Capsule Hotels are the next INN-thing as more tourists and locals are opting for a low-budget stay. Official trips or sightseeing tours — capsule hotels have Indonesians, Filipinos and Indians flocking to the Plush Pods Capsule Hotel for accommodation on the go.
Van Dang, the Vietnamese Frontdesk Executive of the Plush Pods Capsule Hotel in Bugis’ Tan Quee Lan Street speaks fluent Mandarin as he communicates effortlessly with the housekeeping staff.
When asked about his multilingual abilities, he admits, it is a useful asset in dealing with clients from China.
He says, “Our customers largely come from Indonesia and the Philippines. We also have some Singaporeans who come for staycations as their houses are faraway and they were out for work or their houses are being renovated.”
He says some visitors even stay for as long as a year, owing to various personal reasons.
Van says capsule hotels are all the rage now — as they are more affordable — at only one-third of the normal price tag for a typical hotel room.
Van shows us around to the female dorms, as well as the mixed dorms. He says some women prefer privacy and safety.
Others may be more relaxed with their preferences, or may be staying as a family or as a group, so for them, the mixed dorms are said to be ideal.
SIX-SIX.COM asked a couple of the hotel’s customers about their choice of capsule hotel and the reasons behind it.
Artanto Wahyono is staying in a capsule hotel for the first time, and was having breakfast when I spoke to him. He was here with a woman and a teenage boy, whom I presumed were his family members.
Wahyono, an Indonesian, says, “My family is here for a short stay only. We are expected to stay for four days only; I am here for a symposium, while my family goes for sightseeing. We are here to essentially rest, bathe and put down our luggage. We are always travelling outside.”
Irma Anitasar, the woman seated beside him, nodded in agreement and smiled.
As I loitered in the lounge area to speak to another tourist, a group of Indonesians smiled at me welcomingly and gestured me to sit down with them for breakfast.
Haryanto Jap, 32, an Indonesian says, “My family chose the Plush Pods Capsule Hotel as it is located in a central place, in Bugis with nearby amenities and places to see. This is our first time here. The budget is normal and we are here only for a night. My family is visiting Singapore for the first time for sightseeing.”
I was curious about “difficult” customers and asked Van about such experiences, “Europeans are the most demanding tourists because hospitality is expensive in Singapore at around $100 per room, so they naturally have high expectations of us.”
Each Pod or Capsule Room comes fitted with the following facilities, to ensure maximum comfort and convenience for the customer:
- Air-conditioned Cabins
- Private Self-contained Single/Double pods
- Pocketed spring mattress for a luxurious rest
- Private reading lamp
- Private power sockets for your personal use
- Personal locker (for luggage)
- Personal safe deposit box (for valuables)
- Free Wifi
- Free buffet breakfast included
- Free use of all our lounge and facilities
- Free linen and blanket
- Shared Bathroom
No eating or drinking is allowed in the capsules or dorms, as it tends to attract litter and unwanted insects.
The first capsule hotel founded was the Capsule Inn Osaka, designed by Kisho Kurokawa and situated in the Umeda district of Osaka, Japan. It started in 1979.
In 2012, China founded its first capsule hotel in Xi'an. In Singapore, there are a handful such Hotels listed online and it is a relatively recent phenomenon. They appear to be not what capsule hotels set out to be in Japan. Instead they may have the feel of double decker beds in a dormitory. It is fair to say that the concept may have morphed somewhat in Singapore.
Price wise, Singapore’s capsule hotels are more expensive than their counterparts in Japan and China. Singapore’s capsule hotels, on average, cost twice as much as those in Japan, for instance. Boutique capsule hotels may be slightly pricier.