Article first published as New York Tourists–Meet Your Tiny Pod! on Technorati.
New York City is known for many things, including its bustling nightlife, Times Square, Empire State Building and so on. But hotels? No exactly. Unless you are wealthy or fortunate enough to stay at the Waldorf Astoria or the Plaza Hotel, you generally don’t hear much about Gotham’s hotels. Except how expensive they are, and how the small the rooms tend to be.
I remember my first stay in Manhattan in 1994, my friend and I stayed in a Marriott hotel (I think), and I almost choked when I saw the size of the room. There was barely enough room to set down the luggage and little if any room to negotiate around the bed. The lavatory? A mere closet of a room.
Well, with sky-high real estate costs, and finding ways to maximize profitability in the hospitality industry, comes an emerging trend in New York accommodations—pod hotels.
Pod hotels first appeared in Asia several decades ago. In space challenged Japan, pod hotels are ubiquitous. European airports started offering pod rooms to accommodate overnight travelers who needed a place to bunk before an early morning flight. Short on space, but long on convenience, pod hotels are nothing new in areas of the world more densely populated than the Americas.
Pod hotels in New York typically offer rooms which are approximately 100 square feet or less. They feature a sleeping area, and a small bathroom. Some pod hotels have shared bathrooms, while newer iterations in New York will likely feature rooms which all have private lavatories. The original modular hotel in Manhattan, the Pod Hotel on East 51st Street, opened in 2007, with rates of $89 per night.
Under $100 per night? Unheard of in New York, right? Well, hoteliers are now thinking outside the box, offering luxurious, if tiny accommodations at rates most travellers can swallow. In order to entice the cultured masses, the pod hotels tend to feature relatively spacious, inviting common spaces.
Pod 39, a new hotel opening this month on 39th Street in Manhattan, will feature a fabulous rooftop garden and top floor bar and lounge. Within the 4500 square feet of communal space will be a library, restaurant, and lounge. The stylish lobby is designed to entice guests to linger and mingle.
Currently, New York has two pod hotels open—the original Pod Hotel, and Yotel. Future plans include the opening of Pod 39, with two more hotels to open in 2013 and 2014. Other large American cities, including Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington will soon be seeing pod hotels of their own. Price conscious travellers who are willing to sacrifice a bit of space will have another choice when it comes to budget accommodations.