Why would anyone sleep in a cargo container?
As budget travelers, we often find ourselves traveling off season, on off days, and at all hours of the night. Sometimes this means long airport layovers while connecting in international terminals. Sometimes it gives us the perfect opportunity to get a taste of a city IF we happen to be traveling during the day, IF there’s enough time between connections and IF the airport is reasonably close to the city. But most of all, it means we sleep in some pretty interesting places.
Like pay-by-the-hour airport container hotels.
A night at a capsule hotel
If paying for a hotel room by the hour sounds dicey, I can assure you it’s not. After years of sleeping in awkward positions in the dark corners of an airport, finding an inexpensive capsule container hotel to spend the night felt like a revelation.
Our flight to Kuala Lumpur airport arrived close to midnight and left for Thailand early the next afternoon. Venturing into the city was pointless at that hour, so we grabbed a bite to eat from the one store that was open, and checked into our container for the night.
Like a scene from a futuristic movie, we swiped our cards to gain access to the sleeping pod area and continued to walk past rows of glowing yellow shipping containers, stacked floor to ceiling. Some containers had feet hanging out of the end while other pods were left open to catch the breeze from the hallway. Our footsteps echoed on the concrete floors as we climbed a flight of stairs and walked down a narrow alley of containers to our pod.
Our home for the night.
Equipped with a double bed and a fold out desk, our tiny partitioned capsule had just barely enough room for us and our soft-sided carry on bags. Luckily for us, we traveled light. Everything just sort of fit together without feeling too cramped. Like a real-life game of Tetris. I know that this room would probably make most people feel claustrophobic, but to us, it felt cozy. Adventurous. Like we were stowing away on a space ship and heading off to a galaxy far away. Or like we were staying overnight at a Costco long after it had closed…
Which may or may not be a secret dream of mine.
Capsule by Container Hotel | COST: ~$35/Mix Plus (double bed) or ~$18/single per six hour time slot. Includes free wifi and a bottle of water per guest. | DESCRIPTION: Capsule container accommodations that include separate areas for men and women (similar to a hostel), or a mixed area. Rooms are booked in 6, 9, and 12 hour increments. All guests are given access cards to their section of the container hotel so that there is no roaming around where you don’t belong. The larger double rooms are located on the top floors and are accessible a private staircase. Smaller rooms are stacked one on top of the other and are reached by climbing a ladder. Ask for the upper rooms unless you don’t mind being climbed over in the middle of the night. Bathrooms and showers are shared and are located outside of the sleeping area. Lockers are available for rent if you have luggage that is too big to fit in your room. Shared common areas include a cafe lounge, a bar, and a reading room. Each pod has a semi-transparent sliding window screen for privacy. While it’s still sort of see-through, the hallways are kept rather dark. Some containers, however, are placed right beside a light, so it’s best to bring a sleeping mask. If I’m not mistaken, you don’t have to stay overnight to use the facilities. Weary travelers can pay to use services like showers and wifi, similar to an airport lounge. Reception available 24/7. Booking reservations can be made online. | VERDICT: A million times better than sleeping on that one airport chair that doesn’t have an armrest. I’m a light sleeper, so I didn’t exactly have the BEST rest of my entire life, but it was nice to be able to take a shower, lie down, and recharge in a private setting. Plus, you can’t beat the location. I wish every airport or bus station had a version of a capsule container hotel.
PS: I’m finally attempting to tackle one of an overwhelming number of backlogged travel posts because, well, I suppose I need to start somewhere. Fair warning: upcoming posts may contain a bajillion photos, erratically start and stop, and drag on for what seems like forever. To be continued…