Capsule hostels are taking the travel world by storm, promising a good night’s sleep and oodles of privacy without sacrificing on fun.
Here’s our review of the new capsules at St Christopher’s Inn - the first of their kind in the UK!
We’ve stayed in a fair few hostels in our time.
In fact, various cheap and cheerful dorms and bunk beds became home for us during our year-long trip around the world. We met awesome new travel buddies from the bunk opposite, relaxed in laidback hostel lounges, and enjoyed many (perhaps too many!) beers in the lively bar downstairs.
We do have a soft spot for a good social hostel, but as we’ve gotten older and our travel style has changed (running a business on the road will do that!), we've found ourselves craving a little more peace, a bit more space, and a lot more privacy than we could normally find in a room full of random strangers.
But while we've been retiring our hostel flip flops over the last few years,a new wave of hostel accommodation has been taking the world by storm.
Inspired by the futuristic capsule dorms found everywhere in Japan, these capsules are like private bunks within a hostel room, and they promise a great night's sleep and oodles of privacy without taking away from the fun social vibe that we all know and love hostels for.
Naturally, they've had us pretty curious.
From the capsules themselves, to whether we got a good night’s sleep - here’s our review of our stay in London's first capsule hostel.
STAYING AT ST CHRISTOPHER'S VILLAGE:LONDON'S FIRST CAPSULE HOSTEL
ST CHRISTOPHER’S VILLAGE HOSTEL | THE HOSTEL
St Christopher's is one of Europe's best-known and best-loved hostels, with locations dotted throughout the continent (Barcelona, Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin to name a few!).
Modern, hipster, and super friendly, these are designed with fun-loving travellers in mind. The communal areas are bright and hipster, with cool little design elements (like a red telephone box in the reception area of the London hostel!).
St Christopher's hostels are also generally located right in the centre of the cities they live in, which makes them the perfect base for getting your exploring on.
Bringing people together is what St Christopher's is great at, and the (super friendly!) hostel staff organise plenty of pub crawls, London tours, and social events throughout the week to help you make new friends and explore the city in a fun way too.
ST CHRISTOPHER’S VILLAGE HOSTEL | THE VIBE
St Christopher’s Inn is known across Europe for being a ‘party’ hostel - though we didn’t find it particularly wild in the way you might expect from others across the region.
In fact, it’s just got a nice social buzz, particularly thanks to the downstairs bar, Belushi’s, that serves food and drinks until 1am.
The crowd here can be an eclectic one. London Bridge has a heap of student halls and universities nearby, and with a pretty decent American-style menu and cheap drinks, it’s pretty popular with the younger, student crowd.
But expect to also see lots of professionals ducking in for a quick bite after work, or sports fans glued to the many TV screens and cheering on their fave teams (this was especially true when we stayed, during the early stages of the World Cup!).
All guests of the hostel receive 25% off food and drink at the bar, which is obviously a huge bonus for those travelling on a budget - and we can vouch that the food is pretty good!
see more of the uk: our guide to the south downs national park
ST CHRISTOPHER’S VILLAGE HOSTEL | THE CAPSULES
Stacked on top of each other in rows, the grey and white capsules looked hilariously like the washing machines at our local laundromat at first glance. But it turns out that behind the black-out curtains, a super comfy, tech-laden sleeping experience awaits.
Each pod contains a bed, obviously, which felt SO much roomier than a normal dorm bunk, two charging ports with 2 extra USB slots (a dream for those, like us, trying to charge laptops, cameras, and dying phones all at once). There’s also mood lighting controlled via a colour dial which can be changed up to suit your preference, a ventilation box to keep the pods cool and fresh while you sleep, and free WiFi that works pretty fast in each pod.
The capsules basically feel like a small private room within the dorm, which means things like the awkward days of the hostel bunk bed-changing shuffle, having to make small talk with an overly-chatty bunk mate, or being woken up by someone stumbling in and turning all the lights on at 3am are all but over.
Basically, these pods are the dream hostel accommodation for the introverted-extroverts amongst us - like Mim - who enjoy being social and chatting with new people, but also crave the privacy and quiet of being able to hide away in your own space to recharge.
There are also huge lockers for storing your large bags (bring a padlock, or you can rent one from the reception), a bathroom with two toilets and sinks/three showers/mirror stands and a small communal area by the window where you can sit and read, or hang out with your new hostel mates!
couples travel inspo: how to travel together (without killing each other!)
