Capsule hotels, which are used in Japan for about 30 years, are designed for travelers who want to get some sleep or to work in a private space without having to leave the airport and pay for a regular hotel room. The idea of the mini-hotels started to expand from Japan to Europe, and so they are now available in the German, Dutch and British airports.
In Munich airport there is a constant noise coming from the ringing cell phones and the thousands of people passing there every day. But a traveler who is looking for a quite time can use one of the eight Napcabs – capsule soundproof self-service units placed inside the airport.
The capsule hotel can be opened by using a credit card and gives access to a bed measuring 2 metres by 80 centimetres, a work-table and an air conditioning unit. One hour of access during the day costs 15 euros ($18.64), and the price drops during the night to 10 euros per hour.
“Guests can relax and recuperate here,” explains Joerg Pohl, the spokesman for Napcabs. About 5,500 travellers used the miniature hotels so far. “Only a few of our guests come from Germany,” says Pohl.
The Munich cubicles are 1.65 by 2.7 metres, a bit bigger than the original Japanese capsules, according to the international press.
However, the German International Hotel Association (IHA) thinks the concept will have a limited success in Europe. “The needs and sleeping requirements for European guests are simply not comparable with those of Asian guests,” says IHA spokesperson Benedikt Wolbeck.
There are similar capsule hotels in Moscow, Amsterdam, Atlanta and New York, while there are 100 mini-hotels in Tokyo alone.