Capsule Hotels – how to avoid Singapore’s Expensive Hotels

This week we look at a way of solving an increasingly common problem. How to visit Singapore and its environs without paying too much for a bed? If you have not been to Asia before, then you would probably not be aware that rooms are advertised as ++, those pluses being an additional 10% compulsory service charge and then a 7% GST is levied on the final bill in the case of Singapore. When a $100 advertised room becomes almost $118 on checkout, that can upset the travel budget, and for Singapore, $100 is a cheap room.

First of we had one of our members check in to the Singapore version of a concept more commonly found in Japan – the capsule hotel. First sighted in Osaka in 1979, the capsule (or Pod) hotels were originally designed for drunk businessmen wishing to rest rather than go home. While drunk businessman are not common in Singapore, the low cost and minimal facilities such a hotel offers can make sense for a Singapore visitor, as our member points out

Struggling to find a cheap place to stay in Singapore, I came across the WokeHome Capsule Hostel near Clarke Quay. As the name suggested, the “rooms” are quite literally capsules and there are shared bathrooms on each floor. I had almost booked a room for $80+/night in a 2-star hotel in the red light district, so when I came across this place with capsules for $25/night, I thought “how bad could it possibly be?” and booked a few nights there.

How bad could it possibly be, after all it sounds not too different to your common backpacker hostel, where there are shared facilities including showers, kitchen and a common room. For a start there was the bonus of a TV in your pod, as advertised, along with a comfortable mattress. It seems there was indeed both, a TV that didn’t work and a mattress that made cardboard look comfortable. And then there were the guests

Most people are generally quite considerate to the others around them but some dishonourable mentions go to the man above me who snored like a mountain bear, the Chinese man who kept yelling into his phone in his native language and the French couple who just wouldn’t shut up!

It seems $25 a night with free breakfast and free laundry may not be the bargain some are seeking. But if you only have a short stay, it could make sense for some.

Have you stayed at a capsule or pod hotel, perhaps even the original one in Osaka? How did your experience compare, or perhaps you have an alternative in a similar price bracket. Join the conversation HERE.


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