ST CHRISTOPHER’S VILLAGE HOSTEL | HOW WE SLEPT
We have to admit, when we first discovered that the capsule dorm contained 26 beds we baulked a little.
Our limit for a good night's sleep in hostel dorm rooms has generally been capped at about the 10-12 range in the past, and we honestly couldn’t even imagine how many heavy snorers there’d be in a room full of 25 other people.
But entering the capsule dorm that afternoon, we were immediately struck by just how calm and quiet it was. With the ability to shut the world out as soon as you’re safely in your pod, it absolutely didn’t feel as though that many people were in the room. This quiet remained the case after night fall too, which was a relief!
That said, while our roommates might have kept the noise down, we do have to make mention of the fact that the dorm is located right above the bar - which does play thumping music till about 1am.
You can hear/feel this through the bed - particularly the lower level - so if you're a light sleeper it's worth taking this into consideration when booking, and requesting an upper bunk. The hostel does also provide free earplugs at the front desk if you need.
As for our own sleep, we were absolutely knackered after a week of travel prior, and we basically passed out cold for the night!
*If you're not keen on sleeping in the capsules, the hostel also has normal dorms and private double rooms upstairs too.
ST CHRISTOPHER’S VILLAGE HOSTEL | THE PRICES
Capsules start at £19 in low season and £34 in high season, and include your pod, free continental breaky (toast, cereal, cheese and sliced meats) downstairs at the Dugout.
BOOK | Check prices and availability for St Christopher's Village capsules on HotelsCombined here
ST CHRISTOPHER’S VILLAGE | THE LOCATION
Located right in the heart of London Bridge, the St Christopher's Village capsules really put you right in the midst of the London action.
Most of the main attractions (London Eye, Westminster Abbey, Tower Bridge) are just a short stroll away, while the epic Borough Market is just across the street.
The Jubilee and Northern lines both run through London Bridge tube station, which means you can get practically anywhere you want (including airports), with no fuss at all.
THINGS TO DO IN LONDON
With awesome accommodation in a great location already sorted, you can focus on what you're going to do when you finally arrive in London.
Check out the day tours below for inspiration!
TRAVEL INSURANCE | STAY SAFE IN LONDON
If you can't afford travel insurance, you really can't afford to travel. As the current global situation has taught many people, things can go wrong anywhere in the world - and insurance is often the only way of mitigating any issues with minimal expense or stress for you.
For all travellers | HeyMondo - COVID-19 coverage, comprehensive travel + medical insurance, an app with 24-hour medical support, and no out of pocket fees. *Get 5% off your policy by booking through our link here.
For digital nomads | SafetyWing - COVID-19 coverage, comprehensive travel & medical, and policies can be purchased while already abroad.
Car Insurance | Insurance4CarHire - a great annual car insurance policy
*In normal times, we recommend using World Nomads travel insurance, but unfortunately they're not currently covering COVID-19 related claims right now.
EXPLORE MORE OF EUROPE WITH THESE POSTS TOO
Truffle Hunting in Tuscany: Discovering Italy’s Most Popular Fungi
Eating The Best Pizza in the World at Pepe in Grani, Caiazzo, Italy
How To Visit Budapest's Stunning St. Stephen's Basilica
Visiting The Beautiful Dohány Synagogue: An Essential Guide
21 Things To Know Before You Visit Paros, Greece's Most Delightful Island
The Best Hotels in Stari Grad, Hvar: Stunning Stays For All Budgets
A Guide to Vrboska, A Hidden Gem on Hvar Island
Our capsule hostel stay was sponsored by St Christophers Village London Bridge, however as always, all opinions, thoughts, and ramblings are our own!
Europe, United Kingdom
The Common Wanderer
London, United Kingdom
Just like there are types of hotel rooms (Regular, deluxe, suite, etc.) the capsules are also classified as exclusive ladies pod, classic pod, private pod and a suite pod (accommodates a double bed).Does America have capsule hotels? ›
U Street Capsule Hostel
Capsule Hotel in Washington, D.C. Located in Washington, 1.9 km from Phillips Collection, U Street Capsule Hostel features air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi and express check-in and check-out.
