Walking up to a front desk to grab your room key is non-existent. The hotel clerk is replaced with a vending machine and you’ll get a ticket instead. Head to your room and you’ll see a sliding screen in the place of a bedroom door. Oh, and you’ll have to crawl over the threshold.
This is a stay in a “capsule” hotel.
Jon Parise, a 29-year-old living in Chicago, had not stayed in a capsule hotel before, but when traveling alone in Tokyo recently, he thought it would be the perfect time to try.
“The stay was interesting,” Parise told TheBlaze in an email, but noted it “was a very odd situation.”
All in all, Parise said he considered the stay cheap for Tokyo, his room costing 2,200 yen, or $21.50 per day.
The scene, at least in this capsule hotel, was an unusual one.
“There was a common room that provided a couple of computers, a TV, vending machines and Wi-Fi Internet which was nice, but it was populated by strange people at all hours of the night,” he said.
When he first arrived at Hotel Asakusa & Capsule around midnight local time, a Japanese woman was in the lobby watching cat videos on YouTube.
The slightly-larger-than-a man-size room is not for the claustrophobic, but Parise survived.
“I could sit up comfortably in it and lay down completely without feeling cramped. The inside was dreary though,” he admitted, noting that mornings were dark without natural light.
Despite a ventilation fan, it would become “disgustingly stale after eight hours of laying in the capsule.”
The curtain as opposed to a solid door wasn’t something that sat well with Parise either.
“It made me feel as though I had no privacy whatsoever. If Tokyo wasn’t such a safe city I would have certainly felt even more uneasy about it,” he said. “As I was trying to sleep I could hear drunk men stumbling down the hallway at all hours of the night and others snoring.”
Not that he’d want to stay in the capsule longer than he had to, but he said the hotel only allow patrons to be in their capsules from 4 p.m. to 10 a.m., making it difficult for visitors to have a home base during the day.
Given that the capsule room is really only a sleeping pod, there’s the bathroom situation to contend with.
“Each floor had toilets [and] sinks, but only one floor had a bath area. The female’s bath door had a lock, the male’s door didn’t,” Parise explained. “Inside the bath there were traditional Japanese showers where you get a stool to sit on and a shower head to clean. There was also a hot bath but I didn’t dare get in it.”
Overall, the hotel had everything he needed and he paid for what he got. Parise wouldn’t rule out staying in a capsule hotel again, but the situation would have to call for it.
“As a 20-something it was a fun, interesting novelty, but if I were any older staying in a capsule hotel would make me question my choices in life,” he said.