The capsule hotel and a spirit of Japan
Hey there! This is Max Mikkilä, the youth correspondent of the Sooloiluja blog. I’m reporting on my stay at the Capsule Hostels Tallinn under light pressure from my mother, Henna. I also filmed a video during my stay, you can find that on YouTube. But, before we hit the sack we need to take a trip down to Osaka, Japan in the 1970’s
Mr. Kisho Kurokawa opened the first capsule hotel in the 70’s. Since then the concept has been adopted far and wide. For the first time in the Baltics the joy of sleeping in a capsule can now be experienced at Capsule Hostels Tallinn.
In Japan capsule hotels cater to the audience of workers who miss their last trains due to extended drinking or late work hours. Thus these establishments can often be found in nightlife districts such as Shinjuku in Tokyo.
Once I heard of the founding of Capsule Hostels Tallinn I was excited to get my chance to experience a Baltic adaptation of the capsule hotel. The Japanese capsule accomodations and their Estonian counterpart had a variety of great things in common!
A capsule hostel. How does it work?
Upon arrival I punch in the code in my booking referral to gain entry to the foyer. I am met by a computer asking for my booking number. The machine provides me with another enterance code and the number of my locker and capsule. Code dialing intensifies. And in we go! Good, the hard part is done. Now if I only knew where my locker is…
I don’t need to wander for long. I’ve discovered the locker. I punch in my code again and the door pops open. Inside is a key card and a pair of slippers. Excellent, slippers are taken seriously by the Japanese as well.
My first impression of the hostel is reminiscent of the 9-Hours chain in Japan. A sci-fi inspired locale that emanates the ultramodern vibe of Blade Runner and countless manga series.
Key card comes with you. Shoes and coats stay behind in the locker. On with the show to the capsule itself. I pass a shared kitchen area. Very modern and clean as well. The dormitory with several capsules is found on my left. Your key card will only grant access to your own dormitory. It’s convenient how the hassle of bringing your own locks and worrying about the safety of your luggage doesn’t belong to the hostel of the future. Sweet.
A whish and a flick of the key card and the dormitory door opens. All capsules are opened in the same way. Before my eyes is my bunk for the night shining in all its blue LED-lit glory.
On the wall we have the essentials. Power outlets, controls for AC and lights and a mirror. All of these very common in Japan as well. The whole unit reminds me of a sleep pod in any self-respecting space shuttle. As soon as I climb in the capsule is swift to remind me of its only downside: the creaks and squeaks that it makes as you climb in. If the hostel is fully booked, I’d advice to keep your trips to the dorm to a bare minimum. Pay attention to the sleeping comfort of everyone else in a shared room!
The showers and bathrooms were clean and modern . The individual shower units separated by walls and doors offer a major improvement to the shared showers of many other hostels. Next up: kitchen. It would be a fatal mistake to try out the kitchen of a Japanese style capsule hotel with anything else than noodles. I found everything else but a proper bowl. Therefore the coffee cups I showcased in the video as well. After the snack it’s time to dream of space cowboys and asteroid hopping in my capsule. Good night!
I think the capsule is a clear winner over the traditional hostel dormitory: extra privacy, space for your stuff and an affordable price. Also, Capsule Hostels Tallinn doesn’t require its quests to check out every day if they wish to stay for longer than a single night. This was customary in all the places I tried in Japan.
On the flipside someone struggling with claustrophobia or a height of plenty over 2 meters (6,5ft.) may not enjoy the enclosed sleep experience. As a fairly tall individual myself (6ft, give or take) I found the capsules very spacious. Someone with claustrophobia might improve their trip by keeping the capsule door open. I would encourage everyone to try and doze off in a capsule if you get the chance!
The check-out procedure for the following morning was easier than ever. Leave your card in a basket at the front desk. That’s it. And just like that I was ready to face the bustling streets of Toky… Oh. My bad. Tallinn of course. I forgot what city I was in several times during my stay at this wonderful Capsule Hostel.
Address: Pärnu maantee 106
Bookings: Very easily handled through their website
Pricing: At the time of my visit the opening offer price was 26 € / night. The listed price for spring 2020 appears to be 29€ / night.
A bit of advertisement to cap it all off: my parents’ apartment in Tallinn is up for rent on Airbnb. I stayed at this capsule hostel because the apartment was occupied at the time of my trip. If you want to take a look at the place you can find it here
Olipas hauska juttu. Itse kuulun niihin klaustrofobisiin eli en lähde kokeilemaan, mutta itse ajatus on mielenkiintoinen ja juttu sujuvasti ja hauskasti kirjoitettu. Thank you very much Max, The Youth Correspondent!
Kiitos! Lähetän nuorisokirjeenvaihtajalle terveiset. Minustakin tämä oli niin mainio, että pahaa pelkään äidin painostuksen jatkuvan: olisi kivaa, jos hän innostuisi kirjoittamaan useamminkin.