Capsule hotel (Japanese: カプセルホテル, romanized: kapuseru hoteru), also known in the Western world as a pod hotel, is a type of hotel developed in Japan that features many small bed-sized rooms known as capsules.What country has capsule hotels? ›
Naturally, capsule hotels are most common in Japan, but recently, many countries have adopted this innovative type of accommodation. In fact, you can now find them on overnight buses, ferries, and even at airports. Traditionally, capsule hotels were aimed at businessmen.Can two people sleep in a capsule hotel? ›
Tokyo Kiba Hotel - A Capsule Hotel With Beds For Couples. Different from most capsule hotels because it offers double rooms and couples' accommodation. It also provides the unusual experience of buying fresh underwear from a vending machine… which is a novelty if you are a Westerner.Can you eat in a capsule hotel? ›
Sometimes yukata or other nightwear are also provided. Many capsule hotels offer lounges, restaurants or other entertainment areas where you can relax by yourself or spend time with friends. Eating and smoking are generally not allowed inside of the capsules.Do capsule hotels have toilets? ›
Perhaps this goes without saying, but there's no room for a toilet or bathroom inside a capsule! In a typical capsule hotel setup, you'll find toilets at the end of the hall, and a shared, Japanese-style bathing area in the building, perhaps on your floor, perhaps not.Can you sit up in a capsule hotel? ›
Inside, there's just enough room for a person to crawl inside, lie down, and (maybe) sit up (if you're tall, this might be impossible). Basic amenities include a light and an alarm clock, but some capsule hotels may also provide a TV, power outlet, and/or radio.Why are capsule hotel illegal in the US? ›
It's a legal and financial matter. “Capsules” don't fulfill the requirements of “rooms” set in 旅館業法 (Hotel Business Act). To make them “rooms,” each room has to be 9 m2 (when it's “hotel”) or 7 m2 (for “Ryokan”, traditional Japanese accommodation).What age is a sleep pod for? ›
SlumberPod Portable Sleep Pod Baby Blackout Canopy Crib Cover, Sleeping Space for Age 4 Months and Up with Monitor Pouch, Pack n Play Blackout Cover, Baby Travel Essential (Black/Grey)
Capsules, also known as pods, are a small contained space that can usually be made private with a roller blind, sliding door or curtain from the front. The tiny room feels safe, despite the fact they can't usually be locked from the inside or outside.Do pod hotels have showers? ›
Pod Hotel private bathrooms
If your Pod Hotel room offers a private bathroom, you get a shower (and tub in some rooms), sink, mirror, toilet, etc.
Most capsule hotels will provide guests with a bath towel, face towel, and nightwear. Basic sanitary goods like soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, and a hairdryer will also be provided to enable a comfortable stay.Do capsule hotels have windows? ›
They're unlike any other accommodation: Individual pods, sometimes dozens to a room, each a self-contained mini-hotel room, with a bed, lights, and sometimes even a TV. You can find capsule hotels all over Japan, and they range from plastic tubs in a sci-fi setting to comfy sleeping mini-rooms with a window and a view.Why can't capsule hotels lock? ›
No Locks on Capsule Doors
Due to Japan's hotel laws, individual hotel rooms can't have locks on their doors – and neither can a sleep capsule. Though you'll have a curtain, blind, or a small door, there isn't a way to lock your pod.
There are no laws that prohibit the stay of unmarried couples in the hotels. It is completely a personal choice and falls under freedom of movement and the same cannot be restricted. However, few hotels have their own policies and defined check-in criterias.Are capsule hotels coed? ›
Although traditionally male-only, nowadays both mixed gender and female-only capsule hotels are available. Some of the mixed gender hotels have co-ed capsule rooms, while others separate male and female guests by room or floor.Do hotels care if an extra person stays? ›
Most of the time the hotel staff doesn't care if you have an extra person, but for safety reasons, it is extremely important to know how many guests are staying in a room. For instance, let's say there is a fire in the hotel you're staying in.How do you shower in a capsule hotel? ›
Capsule Hotel Amenities
While Japanese hotels have showers, it is uncommon for Capsule hotels to have them. Instead, they have a communal bathing area or an Onsen bath on-site, but be sure to wash your body or shower before using them, as is the etiquette.
Hotels are not responsible for your belongings if you leave your stuff behind. Some hotels have safes in each room specifically because their policies stipulate that they are not responsible for valuables. As a guest, it's your duty to take responsibility for all of your items.
