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Park Hyatt Tokyo
Shinjuku Kuyakushomae Capsule Hotel
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Staying at a capsule hotel is a far cry from the opulence of the Park Hyatt Tokyo, but I am equally as glad that I decided to spend some time at a capsule hotel, as I loved the experience.
The capsule hotel that I chose was in Shinjuku, not far from Golden Gai and Kabuki-cho. It had decent reviews online, and I was able to pre-reserve a capsule for about $30 a night.
For this capsule hotel, it seemed that most of the travelers were young Asian males. Many of them came in groups. The price for a capsule advertised on the sign was 4200 yen per night, which was more expensive than the price that I got online. Even if you’re staying multiple nights, you have to check in and check out each night as you don’t keep the same capsule and you’re not allowed in the capsule area between 10am and 4pm each day. You’re also not allowed to keep anything in their lockers at that time, but people left their suitcases as the reception desk.
Upon entering the capsule hotel on the third floor, I saw numerous lockers for shoes. You take off your shoes at the entrance, put your shoes in a locker, and then trade your shoe locker key for a wristband, which has a key to your locker and the number of your assigned capsule. The locker was large enough to fit a backpack, but not large enough to fit most carry-on suitcases.
This capsule hotel had a couple of floors, with one floor dedicated to women. There were bathrooms on each floor, but the main bathing area for men was shared on the third floor. The baths are definitely not for the modest as there’s very little privacy. To bathe, there are a number of stools to sit while you shower yourself with a hand shower, and then there are different hot baths you can sit in after you’ve showered. This reminded me a lot of going to a jjimjilbang in Korea.
The capsule was larger than I thought it was going to be. I’m about 5’9″, and there was plenty of room for me to sit and move around, and it never felt claustrophobic. I don’t know if I’d recommend a capsule hotel for people who are tall, but it was fine for me.
The capsule had a pillow, blanket, and TV. The mattress pad wasn’t great, but it was adequate. There were a couple of channels of Japanese TV, as well as a porn channel if you pressed the button labeled “BAND”. There isn’t a door to the capsule, as the way you close the capsule is to just pull down a shade, but it felt private enough to me.
On the fourth floor, there were some common facilities like a TV room, cafe, laundry, and vending machines. I didn’t spend much time in the common areas, but I imagine that’s where you can socialize with others since the expectation is that the capsule areas are to remain quiet.
I didn’t have any trouble sleeping in my capsule at night, but the one issue that I had was that people’s alarms would go off very early in the morning like at 4am, which did wake me up. Ear plugs are essential if you’re staying at a capsule hotel (ear plugs are essential to me when I travel anywhere).
Overall, I loved the experience. It felt like one of those only-in-Japan experiences, and it was interesting from the density of the capsules to the shared baths to the check-in. If you’re feeling a little bit adventurous, I would highly recommend a capsule hotel stay. I would definitely stay at a capsule hotel again.