What do you do if you’ve missed the last bus home? Chances are it’s late and most hotels are out of accommodation. But if you are desperate for somewhere to simply lay your weary head, you won’t care how big the room is, or would you? First debuted in Japan, capsule hotels are now proving to be a big hit with commuters in Moscow, as the cheap and cheerful rooms can be booked for a night, or even just a couple of hours.
Don’t expect room service or turn down extras however, as these rooms are strictly for sleeping and not much else. The rooms are windowless pods, and are pretty cramped to say the least. And in Moscow, the Sleepbox Hotel, as it is known, is the first of its kind to open up to tired travellers.
The hotels of this type are specifically designed to provide cheap,overnight accommodation for travellers, and rooms can cost as little as £32 a night ($50). Each pod is fitted out with a bed, shelf, lamp, small wardrobe and table, and you share a bathroom that has a shower. The size of these pod rooms is approximately 10 square metres, so if you are a little claustrophobic, you might be better off in a more conventional hotel.
These pod hotels began springing up in Japan, near railway stations and cater for business people or commuters who have missed the last train home. It is thought that the reason the pod rooms are windowless is so that they can be situated next to unsightly views such as underground stations.
These pod hotels are nothing new in the UK however, as founder of the YO! Sushi chain Simon Woodroffe came up with the idea for the YO! hotel chain after he saw the pod hotels in Japan. His first Yotel opened at Gatwick South Terminal in 2007, in which travellers can ‘pay as you go’.
Guests check themselves in and the pod room has all the basic essentials for an overnight stay. A staff member then takes a payment on the way out. Mr Woodroffe was keen to point out however, that just because the pod rooms were easy and convenient, this did not mean that quality was compromised. He described the rooms as ‘luxury liner meets The Fifth Element’. He added that they included flat screen TVs, rotating beds and broadband internet access.
And Yotel managing director Gerard Greene agreed: “The rooms are very comfortable, highly fitted, with things like the leather you would get in an Aston Martin. It is the look of a four or five-star hotel.”
Mr Woodroffe has since opened several more Yotels at Heathrow Terminal 4 and Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, and near Times Square in New York.