Among Japan's many ingenious inventions, capsule hotels are probably the ones to have received the most attention worldwide. Initially, Japan's soaring property prices and population density led to their construction. Then, the world's smallest hotel rooms made overnight stays affordable again.
The first capsule hotel to see the light of day was in 1979, called the Capsule Inn Osaka. Naturally, capsule hotels are most common in Japan, but recently, many countries have adopted this innovative type of accommodation.
Traditionally, capsule hotels were aimed at businessmen. Then the gradual increase in their popularity, they have opened gender-segregated accommodations. Even today, most Japanese capsule hotels will have separate floors for men and women.
So, would you like to stay in a hotel where the room is two square meters and where the next room is the box above you? Then you should test a capsule hotel - also often referred to as a micro-hotel or pod hotel - on your next vacation.
Some have compared the experience with the scenes from Stanley Kubrick's movie "A Space Odyssey". There are many different types of capsule hotels at different price ranges.
Some are very simple and offer only the essentials, while others are pretty luxurious! In this list of capsule hotels, we will list our favorite ones.
Capsule Inn Osaka is the original capsule hotel that started it all. At its opening over 40 years ago, it was so much ahead of its time that it took other countries decades to catch up.
The hotel has undergone some design changes, but it's still exclusively for men. Like most capsule hotels in Japan, it has a spacious spa with hot tubs and a sauna.
Recently the place was rebranded and now runs under the name New Japan Umeda.
The Singaporean capsule hotel is a great example of where the industry is heading. Influenced by the Japanese Zen - and obviously, the capsule concept - Kinn takes the beauty of minimalism to another level.
The design is so clean it can be easily mistaken for a modern art museum. And those beautifully carved wooden oval entrances to the capsules are a sight to behold.
Coffee and biscuits are for free and there is a rooftop terrace overlooking Singapore.
The craze has reached even the Middle East. Petra's first capsule hotel rides the trend in an unusual way.
The cubicles are pushed to the huge glass walls, and if you take the corner capsule you will have 180 degrees view of Wadi Musa and the magical landscape of Petra.
After a scenic sunset, you can close the curtains and rest in a plush and cozy capsule.
This New York-inspired "Steel House" sets a new standard for modern city hostels. The style is industrial chic, consisting of raw elements, soft textures, and rustic interiors.
The industrial chic style continues in the rooms where you'll find stylish capsules. Additionally, the hostel has an app that allows you to open your room with a single click on your phone.
The "poshtel" (posh hostel) features an indoor pool, a fitness center, an atmospheric in-house cinema, a coworking space with 12 tablets, and a karaoke bar.
As the capital of Japan and one of the world's largest cities, Tokyo does not suffer from a shortage of unique accommodation! Hotel Zen is located in Nihonbashi Ningyocho, or "Doll town" as the locals call it, and it's one of the most traditional parts of the city.
The hotel respectfully integrates into this environment. For example, the capsule rooms were inspired by the tranquil tea houses of Tokyo, with beautiful ornaments on their wooden structures.
The rooms may be small, but they are full of originality. The cozy insides are decorated with traditional Japanese art and bamboo night lamps, and with the additional support of an underlying tatami, the beds are super comfortable.
If you are used to traditional capsule hotels with tiny mattresses, Hotel Zen stretched the standard to 120 cms in width (that's 47 inches).
Canada's first capsule hotel is a bold entrance. The boutique-level hotel is located in Whistler’s iconic village, next to Whistler Blackcomb, one of the largest ski resorts in North America.
The Living Room is Pangea's posh bar, an unlikely feature in a capsule hotel, as is the rooftop patio where you can sip on crafted cocktails while overlooking the Blackcomb mountains.
The capsules are hip and colorful, and you can choose between front and side-entry pods. Whichever seems comfier to you!
There are not many countries in the world where affordability would count more for tourists than Switzerland.
Famed for its magical mountains and Milka cows, Switzerland has some of the most expensive hotels in the world.
