Pea-sized hotel rooms

The Wall Street Journal’s weekend edition has an article on “soaring room rates” that seem to accompany the incredibly shrinking hotel room that often comes windowless! The article notes that “the latest development in the hotel industry has travelers bunking in tiny, sometimes windowless, quarters. In the Netherlands, the new Qbic hotel rents “cubis” the size of a walk-in closet. Opening soon is an Amsterdam hotel made entirely of small, prefabricated pods, built off-site”.

In New York the Pod Hotel in midtown Manhattan is said to offer “a standard room with a bunk bed, two flat-panel TVs and a shared bathroom starts at $89 a night”. (It is another matter that a quick online search for such a rate comes up blank with the cheapest on tap being $129 for what the hotel touts as catering to “that Overgrown Kid inYou! Two twin bunks, each with reading light and LCD TV. iPod docking station. Neatnik closet and safe. Cool shared bath with rain-head showers, sink, WC, streaming music). But as the Journal reporter notes despite “42-inch plasma TVs, heated bathroom mirrors that don’t fog and Philippe Starck-designed d├ęcor” in the hotel in “Zurich, we couldn’t escape the noise of our amorous neighbors through the thin walls, who kept us up for an hour as we tried to drown them out by watching sports on TV”!

At other locales, such as “at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport is the first in another chain of pods called CitizenM. Rob Wagemans, the architect behind it, is also designing luxury hotels like the W in Jordan. The hotel will have high-end touches like Vitra furniture, Frette linens and king-sized beds. Rooms will start at around $108. The rooms are self-contained capsules, measuring less than 100 square feet. They’re being made and set up entirely off-site at a factory in the countryside of the Netherlands — from the TV installed on the walls to the toilet paper on the roll in the bathroom. Once complete in a couple of weeks, they’ll be moved to the hotel site on a flatbed truck”. While that timeline is great for developers and operators looking to cash in on developing markets the endurance of these pea-sized hotels in an economic downturn when roomier lodgings become more affordable is questionable.

Published by

Vijay Dandapani

Co-founder and president of a New York based hotel company for 24 years. Grew the firm to five hotels in Manhattan and also developed a greenfield project at MacArthur airport, New York. Speaker at numerous prestigious forums including Economy Hotels World Asia, Lodging Conference, NYU, Columbia University Real Estate Roundtable, Baruch College's Zicklin School and ALIS. President and ceo of New York City Hotel Association since January 2017.