The Truth About Capsule Hotels

When people imagine capsule hotels, the following words come to mind:

Suffocating

Tiny

Weird

Cramped

Scrubby

Prison like

Small

Odd

Unique.

 

Those are the thoughts I first had when I was thinking about staying in a capsule. I was planning to travel around Asia after my undergrad and after searching what I wanted to do in Japan, I was sure I wanted to try out a capsule.

However, my plans changed drastically, and I ended up getting a job offer in Taiwan which is where I tried out my first ever capsule. It was the best one I have stayed in so far and it set my standards very high. 

Taipei - UZ Hostel

 

It was alien themed which was super cool, everything seemed new and clean. This was the biggest capsule I stayed in as it was modern and had up to date features unlike the Japanese ones I will mention later.

The capsule was more than big enough for me! The bed and pillow were so lush, I didn’t want to leave, and the lighting was so good that my pictures came out great! This capsule hotel also had the best bathroom where the toilets and showers were shared but it was like walking into a fancy restaurant’s restrooms as there were numerous dressing tables to sit down leisurely and do your make up. There were plenty of toilets and showers, so no one would need to queue up and as an added bonus there were many freebies. The location was perfect in Taipei even though we weren’t in the centre and there was lots to do around the area, with the station being easily accessible. 

The only downside was the price as it was New Years and we booked a few days beforehand, so I had to pay £80. But, the regular price is £17 per night so I would definitely recommend as it is an absolute bargain otherwise.

Chaiyi - Pokemon Themed Capsule

My friend who I was travelling with decided to book a cool capsule for us to try. As I am usually the one planning our trips, I had to put my blind faith in her but didn’t she deliver!

The capsules were Pokémon themed and super cute, small but with enough space to be comfortable. We only stayed there for a night, but it was the ideal time as it was in the middle of nowhere, far from the centre and past numerous rice fields. There was also a massive grave yard two minutes away from us which we explored later on (which was so interesting) as Taiwanese and British graveyards are completely different to ours.

This was the most unique capsule I had ever stayed in as it was in a different location and was laced with culture. We also got a free breakfast outside with a view of the countryside, which was an added positive.

This capsule had an ensuite which is uncommon in capsule hotels but was a pleasant surprise. The owner was really friendly and drove us to the centre and suggested places to visit since we were on the outskirts. The overall price for the capsule was around £35 for one night so split between two it comes up to £17.50 which was definitely worth it.

Tokyo - Booth Hotel

I travelled to Tokyo and decided to try out a Japanese style capsule as the country is full to the brim with them so I wanted to compare them to my other experiences.

This was the most normal one we stayed in, but it could be argued the best one because of all the features and the location. It was in the middle of the red-light district in Shinjuku with lots of night life and shopping around.

There was a comic store/library downstairs where we had access to books and free drinks along with ice cream. I loved the “vanity” place as it was decorated cutely in pink with retro lighting.

One downside of this hotel was the bathrooms. The female dormitory was split into a few sections, and each section had about 40 capsules so we all had to share 1 toilet between ourselves, with a few separate showers. The shower system was also different as there were strict rules; we had to pay at the desk downstairs (around £1) to get access to a towel and key for the shower room which we could use for 30 minutes. If we ran over that time limit and didn’t return the items within half an hour, then we had to pay extra. It was my first time experiencing paying for basic necessities at a capsule hotel, but I think it is more of a common practice in Japan.

Overall, after my stays in hostels and capsules hotels, I have to admit that I love it because of how cheap, comfortable and convenient it is. There are so many different chances to try cool and weird hostels and the best thing is the common areas as there are other travellers around who are really sociable, so it is easy to make friends whether you’re travelling alone or with friends.

On a last note, capsules aren’t popular in Europe, but London opened its first capsule hotel if you’re interested to test your comfort zone but somewhere close to home. It’s called St Christopher’s inn village at London bridge with a rough price of £50 per night for a capsule bed.  I hope this article has been helpful and hopefully inspired you to try out a capsule hostel yourself!