But now, you can spend the night at the edge of Lucerne's historic old town without breaking the bank. In addition, you will sleep in space-age-designed capsules.
These futuristic pods look like the interior of the rockets heading to colonize Mars.
They are fitted with all the stuff you need: individually-controlled ventilation, a safe, a mirror, dimmable mood lighting, and a charging station.
MyCube by Mystays is a modern example of a Japanese capsule hotel. It took the traditional recipe but increased the vertical size of the pods and streamlined their design.
It's the perfect solution for claustrophobes, as the ceiling is so high you can even stand on your bed.
The pod's interior gives a micro-hotel vibe with a built-in safe, a tiny mirror, a single hanger (!), and a TV.
CityHub's centrally located hotel in Amsterdam is aimed at the younger crowd who prefers to spend their money on entertainment rather than on a fancy room.
The hotel's cubes are inside what seems like a long stretch of containers. There is just enough room to place your luggage and personal items, and other than that, it's a big mattress on an elevated platform.
Each cabin is equipped with a high-speed Wi-Fi connection, built-in speakers, and app-controlled lighting. So you can set the room's colors based on your mood!
One of the newest capsule hotels in Tokyo will teleport you to the future of Japan. The Millennials Shibuya is a showcase work of a digital age hotel.
The futuristic communal spaces are infused with industrial-style design, like the exposed metallic pipes on the ceiling.
The smart pods have an oversized bed that you can set in an upright position to watch movies on the closing curtain that doubles as a screen.
So your capsule is essentially a bedroom and a mini-cinema too.
The capsule hotel crazy reached Singapore sooner than the rest of the world, thanks to its sky-high real estate prices that drove up the cost of staying in a normal hotel.
Make no mistake, Singapore's general attitude toward high-standard workmanship can be observed here too. The pod hotel saves on space, but not on quality.
Each of the 100 capsules comes with 300 thread-count sateen cotton sheets, fluffy duvets, and a blind.
And if your budget allows, you can choose one of the suite pods which are essentially micro rooms.
Perfectly embedded in Kyoto’s geisha district, Gion, this capsule hotel has a spa section with a sauna and a jacuzzi that you can use all day long, as many times as you like, plus you get a complimentary breakfast.
This capsule hotel stays true to its origins in many ways. It's a men-only accommodation with 110 capsules stacked on two levels.
Only their design has evolved into a modern shape while retaining the Japanese capsule's quirky details.
The barely 24 square foot (22 sqm) micro rooms are fitted with a bottle holder, a mirror, Daito beddings, and a TV with video on demand service - but that will cost you 500 yen extra.
The original pod hotel of New York has a fascinating history. In 1912, the back then sailor's home sheltered over 100 Titanic survivors.
After purchasing the historical building, The Jane Hotel's management ensured that the hotel's rich maritime history would not be forgotten.
Their tiny nautical-themed cabins are only 50 square feet (4.5 sqm) in size, but the small package is finely detailed with brass, wood, and soft-touch materials. And as you would in a properly-sized suite, you'll get a comfy bathrobe.
The beds are equipped with high-class mattresses, and unlike in traditional capsule hotels, there is a proper door to close your room.
The Jane is located in one of the best parts of Manhattan, in West Village. It's right next to Hudson River Park (perfect for sunny morning walks with a cup of coffee!), the super cool High Lane, and the famous Chelsea Market.
It's the largest capsule hotel in Japan with 437 rooms, and they are, of course, gender-segregated.
Manga fans will be delighted as the hotel is home to a dedicated manga room where you can find over 10,000 books and magazines.
In addition, there is a separate bathhouse for men and women with saunas and hot tubs.
Asahi Plaza Shinsaibashi follows the traditional recipe. The capsules are 3.3-feet × 3.3-feet × 6.6-feet (1-meter × 1 meter × 2-meters) in size and retain the design features of the typical 80s capsule hotels.
Japan's creativity lives up to its hype at the Book and Bed hostel. This mixture of a library and a capsule hotel results in the coziness of a reading nook.
