China’s rather interesting boom in capsule hotels, where rooms are indeed capsules, has been making ripples in the hostel industry, creating the perfect little space that is both private and shared at the same time. Guests who do not require conventional hotel services can opt for these cheaper, more basic overnight stays, an interesting alternative with Japanese origin. Luggages are stored in lockers, while bathrooms are shared and some of these capsule or “pod” hotels (as Westerners call it) even offer entertainment facilities and/or a restaurant.
The little rooms themselves are just large enough for a single person, generally do not cater to those with small children and are not often pet-friendly. However, for those who need to rest weary eyes or who have not another place to go, the air conditioned, WiFi included spaces are a great budget stay, particularly since you get a television in there as well. They might only sleep one, but they come in handy for backpackers, as well as for men who have had a little too much to drink or simply need a place to crash away from everyone. Some hotels will section off men and women as well. In China alone there are multiple variants to this type of accommodation, the first of which, Xi’an Youth Capsule Hotel, was opened in 2012 in Xi’an, where some are considered inns, while others offering enough amenities can be deemed a hotel. Each has its own unique character.
The Space Capsule Hotel in Taiyuan (the Shanxi province) is great for staying connected, including a folding computer table alongside a mirror, television, coat hook, fan, a plug socket and wireless internet.
The Chengdu S+ Capsule Inn in Quingyang has more open pods, complete with television, and air conditioning, laundry services and a vending machine, as well as shared bathrooms and free WiFi.
The Mini Me Capsule Hostel in Beijing is larger, with both private and shared bathrooms, a desk and includes double rooms as well, with own tea kettles. There’s darts, a game room and free wifi throughout.