A capsule hotel (カプセルホテル kapuseru hoteru ) is a type of hotel developed in Japan that features a large number of extremely small "rooms" (capsules) intended to provide cheap and basic overnight accommodation for guests not requiring the services offered by more conventional hotels.
The guest space is reduced in size to a modular plastic or fiberglass block roughly 2 by 1 by 1.25 m (6 ft 7 in by 3 ft 3 in by 4 ft 1 in), providing room to sleep. Facilities range in entertainment offerings (most include a television, an electronic console, and wireless internet connection). These capsules are stacked side by side and two units top to bottom, with steps providing access to the second level rooms. Luggage is stored in a locker. Privacy is ensured by a curtain or a fibreglass door at the open end of the capsule. Washrooms are communal and some hotels include restaurants (or at least vending machines), pools, and other entertainment facilities. Guests are asked not to smoke or eat in the capsules.
Capsule hotels vary widely in size, some having only fifty or so capsules and others over 700. Many are used primarily by men. There are also capsule hotels with separate male and female sleeping quarters. Clothes and shoes are sometimes exchanged for a yukata and slippers on entry. A towel may also be provided. The benefit of these hotels is convenience and price, usually around ¥2000-4000 a night.
Certain visitors (especially on weekdays) may be too drunk to safely return home, or too embarrassed to face their spouses. With continued recession in Japan, as of early 2010 more and more guests - roughly 30% at the Capsule Hotel Shinjuku 510 in Tokyo - were either unemployed or underemployed and were renting capsules by the month.
This style of hotel accommodation was developed in Japan and has not gained popularity outside of the country, although Western variants known as "pod hotels" with larger accommodations and often private baths are being developed.
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