Long transits at international airports are a pain in the neck, even for the most seasoned travellers. For those who have a long overnight stop-over, the two options generally available are equally unappealing – either sleeping on the floor in a noisy transit lounge or forking out a small fortune for a room in a fancy airport hotel. Fortunately, the burgeoning popularity over recent years of the capsule hotel has solved this eternal travellers’ dilemma by providing a clean and private place to sleep and a warm shower to freshen up afterwards.
The world’s first capsule hotel was the Capsule Inn in Osaka, Japan, almost forty years ago, and over the ensuing years the concept has spread to all corners of the globe. These days most capsule hotels are situated in the pulsing heart of large cosmopolitan cities, providing beds for active budget-conscious travellers who want to spend their time out and about, exploring, rather than lounging around in their hotel room.
The capsule concept has also been spreading to large international airports, and Capsule by Container at the busy KLIA2 (Kuala Lumpur International Airport) is one of the most well-known. The hotel consists of several levels of sleeping pods, arranged in an industrial-chic kind of way, along a maze of interconnected corridors. Men’s and women’s sleeping quarters are in separate wings, although there is also a third wing where couples can stay.
Each capsule contains a large, clean and comfortable bed, with nice soft pillows and a doona – but not much else. There’s also a power plug if you need to recharge any mobile electronic devices. Unfortunately, there’s very little floor space in the capsules – just enough to leave your cabin baggage and shoes while you sleep. Larger bags are kept in secure lockers downstairs. Since most people are only there to sleep, the lack of space isn’t a big problem. However, it can be rather awkward if you want to change into more comfortable clothes to sleep in. I basically had to squat on my bed to change, in order to do so in privacy. Another gripe was that each capsule is separated from the outside corridor by only a screen, which can’t be locked. Therefore, if you want to go upstairs to the shopping mall or to eat - or even just visit the bathroom - you really need to take your valuables with you, or leave them in your locker, on the hotel’s bottom level.
Needless to say, if you stay at the Capsule by Container Hotel, you won’t have an en suite bathroom. The men’s and women’s toilet and shower facilities are situated separately, on the bottom floor. I found the women’s bathroom facilities clean, well-maintained and more than adequate for my short stopover.
In a nutshell, my experience at the Capsule by Container was very good, and I found it to be great value – taking into account its extremely convenient location, adjacent to both the airport and all the wonderful stores and eateries upstairs in the huge shopping plaza. Some people may find the hotel’s location on the lower ground floor level of the airport complex and its minimalistic industrial-chic decor rather austere and claustrophobic. However, Capsule by Container hasn’t been designed as long-term accommodation and makes no pretence of being a regular airport hotel, let alone a flashy, five-star resort. As mentioned earlier, it simply provides tired, jet-lagged travellers with a comfy, clean and affordable sanctuary to crash out for a few hours between flights. If you opt for this kind of accommodation, it’s a good idea not to have unrealistic expectations. It’s comfortable, spotlessly clean and rather groovy, but definitely not flashy.
Capsule by Container Hotel is located on the bottom level of KLIA2 – Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2. As of May 2017, capsules cost approximately 60 Malaysian ringgit for six hours’ use, 100 Malaysian ringgit for nine hours or 120 ringgit for 12 hours. To find out more and to make a booking, visit the Capsule by Container website . You can also book a capsule on many other booking websites such as Agoda and Expedia.