9h Capsule Hotel Experience

Back in 2011, capsule hotels were a strange concept to Western countries. They weren’t as widely known and I felt compelled to experience something so uniquely Japanese. Who would pay good money to rent out a coffin like tube where you slept in the presence of other people who would be stacked on top of you? Right?!

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It turns out that the 9h capsule hotel in Kyoto was the strange experience I was looking for. The process for checking in and utilizing the space felt very much like a hostel with the exception of being designed by someone who loved 2001: A Space Odyssey. Admittedly I was fond of how they supplied absolutely everything you’d need to have a satisfactory night of sleep. Immediately after checking in you can unlock your personal locker, which contains a set of pjs, shampoo, conditioner, tooth-brush, tooth paste, and towels. The washroom was very clean and I appreciated the standing showers. Something that was unique to 9h was how you set your “wake up” call. Each unit is equipped to illuminate at a set time, and due to the capsules translucent/reflective material it blasts a very warm light to wake you up.

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The only serious criticism that I had would be just how late people were wandering into the hotel. I remember waking up at 3 am as some other travellers or business women were making their way into their capsules. In hindsight I would have brought some ear plugs and that would have made my stay that much better. There does need to be warning that if you do suffer from claustrophobia this would not be the place for you, but over all the capsules themselves are pretty spacious for what they are.

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I never asked Joe about his experience or whether or not he had any problems but I’d say for $50 CAD a night it’s equivalent to any Japanese hostel but with better beds.

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Kyoto yet again proved to be one of my favourite cities to visit, and tagging off the capsule experience just made it even more satisfying.

*I’ve also always wondered if we made it onto Japanese TV.

-KB

Nabe is the best!

Some days are actual roller coasters. It all starts at the top of a sky scraper, then you plummet down to reality where time flows as it wishes and the clouds look so much further away. Your feet meet the ground and your bank account suddenly has limits and your ability to forget about the common problems comes rushing back like the Japanese humidity. It’s an inevitable reality for someone who was just out of school and traveling on a budget. However even today as someone who has been working for 6 years, I look back on the Park Hyatt experience as unique and burnt into my memory. The elevator rides, the sound of fine dinning, the smell of the pool, and most definitely the view. All these memories are complied into a single entity. A single feeling. A gift to myself.

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Final look out of Park Hyatt Building

Not everything in a “commoners” life is bland or insignificant though, it really just depends on how you manage your perspective and the company you keep.  The family that welcomed us to Tokyo the first time round had yet again offered to shelter us for 2 additional nights. I was beyond myself when they welcomed us back and how much they were willing to go out of their way to take care of us. I’d imagine it would be a hard sell to take in 3 relative strangers into ones home and offer them such hospitality. At the core of their structure I could tell kindness as a key element. It was evident by the way I could hear them speak to one another through the walls and how they interacted from afar. Yes people tend to put the best versions of themselves forward in the presence of visitors but sometimes you just know.

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Park Hyatt Tokyo – Upper Floor Lobby

I am so thankful to them.

-KB

Park Hyatt Hotel

We’ve now arrived to the day of luxury where Joe, Kaz and I finally make our way to the Park Hyatt Tokyo hotel. I think it’s important to point out that there’s a specific reason as to why we all decided to spend a night at one of the more prestigious and expensive hotels in Tokyo. It had a lot to do with the film Lost in Translation and a little to do with experiencing something extravagant. IMG_2914

Lost in Translation has been a film that’s been held close to my heart for quite a few years and honestly back in 2011  it was something I was obsessed with. The only person who appreciates that film more than I would be Joe, so it was certain we’d stay one night in the hotel they shot the majority of the film. IMG_2931

The hotel itself is grandiose in all aspects. It’s atop a large skyscraper in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo and has all the amenities that you can think of as a luxury hotel. Everything from the main lobby, to the open concept corridors, the array of restaurants, and the roof top pool that Bill Murray swam in.

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Our room was a corner unit on the 51st floor and was relatively big compared to most Japanese hotels. We had two double beds and they offered us a third pull in bed (we thought it was gonna be a cot but were very surprised.)

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Once we settled in we found ourselves just obsessed with the view from our room. Our plan was to spend as much time as possible in the hotel so we ventured out (briefly) to a local ‘konbini’ to grab some snacks then scurried back to our room.

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We took a ridiculous amount of photos and videos, ate our snacks, and just relaxed. It was such unique experience to take in. I was hanging out with two of my closest friends in a rather eloquent room that stands static a couple hundred meters above Tokyo. The atmosphere was perfect.

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As the day passed we found some ways to spend time in the room. Lots of reading, some anime watching, and mostly losing yourself in the fantastic view. The more I think about it we basically paid to have our own personal observation deck for 24 hours that had comfy chairs and a high-tech washroom.

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Once the sun started to set we made our way down to the “casual” dinning option at the hotel were we indulged in a rather pricy (by our standards) but delicious dinner. Again atmosphere was great, conversation enticing, and taking note of the other patrons around us. We were by far the most random 3 people in the restaurant as more and more business types rolled in with their co-workers and such. IMG_2980

After dinner we quickly changed into our Yukata and found our way to the pool. This was perhaps the most exciting part for me. I was a competitive swimmer for over 13 years and to be able to swim in a pool high above ground was really fun. After a decent swim we made our way to the Peak bar which was yet another location where Lost in Translation had some significant scenes. We ordered a few drinks, took some time to watch all the skyscrapers pulse with their rooftop lights, and listened to some live music.

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Eventually we all made it back to the room, took some more photos and finally went to bed. It was a day that still sticks with me and reminds me that if you have the opportunity and are privileged enough to spend a few bucks on yourself, do it.

 

-KB

  • Bonus photo for fans of Lost in Translation

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