Can a Capsule Hotel Be Considered Luxury? This is a question I’ve been pondering since my ‘okay-but-not-sure-if-I-would-do-it-again’ experience at a capsule hotel in Japan.
The more I’ve reflected on my Japanese stay I’ve realised that it wasn’t really the right choice for me. I’m glad I did it, the features were good but there were too many ‘dislikes’ for me to stay in one again; or so I thought until I paid a visit to The POD.
Researching accommodation in Singapore I was shocked at the cost.
The standard hotel cost was upwards of AU$200 and an average of AU$300 per night – in part because it was the week surrounding the Indian festival of Deepavali – so I needed to find an alternative even if just for a few nights.
Somewhere during my search, I stumbled upon The POD Boutique Capsule Hotel. Looking through the photos it seemed liked my type of place.
The pictures gave the impression of an urban, business focused hotel with simple design but plenty of small creature comforts; and with a location on Beach Road in Kampong Glam – the ethnic-Malay and Muslim Quarter – popular tourist attractions, MRT stations and with a bus stop outside the front door, as well as plenty of food choices throughout the day and night, were just a stone throw away.
Quickly checked in, I was ushered back into the elevator to be shown to my POD.
Removing your shoes and locking them in a shoe locker you are then invited to enter the sparely lit dorm – people were sleeping. Thick curtains covered heavily tinted windows and the hum of traffic below a distant thought I walked down the line of PODs, some with a faint orange glow emitted from behind the screen to mine at the furthest end of the room.
The POD’s themselves are quite minimalist in style. One large, very comfortable single mattress (some come with Queens which can sleep two) with two pillows in the ‘cabin’ which features an inbuilt fold-down table, coat hook, towel rack and a single power socket. When choosing a sofa bed for a space like this, it helps to have expert designers map out your place and its functionality.
Underneath the POD is a deep baggage storage ‘cabinet’ which can be accessed using your room key. There was plenty of space for my 27″ suitcase as well as extra room for my backpack, handbag and all the shopping I may have accidentally squeezed in on my stopover at Changi Airport – whoops!
Hidden out of view was a large change room that most people wouldn’t know was there unless someone else pointed it out, though some rooms are fitted with sofas should space permit.
Regardless of staying in a female-only dorm, the bathrooms are all co-ed.
With two toilet cubicles and three shower rooms the bathroom is spacious. The shower rooms come fitted out with everything you’d expect in a hotel bathroom, as well as towel racks to stop your personal belongings from getting wet and hair cleaner and body wash (smelt nice but I prefer my Davroe hair products!)
In the mornings I noticed that there was a woman cleaning the shower rooms as soon as people showered which was nice, and there was a blow dryer and straightener available for use.
There were two dorms on my floor but I was surprised that no one else was showering at the same time as me, but later noted that most showered at night (it seems to be quite a common thing with Asian women).
The common area is adjacent to the reception area and features a lounge area, the ‘business centre’ that is three small business ‘PODs’ with laptops and phones for use, and the large kitchenette where breakfast is served each morning, a TV, fridge and bench.
One of the best aspects about The POD is that they don’t treat you like a hostel guest, it’s a hotel experience for guests who are looking for a bit of luxury on a budget.
Each POD guest get a towel, free WiFi, a bottle of water and a basic continental breakfast each morning. There’s also a Nespresso coffee machine in the kitchenette adjacent to the reception which you can access throughout the day, free local calls, free washing & drying services, and free dry cleaning (one piece per night) – to me, that’s pretty good value!
For couples or travellers who want extra space, there’s also queen size bed PODs.
What I liked:
- Option to stay in a side opening POD.
- Option to stay in a POD for two/with a Queen bed.
- Location on Beach Road – walkable to top sights, MRT, easy connection to airport.
- Free fast WiFi.
- Free laptop use and local calls in Business PODs.
- Free continental breakfast each morning.
- Free water.
- Free Nespresso coffee machine.
- Free washing & drying facilities.
- Free dry cleaning (one piece per night).
- Free straighteners available for use
What I didn’t like:
- If you’re a light sleeper don’t get a POD near the end of the room as you’ll be able to hear traffic faintly.
- I feel that a second darker privacy curtain is needed, particularly on the side entrance PODs, to emit light from neighbours.
Would I stay at The POD again? Definitely.
Is The POD good value for money? In a city where SGP$300 per night is a ‘good’ rate, yes!
Can a Capsule Hotel be considered luxury? Why yes, and I think I’ve found my new base for when I next travel to Singapore.
What do you think:
Would you stay in a capsule hotel?
Have you stayed in a ’boutique’ capsule hotel that you’d recommend?
Single POD – SGD$54-98/AUD$47-85/GBP£26-48
Queen POD – SGD$98-108/AUD$85-94/GBP£48-53
I highly recommend you book online to get the best rates. 🙂