Dressed in black and purple pajamas with keycards around their necks, two Japanese businessmen sip whiskey in a Tokyo hotel lobby bar. Next to them, a woman in business attire dress puffs away on a cigarette while chatting to two Western backpackers. It’s an unusual sight to many eyes but it’s not an untypical Tuesday evening in one of Tokyo’s most trendy inns – a swanky, upscale capsule hotel.
Traditionally, Japanese capsule hotels have had a shabby reputation. Often located in the popular bar areas, the coffin-sized sleep spaces are notoriously frequented by Japanese salarymen in a drunken stupor who missed their last train home. Most are men-only.
Now, a new kind of stylish capsule hotel is popping up across the country. With a blend of function and style, they attract both local business people and foreign hipsters in search of fashionable accommodation.
Aiming to give guests the feeling that they’re inside a first-class airplane cabin, First Cabin Tsukiji is one of several hotel chains redefining the capsule concept. This is the brand’s most spacious option – the First Class Capsule (main picture).
First Cabin represents minimalist compact living in luxurious form. Behind the door – a pull down shutter – is a bed, a 32-inch flat-screen TV and a safe. Slightly smaller than the First Class Capsule, the Business Capsule is also clean, comfortable and very cozy.
The reception area, which is integrated with the bar, looks like an airport business class lounge.
Traditionally, Japanese capsule hotels have a shabby reputation. But First Cabin’s facilities rival those of a swanky boutique hotel.
Hotel guests have access to shared facilities like showers and lavatories. There’s also a 24-hour public bathing area with Japanese-style hot tubs.
Every guest is given pajamas and basic amenities. Female travelers will find cosmetic products and hair straighteners in the powder room.