleep in. Capsule hotels address the latter, offering simple accommodations: a bed and little else. But for some, that’s all that’s necessary. Capsule hotels address the needs of those who just want some sleep–no pampering required.

Capsule hotels are the brainchild of the Japanese and were originally conjured up to accommodate traveling businessmen who just needed to catch a wink or two. Once they were done working really late, or perhaps partying out on the town, these businessmen needed a comfy bed without a lot of hoopla and hence this style of simple lodging was born.

In 1979, Osaka opened the Capsule Hotel in Osaka within the city’s busy Umeda district and is still operational today. It provided the groundwork for several other capsule hotels that are opening around Europe and Asia. The premise is simple: provide a capsule-like apartment with a bed, perhaps an amenity or two, communal baths, and maybe a common room for hanging out.

When you get ready to book a room (compartment) at one of these establishments, make sure you can stay there. Many of them are men or women only. Few are for both. Most capsule hotels run about $30-50 per night, but China’s Qingdao is only $7 nightly. Some places will let you rent hourly, nightly, or even weekly. If you travel to a Moscow capsule hotel, however, be prepared to pay a few hundred dollars each night you stay, including at the 100-bed Sleepbox capsule hotel. One Hong Kong capsule hotel features adjustable ceilings and beds there go for about $500 a month.


Some of the amenities that are offered at capsule hotels include coin-operated laundry, toiletries, free Wi-Fi, and small desks. Keep in mind that the capsules you sleep in are only about seven feet long and three or four feet wide. The height is just enough that you can sit on the bed and not bang your head on the ceiling. 9hours in Kyoto, Japan, has a sleep ambient control system and designer pillows.


At Capsule Ryokan, also in Kyoto, you will sleep on a more traditional tatami mat rather than a mattress. Here you can also find a small LCD TV along with Wi-Fi, dimming lights, and an alarm clock. If you stay in one of the en-suites, you also get a compact rain shower.

By contrast, if you check in to the Pod Hotel in New York City, you will find furnishings more abundant, yet still  in a small space.  Here you will find beds, flat screen TVs, MP3 docking stations, and climate-controlled rooms.  Lighting is also on a dimmer switch so you can set that to your linking as well.

At CitizenM in Amsterdam, you have a compact room to make yourself comfortable in with desks, chairs, and bed.. mostly bed. Enjoy total control of your surroundings with a high-tech mood pad. Control climate, sound, and lighting. The hotel has a 24-hour food service area plus a TV room, workspace, and library.


Yotel has locations in England, Amsterdam, and New York.  With this series of hotels, you have the pleasure of being located within or close to airports and major sites of interest.  Rooms may have either a queen or king bed, private terraces, flat screen televisions, free Internet and docking stations, showers with heated towel racks, and a safe. A complimentary continental breakfast is also included in your stay. The rooms are still small, so they’re perfect for those on a budget.

Wherever your travels take you, just make sure you follow the simple rules of capsule hotels: remove your shoes upon entry, receive your locker key, change out of your street clothes into the robe provided, and wash up before getting into the communal bath.

So, as you can see, these compact little business hotels are the perfect solution for travelers on the go!