First introduced in 1979 in the Umeda district of Osaka, Japan and designed by Kisho Kurokawa, these tiny hotels were seen as a low-budget sleep space. Famously known by the western world as the “Pod Hotel”, these capsule hotels since its initial perception has spread across various countries across the world including, Belgium, China, Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Poland and also India. 

The guest room in a capsule hotel is a chamber roughly the length and width of a single bed, with sufficient height for a hotel guest to crawl in and sit up on the bed. Traditionally they are built like sleeper bus compartments- with two capsules stacked on top of each other side by side, with steps or ladders providing access to the second level rooms. Most amenities like a kitchen, bar, bathrooms, luggage storage and safe are all set out like a hostel and are mostly shared. 

All About The Pod Living: 

Originally stereotyped as the salarymen’s hotel- white-collar workers who spent their days labouring in the office and their nights drinking- needed a place to spend the night and not cut into their pockets, these spots allowed them to find refuge. For the same cost of a lengthy train ride to their home, they now could instead slide into a personal pod with a small television, air conditioning, an electronic console, and power sockets. Nothing as glamour really. However, with the evolution of travel and millennials constantly looking for the next big thing, these pod hotels have started to enjoy a new wave of popularity. From a much-needed aesthetic and digital upgrade, capsule hotels have now shed their bare-bone ambience to all things chic and tech-savvy. 

With consumer’s actively looking for budget-friendly options, with all the basic essentials and in a compact setting, these hotels are the perfect solution to those who are looking to play hard and spend as minimal time in their hotel rooms. They not only are an economical choice for consumers, but also a great cost-effective solution to growing tourism and hospitality brands. In essential operators can now fit larger groups of guests in a smaller amount of space. But does the luxury of a hotel room limit to the space it has? 

As the experience economy continues to be driven by consumer choice, travellers are less concerned about the glitz hotel experience and full-service flights, they rather spend their money on exploring a city, its attractions, eating out and exploring the culture.  

And India Isn’t Far Away From The Pod Hotel Trend!

Capsule hotels have begun showing up all across the country. With Mumbai being at the forefront of the trend, Brands like Urbanpod have redefined budget travel and sustainable living. Packed with luxury amenities and all basic necessities, Urbanpod in Mumbai offers all travellers a perfect combination of affordable living, trendy space and a European hostel-like atmosphere! With more such hotels popping up across the country, travellers- business or leisure- are enticed by this amazing trend. They have set a precedent to move past the cliche of business hotels and budget hostels, into experiences that redefine travel behaviour, within both economical and cost-effective boundaries. 

The experiential travel trend within the millennial crowd seems to be pushing the envelope further by creating exponential growth for capsule hotels in the global market. A study by WiseGuys indicates that the global capsule or pod hotels market was worth $159 million in 2016 and is expected to increase by a compound annual growth rate of 6.03 per cent to a whopping $226 million by the end of 2022 gaining momentum in Asian countries outside Japan, accommodating a mix of travellers, from backpackers to business travellers.

A Solution For Urban Housing? 

Tiny houses and micro-apartment becoming a considerable point of action for overcrowded cities, we see the conversation turn to use the concept of capsule hotels- minimal, sustainable and innovative- as a solution to the crumbing employment structure and overpopulation. With real estate prices increases in urban cities across the world and unemployment surging, most metropolitans have considered actioning the ‘less is more’ idealogy. However, one tends to forget the ruse that follows the minimalism slogan. The belief that while private spaces shrink, cities will grow to have everything one needs is not all black and white. Even if it does apply in a perfect world situation, one needs to understand that it would mean a huge loss of privacy, solitude and limited growth. Living in a capsule hotel or space may seem amusing and exciting, but considering it as a solution to the urban housing problem, is like putting a bandage on a broken dam. 

Also Read: Covid Crisis For Hotels; How to plan forward

The novelty of a capsule hotel or space does run array and eventually die out after a few visits or sometimes within an hour. However, with that said, one cannot discount the fact that this new accommodation trend is here to stay and grow. What do you think? Let us know below.  


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