Pod hotels, capsule hotels, micro-hotels. Whatever you want to call them, they’re known for teensy, functional rooms and are popular in Asian countries with dense populations. But the trend is making its way across the world as pod hotels are popping up everywhere. If you’re into spending less money for a hotel room and don’t have claustrophobia, check out these little bits.
Amanda Ogle is a freelance writer who pens stories of travel, health and fitness, food, entertainment and environmentalism.
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The Pod Hotel, New York City
Influenced by mass transit's design approach and functionality, The Pod Hotel was the first micro-hotel to open in NYC, following the hit concept from Japan. Located in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, The Pod Hotel offers pods with bunk beds, full and queen-sized beds. There are private bathrooms in most pods, although some have a shared bathroom that works with a key. Don't miss the rooftop deck and a burger at the in-house Salvation Burger.
Photo courtesy of the Pod Hotel
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9h, Kyoto, Japan
This pod hotel is all business, and the business here is sleep. There is no décor or entertainment, as these pods are based off the original Japanese capsule hotels. 9h has separate facilities for men and women. Upon arrival, guests can store belongings in a locker, change into exclusive NineHours clothing, shower (bath towel, shampoo, conditioner and toothbrush provided) and head to the sleep pod to catch some Zs. The sleep pods—which honestly resemble body cabinets in a morgue—are stacked two-high and are equipped with a "sleep ambient control system" for great sleep. Pods are available for rent for one-hour naps or multiple days.
Photo courtesy of Nacasa & Partners
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The Dean Hotel, Dublin, Ireland
While The Dean Hotel has a penthouse and suites, it's their "Mod Pods" and "Punk Bunks" that are the real treat. Designed to make guests feel like they're at home, these little rock star rooms come with Irish artworks, Marshall amps, a turntable with lots of vinyl to choose from, Netflix, snacks and more. En suite bathrooms are included, and the Mod Pod rooms have a double bed while the Punk Bunks have bunk beds.
Photo courtesy of the Dean Hotel Dublin
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Rolling Huts, Winthrop, Washington
Located in Washington's Methow Valley where skiing, hiking, rock climbing and more abound, the Rolling Huts were designed as a modern alternative to camping. The six huts are grouped together as a herd, each with views of the mountains. The huts sleep two, and come with a small refrigerator, microwave, Wi-Fi, a fireplace and a portable toilet. Full bathrooms and showers can be found at the barn, a short distance away.
Photo by Chad Kirkpatrick
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Free Spirit Spheres, Vancouver Island, British Columbia
Surrounded by a coastal rainforest, these adult tree houses were built to be simple, functional and tasteful. There are only three spheres right now, but two more are underway. All spheres can sleep two or three guests, and include Wi-Fi, tea, coffee and snacks. A composting toilet outhouse is located at the base of each sphere, and about 164 feet away is a conventional bathhouse with a private toilet, sink and shower. Adjacent to the bathhouse and shared by all guests is a sauna, barbecue and galley kitchen.
Photo by Adam Clarke
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Snoozebox, UK and Europe
Snoozebox is a transportable hotel providing pod-like, stackable rooms at major events. Each room has an en suite bathroom with a shower, sink and toilet serviced daily with towel and toiletries. The great thing about Snoozebox is its portability. While Snoozebox is based in the UK and around Europe, they can be shipped by road, rail, air or sea, making them available worldwide. Air conditioning and Wi-Fi are also perks of these portable pods, so guests can feel comfy anywhere they go.
Photo by Elliot Withers
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Caravan: The Tiny House Hotel, Portland, Oregon
Centered on a communal gathering space, these six houses on wheels were all built by local builders and max out at 170 square feet. They're filled with creative, artistic design for good vibes and functional hooks and nooks for everything. Each comes with a toilet, shower, sitting area, kitchen with a refrigerator and microwave, and a sound machine for relaxing sleep. A barbecue, fire pit, Adirondack chairs and Ping-Pong table are also available.
Photo by Jeffrey Freeman
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Hicksville Trailer Palace, Joshua Tree, California
Originally created as an artist retreat, the Hicksville Trailer Palace oozes California vibes, especially since it runs on solar power. Each of the 10 tiny trailers on-site here has a different theme, including western, alien, 1970s and one that's been described as "a genie bottle." Most of the trailers sleep one to three guests with "The New World" being the exception—it sleeps six. Most trailers use a shared bathroom, and amenities include a pool, dog area, teepee with fire pit, Wi-Fi, archery, mini golf and more.
Photo by Krisse Gregory