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Saturday, November 06, 2004
(YO)tels of the future
And now for something completely random.
I wanted to spend a night in a capsule hotel while running around Tokyo but wiser heads prevailed and we wound up booking reservations at a more traditional inn. Despite the unbeatable price ($20 - $35 a night, US), there's no real sound buffer between the "rooms." Plus, they're the roughly the size of a coffin.
Still, with a little tweaking, the capsule concept could cease being a purely Japanese phenomenon. But will anyone else stay in them?
A British design firm is betting on something they're calling a "YOtel". YOtel capsules are much larger than their Japanese counterparts and contain tiny bathrooms along with Sony flat panel screens, Wi-Fi access and iPod hookups. All in all, they look like futuristic airplane lavatories modified into hotel rooms. You can see more of the design concepts here.
The YOtel site suggests a single night would run $130. Maybe this is a steal for a room in central London but that much cash should still buy something slightly larger than a dog crate.
EasyHotel, another British company tossing their hat into the ring, seems to have the right idea. Their capsules lack all the bells and whistles but they still offer private baths. A night in a 90-square foot cubicle in Kenesignton near Hyde Park runs a mere $9 a night. They're planning similiar hotels in Paris and Amsterdam. The Kenesignton location is scheduled to open its doors in mid-2005.