What it’s Like to Stay at a Capsule Hotel in Singapore

Is a stay in one of capsule hotel singapore on your bucket list? Is this uniquely experience for you? Keep reading and find out!

Ever since I first heard of capsule hotel singapore years ago I was instantly filled with intrigue and curiosity; sleeping in one of those tiny capsule pods went straight onto my ever-expanding bucket list. During my trip to singapore I spent 6 nights in 3 different capsule hotels.

So, what is a capsule hotel? Singapore, being a small country is short of space. The Singapore have invented an ingenious way to sleep lots of people in small spaces. The first capsule hotel in operation began back in 1979 in Osaka with the purpose to provide cheap and basic accommodation. The original market was mainly for drunken salarymen or locals that missed a train/bus ride home late at night. Over time these hotels transformed into stylish, modern and surprisingly comfortable places to stay. All while remaining some of the most affordable beds in Singapore; now appealing to both locals and international travelers alike.

The Capsule Experience

Before you book your own stay in a capsule, you should know what to expect from these unique hotels. You’re probably wondering – are the capsule pods as tiny and cramped as they look? No, they’re not! I’m a fairly average sized male at 5’11” and 185 lbs., and I was blown away by how roomy my capsules were. I could lay down flat with plenty of room to spare, and I could sit up without bumping my head or having to hunch over. I sat comfortably and watched TV shows on my laptop. The beds were soft and I got a good night’s sleep in all the capsules I stayed in. Each capsule came with a roll down partition or curtain for privacy, but they don’t block out noisy snorers completely. Each capsule came with its own lighting controls and fans. Some came with flat-screen TVs and headphones built in. The capsules are stacked two-high, so you will have to choose between the bottom, or a short ladder climb to the top level.

Although they can vary from place to place, most have a uniform set of rules and guidelines you’ll be expected to follow and it’s quite a bit different than any hotel experience you’ve ever had before. In some ways, they’re a lot like hostels – shared rooms, shared bathrooms and lockers to keep your belongings in. But unlike the stereotypical young, laid back, party vibe of a hostel, capsule hotels have older ages, strict rules and quiet spaces.

For Men Only?

The majority of capsule hotels are restricted to men only. That’s right, only men! However, newer and nicer capsule hotels have recently opened up that cater to both sexes, where entire floors of capsules are divided into men or women only, always separated. There are also a few popping up around the country that are for female guests only. So, if you’re a female, or a couple who wants to stay at the same place, make sure to pay attention when booking. I have provided a small list of hotels further down the post to help you find one that allows your gender.

Pajama Party!

Pajamas The norm at a capsule hotel is that when you check in you get handed a set of pajamas and slippers to wear. The first floor of the capsule will be filled with large lockers for your luggage and for changing clothes. Everyone on the upper floors where the food, workstations and capsules are – will be wearing identical pajamas and slippers. At first, I found the idea completely bizarre and baffling but quickly got used to it.

There is generally a shoe locker right at the entrance or next to the front desk. When you enter you’ll immediately take your shoes off and grab your slippers out of your numbered cubby hole; and then store your shoes in your luggage locker. Any time you leave the hotel, you might be expected to give your key to the front desk clerk and retrieve it again when you return.

 

Your Tattoo is Taboo

While most of the world has come around to acceptance towards tattoos, they’re a no-no in the shared bathrooms of capsule hotels. For many years inked skin has been partially taboo in Singapore, due to connotations with Singapore organized crime. If you have tattoos you will need to keep them covered up or not use the shower/bath. My only tattoo is on the top of my back, so I showered with a small hand towel covering it.

Shared Bathrooms

At all the capsules I stayed in the bathroom facilities were super clean and nice. However, showering and bathing privacy is non-existent. All the showers are in one large room, and there’s a giant tub, filled with naked people. If you’re too embarrassed to shower and bathe in a room with members of the same sex, a capsule might not be in your future.

Entertainment & Food

The capsule hotels I stayed in had loads of vending machines, and one even had a free refreshment station filled with an enormous variety of sodas, coffees, teas, and all sorts of odd Singapore drinks. Some provided a limited breakfast bar. Some also had a room with shared tables or desks for laptop use and working. Some had reclining chairs and massage chairs, TVs, and small libraries of manga comics and newspapers to read. Some also had isolated smoking rooms or outdoor balconies.