How pod hotels are changing the travel game

Pod, or capsule, hotels aren’t a new concept. However, if this is news to you, you may be asking yourself “what is a pod hotel?” Pod hotels differ in size and style, but all serve the same purpose. They provide guests a compact sleeping space to recharge in, after a long day of work or travelling. Originating in Asia, pod hotels have slowly made their way into various markets, such as Europe, South America, Australia, the United States, and now Canada as well.

Pod Hotels: a history

Capsule hotels were first launched in the late 1970’s, in the city of Osaka, Japan. They were initially geared towards business men, who would work during the day and then head out to the bars in the evening. The capsules gained popularity among business men because the cost of staying in a capsule hotel was less expensive than the cost of journeying back home.

Ultimately, the capsules provided them with exactly what they needed: an area to rest, at an affordable price.

Capsule hotels were first launched in the late 1970’s, in the city of Osaka, Japan.

Old vs. New

Capsule hotels can still be found in various parts of Asia; the capsules look like long tubes and are reminiscent of hibernation chambers often featured in science fiction films. The capsules come equipped with basic necessities, such as slippers, pajamas, outlets, Wi-Fi, and adjustable lighting controls. Some of these capsule hotels even separate their guests – each gender will often be assigned their own distinct floor or suite.

Newer pod hotels now come in all shapes and sizes and are equipped with varying amenities. While they are still compact, some are now designed to be a little larger and can hold a double mattress as opposed to the traditional single mattress found. Some newer pods also have windows, artwork, televisions, radios, shelves for storage, and mirrors on the walls.

Canada’s Very Own Pod Hotel

In 2018, Canada will officially be home to its first ever pod hotel. The Pangea Pod Hotel will be located in the heart of Whistler Village, B.C.

The $10 million pod hotel is currently being constructed and will be open to the public in April 2018. The hotel will consist of 88 boutique pods divided into various suites.


An example of what the suites are expected to look like. Source:
Each pod will feature amenities that any regular hotel would have: a memory foam double mattress, adjustable LED lights, a fan for ventilation and white noise, hooks to hang clothing, a mirror, multiple charging points, and even artwork on the walls.

Each suite will then have their own bathroom cubicles. Yes…cubicles. Bathroom amenities will be separated into distinct cubicles: showers, toilets and sinks, and changing rooms. This division aims to prevent long bathroom lineups which often occur in hostels.


The hotel will also have shared common spaces for guests to use when they feel like hanging out and relaxing outside of their pod. The living room will have both a café and bar, as well as board games for its guests to use. There will also be a patio space, which will be a miniature version of the living room space, and will be located on the hotel’s rooftop, offering guests a view of the Village.

The Pangea Pod Hotel is a combination of both hotel and hostel; it has the luxury of a hotel and the affordability and communal living concept of a hostel.

“It’s for those people who are done with those hostel years, sleeping in a dorm, but can’t quite afford a really expensive hotel room” said co-founder Russell Kling. Kling and his wife, Jelena, founded the Pangea Pod Hotel together after years of travelling.

The cost to stay in a pod is expected to be less than $100 a night, though the price will vary depending on the season as well as other factors. This indeed makes it a smart choice for travellers looking to save on lodging.

Pod Hotels and Business Travel

So, are pod hotels a good option for business travellers?

“It’s an interesting idea,” said Cinzia Ruberto, Encore Travel’s Vendor Relations Manager. “It’s something that would definitely need to be tested by each company in order to make sure that it fits into their culture, and that it also provides their travellers with a safe and comfortable space.”

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