Since capsules are often side by side and stacked in rows on top of each other, it's quite possible for you to hear your neighbors. That's why capsule hotels encourage guests to keep quiet at all times when they're on the capsule floors.
Hidden Cameras in the United States
Hiding cameras in hotel rooms is illegal in the United States. “Hotels do not put any sort of surveillance in guestrooms,” says Andrews.
“Originally phones in hotel bathrooms were installed for the convenience of guests who might be expecting a call, but the safety aspect of having a hotel bathroom phone was also very apparent and this remains the case today.”What happens to toilet paper in hotels? ›
Hotels want to give their guests the confidence that the bathroom has been cleaned since the last guest has used the room. To accomplish this, the maid will fold over the last piece of toilet paper to assure that no one has used the toilet paper since the room was cleaned.What is the disadvantage of capsule hotel? ›
Con: A Locker Is Needed To Store Things
While it's a pro that each guest gets a locker to keep their things in, some might see it as a con simply because you do need to pick and choose what to bring with you to the capsule - which, of course, is limited in space.
If you are staying at a capsule hotel, you can however arrange a wake up shake as I now refer to them. You confirm the time of your wake up nudge with reception staff and the next morning you will feel someone at your feet with a torch in your eyes as silent as the night that you are enjoying.What happens if you find drugs in a hotel room? ›
The housekeeper can enter the room, and inform management of any drugs. Management can then contact the police, who will get a warrant, search the premises, obtain the guest's contact information from the hotel registry, and potentially arrest the guest.Why can't you lock capsules in Japan? ›
They will always provide a means to secure your things, like a coin locker or storage room where you can leave your belongings safe while exploring the city. If you wonder why pods cannot be locked, it is because capsule hotels are technically not considered actual hotels in Japan, thus not requiring a locking system.Can you snore in a capsule hotel? ›
Yes, it is possible to hear snoring in a capsule hotel.
While many Western travelers may think that Japan's capsule hotels are silent and peaceful sleeping quarters, the reality can sometimes be quite different.
A baby pod or nest features soft, wall-like structures that surround the base. The positioners claim to keep a baby in a specific position while sleeping and are often used for babies under 6 months old. Parents also use pods as a co-sleeper placed in between them in bed.
The concept of sleeping pods has been around for some time, but advancements in technology and design have made them more appealing and accessible. They offer a comfortable and private space for travelers to rest, with amenities such as charging points, Wi-Fi, and even entertainment options in some cases.How safe are sleep pods? ›
As a precaution against risk, the Lullaby Trust advises against using nests, pods, and hammocks for infant sleep because they are not flat and firm. However, a direct correlation between sleeping pods and SIDS has not been confirmed, and some people feel that more research and studies are needed.Do capsule hotels have doors? ›
Unlike in an ordinary hotel, it's normal to walk around inside the building in the robe that's provided. Inside a capsule. The sleeping capsules do not have solid doors, and may just come with curtains or blinds.Will a hotel decorate a room for you? ›
Guests can request room decoration, but it may come at an additional cost. Many hotels offer customization options for guests, such as adding flowers, balloons, or special bedding. However, guests should keep in mind that these services may not be available in all hotels, and they may have to pay extra for them.How much does it cost to stay at 9 hours capsule hotel? ›
A price for a night in the capsule started at 5,500 yen ($50), but the rate increases as the hotel fills up.How does showering work in a hostel? ›
Most hostels are cleaned every day to minimize the ick factor, but it's still a shared shower, and also, shower floors are wet (go figure). For maximum safety and minimal chance of slipping, we recommend you pack a pair of flip flops to wear in the shower.Can you shower at night in a hostel? ›
TAKE A SHOWER IN THE EVENING
Taking a shower in the evening is another unwritten rule if the dorm room has a private bathroom that contains a shower, toilet, or sink. While you might love to take a shower in the morning, it's crucial to understand that this time of the day is one of the busiest in the entire hostel.
