A capsule hotel (カプセルホテル kapuseru hoteru), also known as a pod hotel, is a type of hotel developed in Japan that features a large number of extremely small "rooms" (capsules) intended to provide cheap, basic overnight accommodation for guests who do not require or who cannot afford the services offered by more conventional hotels.
The guest room is a modular plastic or fiberglass block roughly 2 by 1 by 1.25 m (6 ft 7 in by 3 ft 3 in by 4 ft 1 in). Facilities differ, but most include a television, an electronic console, and wireless internet connection. The capsules are stacked side-by-side, two units high, with steps providing access to the second level rooms, leading to comparisons to corpse drawers in a morgue. The open end of the capsule can be closed, for privacy, with a curtain or a fiberglass door. Luggage is stored in a locker and washrooms are communal. Guests are asked not to smoke or eat in the capsules. Some hotels also provide restaurants (or at least vending machines), pools, and other entertainment facilities. Capsule hotels vary in size, from fifty or so capsules to 700, and they are used primarily by men. Some capsule hotels offer separate sections for male and female guests. Clothes and shoes can sometimes be exchanged for a yukata and slippers on entry. A towel may also be provided.
The benefit of these hotels is convenience and low price, usually around ¥2000–4000 (USD 18–36) a night. They provide an alternative for those who (especially on weeknights) may be too drunk to return home safely, have missed the last train of the day to make a return trip home, or are too embarrassed to face their spouses. With continued recession in Japan, as of early 2010, more and more guests – roughly 30% at the Capsule Hotel Shinjuku 510 in Tokyo – were unemployed or underemployed who had become homeless during the crisis and were temporarily renting capsules by the month. This style of hotel has not gained wide popularity outside Japan, although Western variants known as "pod hotels" have been developed, with larger accommodations and often private baths.
In 2015, Iceland opened the first capsule hostel in Reykjavik.
The first capsule hotel in Mexico was opened August 2017 at Mexico City Airport Terminal 1; the hotel is called Izzzleep.
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