Would you tuck into a 2x1m fibreglass box for a night’s sleep? Capsule hotels—where rows of single-bed-sized rooms are stacked on top of one another, were born out of Osaka in the late 1970s, and are a part of a sort of bare necessities style of travel. Personally, I feel a spell of claustrophobia coming on—but they are commonplace in Japan and pretty popular too—there are even high-end luxury versions. Le Luck in the heart of Tokyo’s Shinjuku area is women only and focuses on beauty and health treatments, and Spa & Capsule Hotel Grandpark Inn Kitasenju has a whisky bar.
9h is another in the luxury capsule hotel category—the chain even got a nod from Wallpaper mag for ‘best hotel amenities’. The latest property in their collection across Japan is ℃ (Do-C, pronounced doe-shi, meaning degrees Celsius). It’s not an entirely new site, rather a renovation of an existing capsule hotel, led by Tokyo-based Schemata Architects.
Within the old hotel, everything was upgraded and reworked, except the pre-existing capsule rooms. In an effort to create consistency and carry on 9h luxury design approach, colours and materials were picked to complement the capsules—a dark screed floor, plywood cladding and cabinetry, FRP plastic, and unadorned, simple furnishings. This way, the old-fashioned beige somehow feels intentional, almost modern.
The biggest enhancement to the hotel was the addition of saunas on the first and seventh floor (hence the name, ℃). These were imported from Finland, and incorporate the concept of ‘löyly’ or steaming, and specially designed showers for cooling down.
Words by Sammy Preston.
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