Much like the mini soaps stocked in the bathroom, the travel-size shampoo and conditioner are also fine to take from your hotel room. Hotels sometimes brand these items too, Conteh says.Do you get charged for taking towels from hotel? ›
If you take something from your hotel room, you can expect an extra charge on your bill. Robes and towels are so commonly stolen that many hotels now list the charge right on the hanger; they will automatically bill the credit card they have on file for the extra cost of replacing these items.Do hotels track their towels? ›
Guests place used towels in the return cabinet, which scans the RFID tag in each towel and removes them from the guest's account. 5. If a guest walks out with towels, those towels remain on his or her account. Hotel and resort management know exactly who has taken them and can handle it in any way they deem fit.
Most hotels use peroxide-based laundry detergents to keep their sheets and towels bright. While these compounds are extremely successful at preventing white linens from greying or yellowing, they do necessitate some amount of knowledge. When used incorrectly, they might cause damage to your linens.What time is check in at the capsule hotel? ›
Arrivals and Departures - New arrivals can check into their rooms after 2pm each day. Guests may arrive earlier and leave their luggage at the hotel but access to rooms will not be granted until after 2pm. Departing guests must remove all their belongings from their room, and check out, before 10am.Are pod hotels sound proof? ›
These capsules are not soundproof, and we hear you snore like a wild beast from afar.Are capsule hotels illegal in US? ›
A capsule hotel which is not legal in the USA is like a hostel you can check out as many nights as you want and sleep in a small pod, get a bath, have breakfast lunch or dinner, shave, and brush your teeth. Something like this in the USA would make onebagging more affordable.What are 4 types of capsules? ›
The different types of capsules in pharmacy include hard gelatin capsule, soft gelatin capsule, enteric-coated capsule, HPMC capsule, and pullulan capsule.Are there different types of capsules? ›
There are two main types of capsules: hard shelled and soft gel.What are the 4 different types of hotels? ›
- Airport Hotels − They are located near airport. ...
- Boatels − They are on the houseboats such as Shikara in Kashmir.
- City Center − Located in the heart of the city near commercial area.
- Motel − They are small hotels usually located on highways. ...
- Suburb Hotels − They are located near urban area.
(1) The sporangium of ferns, mosses, algae and fungi. (2) A type of dehiscent fruit made up of two or more carpels (e.g. poppy). (microbiology) The mucopolysaccharide layer that lies outside the cell wall of bacteria.What are capsules also called? ›
Corpuscle (/ˈkɔːrpəsəl/) or corpuscule, meaning a "small body", is often used as a synonym for particle. It may also refer to: Corpuscularianism, the atomistic view that all physical objects are composed of corpuscles, which was dominant among 17th century European thinkers.What are the three forms of capsules? ›
- Hard Gelatin Capsules. Hard gelatin capsules come in two forms: dry-filled hard gelatin capsules and liquid-filled hard gelatin capsules. ...
- Hard HPMC Capsules and Other Vegetarian Capsules. ...
- Soft Gelatin Capsules.
What is the most popular size capsule? The most commonly used capsule is size 00. Below is a scale of size 0 and 00 capsules next to common coins to show their scale.What are the 8 sizes of capsules? ›
So majorly there are 8 different capsule sizes #000, #00, #0, #1, #2, #3, #4 & #5 sizes. These sizes are available in hard gelatin as well as vegetarian capsules.How big is a size 1 capsule? ›
The most luxurious accommodation in a hotel is often called the presidential suite or royal suite.What is a 5 star hotel? ›
Five-Star: A five-star property provides flawless guest services in a state-of-the-art facility. As a five-star property, such as premium dining options and personalized services to its guests. With no detail being overlooked, these hotels commonly even provides high-end, luxury toiletries for guests.What is a deluxe room? ›
Deluxe rooms are usually larger than their standard counterparts, may include a bathtub and a shower in the bathroom, and include more high-end amenities.What material is used for capsules? ›
Capsules are made up of gelatin (hard or soft) and nongelatin shells generally derived from hydrolysis of collagen (acid, alkaline, enzymatic, or thermal hydrolysis) from animal origin or cellulose based.What is a pill filler? ›
Listen to pronunciation. (FIH-ler) An inactive substance used to make a product bigger or easier to handle. For example, fillers are often used to make pills or capsules because the amount of active drug is too small to be handled conveniently.Which machine is used to fill liquid in capsule? ›
A Capsule filler is a type of machine used to fill empty capsules with pharmaceutical ingredients. Industrial capsule fillers are used in pharmaceutical manufacturing at large scale with high efficiency.