The Evolution of Accommodation – Will Capsule Hotels Redefine the Luxury of Space?

The Evolution of Accommodation - Will Capsule Hotels Redefine the Luxury of Space?

The myth that a home or a hotel room has to be big and spacious to be classified as luxury is slowly fading in today’s modern society. People are quickly shifting from traditional standards to new definitions of luxury living.

Looking for a hotel room for your next vacation? There’s a lot that you may want to consider, from location to restaurants to the swimming pool and even the view. All this and more may factor into your ultimate decision and selection. However, while all that matters, one of the top considerations that most people in the past would consider as a requirement of luxury for a hotel room or a home is space.

Does size really matter

Affordability and convenience are the major parameters that a vast majority of people use today when looking for accommodation, whether it be a home or a hotel room. Although a bucket list item for many might feature a stay in the most expensive hotel rooms in the world, or a dream of purchasing a huge multi-million dollar mansion, the reality is that living large is out of most people’s reach. We are now undergoing a quantum shift in social priorities in developed countries around the world with a new generation of millennial consumers that it seems are motivated by experiences, more than space. 

What are capsule hotels

Referred to as pod hotels, they first cropped up in Japan as a new kind of hotel service. They work on the principle of balancing quality and quantity. With a large number of small rooms, these hotels were first designed to provide basic overnight accommodation. The capsules were not fancy but priced decently which made them perfect for travelers who valued affordably more than the luxury of space that conventional hotels offer. They were perfect for those running on a budget. 

Small accommodation

With some of the first examples of capsule hotels, each room was made of a material similar to fiberglass and measured roughly 2m by 1m by 1.25m. The capsules offered facilities like television and wireless Internet connection. Some of them also have electronic consoles. The capsules are placed beside each other, often with steps leading to rooms on the second level. You didn’t have to worry about lack of privacy because you could secure the open end of the capsule using a curtain or a door. Lockers allow guests to store their luggage. While most capsule hotels have varying capacities and provisions to accommodate both male and female guests, sometimes washroom facilities are communal to save space.

Origin and popularity

Japan was the first country to come up with this resourceful concept. The Capsule Inn Osaka was the first capsule hotel ever in the world. Created by Kisho Kurokawa, it was built in the Umeda district of Osaka, Japan in 1979. While Western countries have come up with their own revamped versions of capsule hotels, Japan sticks to the original bare minimum design. Within Asia, China joined the party in 2012 with its first capsule hotel that was located in Xi’an. 2014 saw the emergence of the first European capsule hotel in Belgium. After this, Iceland and the Philippines also adopted the idea of pod hotels. 2017 alone saw capsule hotels opening in Hong Kong, India and Mexico for the first time.

Redefining space

Affordability and location originally drove the popularity of capsule hotels demonstrating that people are willing to sacrifice the luxury of size for the lower cost of small spaces. However, a new breed of upscale capsule hotels blending high-tech function and style is establishing that there is a big future in small. Size isn’t everything. This is especially true for a generation of millennial first-time homebuyers and frequent travelers that focus on the experience of luxury, but not necessarily the trappings. They allocate their budget to what matters to them. The reality is that the evolution of capsule hotels stands as a testament to the changing needs of this new generation in which it seems to be about the experience of luxury, rather than the luxury of space.