Sleep at a Capsule Hotel!

October 3, 2008 at 8:41 am 3 comments

Ever thought about spending a night in a coffin? That’s what most people imagine a ‘capsule’ hotel to be like. Cramped living quarters. Loud-snoring men. Communal baths. None of my friends who’d stayed ever had a particularly good review. “It’s… an experience,” they’d say. Yet, for my most recent trip to Tokyo I found myself intrigued by the idea of sleeping in a room no bigger than myself. At less than $40 a night it’s the most affordable means of getting a good night’s sleep.

Akihabara’s Capsule Inn is just a 5-minute walk from the station. Once you’re checked-in, they give you a wristband strapped with two keys: one that will open your personal locker a la Jr. High gym class, and one that will open the room which houses the capsules. It’s a well-planned facility with women lodged on the top three floors and men relegated to the lower five levels. If you catch a man in the upper levels you know he’s up to no good.

The capsules themselves have no doors. I assumed there was a translucent air-tight hatch, so for the longest time I stood in front of my bunk trying to find the lever to open it. After realizing I could just jump in, I spotted some wood blinds to pull down for privacy. Inside, it’s surprisingly roomy — with at least 5 inches of space above my head when sitting upright (though I’m tiny). You also get a built-in TV and radio for those restless, jet-lagged nights.

The communal bathroom and shower facilities were well-kept and equipped with all the fun stuff like shampoo, soap, combs and hair dryers. And while you’re waiting in line you can surf the net, free of charge.

Of course, there’s no extra frills like a continental breakfast or a mint on your pillow. And there’s slight inconveniences like having to leave big luggage down in the lobby at all times, and having to leave the premises by 10 am even if you’re staying another night. But for $40, I’d say it’s worth it. With all the money saved, I can spend more on cool gadgets, ramen and massages. Longer lasting than a panoramic view of Tokyo, wouldn’t you say? \(^D^)/


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October 2008