Hotels to drive a claustrophobe mad – Capsule Hotels and more…

In a well-known Seinfeld episode, Kramer tucks away a group of Japanese tourists in his newly acquired Karl Farbman chest of drawers. Though Jerry believes that “this has international incident written all over it,” Kramer thinks the drawers are equivalent to the accommodations provided by Japan’s capsule hotels.
Capsule Inn, Osaka Japan
The first of these micro-hotels, the Capsule Inn Osaka, opened in 1979. There are several in Japan today, and some are opening in China. In their marketing materials, the owners state that sleeping in one of their pods is an “adventure.” After seeing Invasion of the Body Snatchers for the eleventh time last week, I’m not too sure I’m ready for any “adventures” that are related to emerging from “pods.” However, I think many of us would enjoy a stay in one of these smaller-sized hotels.
Utter Inn, Sweden
This one-room floating hotel is an utter delight. Okay, I’ll wait until the groans die down. It bobs 1,000 yards offshore in Lake Mälaren, near the city of Västerås. (If your computer correctly rendered all those diacritical marks, I’m impressed.) However, the draw here isn’t that it floats on a lake. The inn’s claim to fame is that the sleeping room is a small chamber with two twin beds that is submerged 20 feet underwater. The Utter Inn, a creation of artist Mikael Denberg, will run you up to $500 per night. Utter, by the way, is Swedish for otter.
Pipe Dreams
We’ve all passed large sections of concrete culvert pipe sitting alongside a highway, waiting to be used for a major construction project. The Dasparkhotel in Bottrop-Ebel, Germany turns those infrastructure eyesores into hotel rooms. Simply put, a mattress spans the pipe with a night stand alongside. Hotel guests don’t have to worry about getting up on the wrong side of the bed here because getting up is only physically possible on one side, the side closest to the door.

Dasparkhotel in Germany

USA! USA!
In the USA we like our small hotels to be a lot bigger, so the Jane Hotel in New York City strains the scale and stretches the measuring stick more than any other lodging location that we’ve described. However, it’s a very cool concept – all the rooms are designed to look like cabins on a yacht. This includes some gorgeous wood work and detailing. The beauty of the Jane Hotel is that you can get all the claustrophobia of yachting without the seasickness!

Yotel at Heathrow in London

Not Buckingham Palace
If you would like the coziness of a Tokyo capsule hotel without the convenience of good restaurants nearby, you could book a night or two at the Yotel, located near Heathrow Airport in London. Frankly, I shouldn’t say “near” Heathrow; the Yotel is actually inside Terminal 4. The “hotel” can be booked by the hour – ahem – a practice popular at a great number of hotels, motels and inns around the world. Your stay here will include Wi-Fi and the ability to order 24/7 from the to-go menu at “The Galley.” Over the years phrases like “small is beautiful,” “size doesn’t matter” and “less is more” have been popularized. Perhaps these hotels bear out the truth of these adages. What do you think?

Featured images:

Paul Moore works with Hyatt House in Minot, ND, a hotel in the bustling north-western prairie, that offers nice rooms for short or extended stays.

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15 Responses to Hotels to drive a claustrophobe mad – Capsule Hotels and more…

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