Here’s something I never got to do while in Japan: stay in a capsule hotel. I am intrigued by the concept, but was dissuaded to try it when my friend Rotch said that it was geared towards short stays only — you need to check out and check in again if you’re staying multiple nights. So when I got an invite from Kabayan Hotel to try out their new capsule dorms, I jumped at the opportunity.
We were pleasantly surprised when we entered our room. The capsules is exactly the same ones you would see in Japan, though it’s one of the very basic models. There’s only a light, a blower, a mirror, two electrical plugs, and roll up blinds for privacy.
The big surprise though, is how comfortable it is being inside. The main concern when it comes to capsule beds is claustrophobia. I’m not claustrophobic, so I can’t really say that you won’t feel closed in, but it is roomy enough for you to sit up and even share the pod with a friend when you’re sitting.
The mattress is a standard single, made of foam that is just right: not too soft, not too firm either. There is enough room for your purse or daypack, if you’re paranoid about away from your things. However, there is a huge locker in the room, where you can hang your clothes, store your shoes, and stow your backpack or carry on luggage.
The dorm rooms are single sex, so if you’re uncomfortable about sharing space with the opposite sex, there’s nothing to worry about. Shoes are also not allowed past the entryway, but they provide rubber slippers that you can use and take with you when you leave. They also provide towels, and the room has its own toilet and bath, so you won’t have to go out to use the shared bathroom like the guests in the regular dorm rooms do.
There are two bathrooms in the 10-capsule dorm, which means less time waiting for other people to finish to be able to use the facilities. It’s not the most spacious toilet and bath, but we have experienced smaller, more cramped space. It’s well lit, the toilet has a bidet installed, and the shower has both rainfall and hand-held shower head. The water pressure is perfect, and while the water isn’t scalding hot, it’s warm enough to make you want to stay and linger under the spray.
I mentioned in a previous post that I am not a fan of dorm rooms. That still holds true. I like my own personal space, and if I can afford a private room, I would go for that. However, private rooms can be quite expensive outside Asia, so I would be forced to dorm if I’m traveling solo. A capsule pod is a good compromise if you’re on a budget, and left with no choice but to stay in a dorm. While the room and facilities inside are shared, you have your own little space inside your capsule. Thought the blinds do not completely block out the light and the sounds of your roommates, it’s enough to make you feel removed from everybody else.
The capsule dorms are on a trial run in Kabayan Hotel Pasay until May 31, 2013. The rate for now is Php 1,000 per person, and comes with a plated breakfast. The rate may change after the trial period.
[UPDATE May 13, 2013]
Additional notes about the capsule dorms:
- The Kabayan capsule dorms come in 4-, 6-, 8-, 10-capsule configuration.
- The capsules currently installed are all imported in Japan, but they plan on making their own in the future. I just hope they maintain the quality of the capsule, when they start constructing their own.
- The capsules have 2 level, with the lower capsule right on the floor. This means you’ll have to crouch to crawl into your pod, and if you’re in the upper bunk, you need to go up a couple of steps to go to your sleeping pod. Not advisable if you have back problems.
- The room has two air conditioning units, and if it’s turned off or very low, it can be hot inside your capsule. Turn the thermostat up and leave the blinds open to cool your pod.
- Yes, Php 1,000 is quite pricey for a dorm. However, remember that Kabayan Hotel is located right next to the MRT Taft station, and a short walk from the LRT EDSA station. It’s also very near the airport. Current dorm rates for the bunk bed dorms are Php 950.
- One of the downside to having the privacy of a capsule bed is that when the blinds are down, it’s hard to tell whether there’s someone inside or they just want to keep their space closed while they’re away. This leads to dorm mates talking louder than prudent, and playing One Direction songs on their laptops with the speakers on high, not knowing you’re trying to nap inside your pod.