Small room, nice price


A Queen Pod at the Pod Hotel in New York.

Sometimes smaller is, indeed, better. Particularly if smaller means you'll be paying a whole lot less. That's the basis behind the so-called capsule or pod hotel, where rooms may be cramped, but they won't empty your wallet.

The trend of hotels selling small rooms is taking root in cities that otherwise feature hotels with staggering room rates (think Moscow, think New York).

Bloomberg today has a nice slideshow touting these infinitesimal living quarters. For instance, there is Moscow's first Japanese-style capsule hotel, the 60-room Sleepbox Hotel Tverskaya, which offers accommodations in the city center for as little as $85 per night. Why does that matter? Only because Moscow is considered the most expensive city in the word for room rates. The only caveat: rooms are less than 45 square feet. But consider this: According to an annual survey by U.K.-based Hogg Robinson Group, hotel rooms in Moscow last year cost on average $414 per night. You do the math.

But it doesn't mean that the hotels are amenity bare. According to the Bloomberg item, the Sleepbox in Moscow has "good sound isolation, powerful ventilation and small windows that can be blocked off by electric curtains." There are also "spotlessly clean showers and toilets,"—the only setback being they are communal.

Stateside Small
The phenomenon isn't only taking shape overseas. In New York, there are already pod hotels—with more coming online. Case in point: the aptly named Pod Hotel, with two locations on Manhattan's East Side. A random search in February showed a rate of $80 per night for a Single Pod Room With Shared Bathroom. Meanwhile, an upgrade to a Queen Pod Room (with private bathroom!) ran for a palatable $125 per night. In a city like New York, where rooms go for well north of $325 per night, that is a steal, in a great part of town.

Other hotels in Manhattan have followed suit, including the massive 600-room-plus Yotel in Times Square. There, "cabins" and "suites" have really plush amenities and technological advances, including flat-screen TVs and monsoon showers. A Premium Cabin has 170 square feet, with room sizes going up from there, as high as 1,100 square feet for a VIP Terrace Suite—because sometimes you want to stretch out. A Premium Cabin runs around $125 per night.

Catty corner from Yotel is The Out NYC, which bills itself as "the first straight-friendly hotel in New York." While the hotel has normal-sized rooms, it also offers what it calls Luxury Quad Bunk Rooms. Intended for groups, they feature bunk beds and one bathroom. They, too, are very stylish, and best of all, they start at only $79 per night.

More to Come?
The question is: Will we see more of these tyes of accommodations built in cities that historicaly have exorbitant room rates? Yes, is the short answer. Read this New York Times article and you'll understand why. Check out this quote from Gerard Greene, CEO of Yotel. "Our inspiration was the Japanese capsule hotels, British Airways first class, budget hotels and also five-star design hotels," Greene told The Times. "We tried to marry all four to get a luxury product at an affordable price, and the thing that gave was really the space. If we could take up less space, we'd pay less for the land, which means we could spend a little more on the fit-out of the room."

Developers are always looking for newfangled ways of getting projects done, and when you can buy and build on less space, it makes projects easier to get financed and built.

Smaller never seemed so big.



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