While reading your favorite book, you can peek through the windows to see the neon noir vibes of Tokyo. They have a selection of 4,000 books so that you won't be bored.
Book and Bed makes hostel life easy. Their list of items to purchase includes things like toothbrushes and even pajamas.
Depending on how much you value your comfort and your wallet, they have a range of single, semi-double and double bed capsules.
And if you insist on more privacy - and paying triple the price of the single bed capsule, the superior room has a king-sized bed and 90 degrees panorama of Tokyo.
Bangkok's quirky accommodation is an exotic mixture of a Western-style hostel, a Japanese capsule hotel, and a Thai house.
The interiors imitate a traditional Thai village with steep gable roofed houses made of wood.
Even the capsules are made entirely from wood. It's a bit like sleeping in a big rustic box, so if you are looking for a unique stay in Bangkok, this is it.
The first Nine Hours capsule hotel opened its doors in 2009. Guests can spend one hour to several nights in uber-futuristic capsules. They say travelers need one hour for showering, one for changing clothes, and seven for sleeping, adding up to their signature nine hours concept.
Since 2009 Nine Hours has opened 13 more capsule hotels in five different cities; Tokyo, Osaka, Aichi, Fukuoka, and Miyagi.
Their success is no surprise to anyone who has seen the level of attention that went into designing the capsules and the communal spaces. Kitamura is responsible for the high-level comfort of the beddings inside the cocoon-shaped capsules.
Enter the realms of the futuristic Otemachi-Imperial Palace. Inspired by sci-fi movies, the vertical array of hundreds of state-of-the-art capsules will blow your mind. After an initial visual shock, you will have time to appreciate the absolute brilliance of the architecture.
The visually defining design incorporates a central staircase, where you can take a better look at what the future might look like. Each capsule faces a large window to minimize the sense of enclosedness.
A surprise package will wait for you in your locker. They provide a bath towel, face towel, loungewear, and a toothbrush.
All items are 9 Hours branded, including the body soap, shampoo, and hair conditioner that you will find in the shared bathrooms.
How about floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows with a view of Tokyo Tower? Hamamatsucho is one of the eight locations Nine Hours has in Tokyo, and it's a special one.
It's only 2 minutes on foot from Hamamatsu-Cho Station and Daimon Stations. Perfect if you plan to ride a super-fast Shinkansen train to your next destination.
All Nine Hours capsules are designed and produced in the same style.
A cozy working corner with a view of the Tokyo Tower? You got it!
The capsule hotel offers a 360-degree panoramic lounge on its top floor, with breathtaking city views.
In Nagoya, the capital of Japan’s Aichi Prefecture, 9 Hours has its own industrial-style tower with a rooftop terrace consisting of a lounge and open terrace exclusive to guests.
You will find a specialty coffee shop on the first floor, serving fresh beverages.
It feels more like a top-of-the-range boutique hotel than any of the original capsule hotels in the country.
First class cabin on a transatlantic flight on Emirates? Well, nearly. Yotelair is a hotel chain located at some of the biggest airports in the world. At their London base, they offer micro rooms to rest after a long flight while waiting for your next connection.
Despite the size of the pods, the layover rooms are versatile thanks to some clever features. The bed for example can be adjusted from an upright couch to a fully flat sleeping place.
The combination of pull-out desks and super-fast WiFi means you can catch up with work. And if you need to refresh, you can take a hot and steamy rainfall shower. The elevated bed is inside an alluring plushy capsule.
Capsule Inn Sapporo is one of the original capsule hotels that has not changed its appearance. From the reception to the design of the capsules, it's all giving a strong 80s vibe.
The hotel is in a great location right in the Susukino area, Japan's largest entertainment district north of Tokyo, packed with bars, restaurants, and clubs.
Instead of breakfast, they provide coupons that you can use in local eateries. Unfortunately, Capsule Inn Sapporo caters to male guests only.
Each capsule has a TV, radio, alarm clock, and air-conditioning.