Pretty pods woo travelers; inexpensive ways to spend night in cities

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By Tanisha Saxena

New Delhi, September 15: Lately, the concept of chic and classy pod hotels, especially at railway stations, is gaining traction of commuters and in the light of this success a large sized pod hotel is now being planned at Kurla Lokmanya Tilak terminus, Mumbai.

Facilities, including locker room, deluxe toilets and bathrooms, are new additions. The booking can be done online via a mobile application or at the reception counter at the railway stations.

Although, it is in very early stages in the market of the global hospitality segment, pod hotels are believed to carry high potential. A report by WiseGuy Research Consultants states the global capsule hotel market will reach $226 million by 2022, from about $159 million in 2016. In fact, the capsule hotel market is poised to grow by $49.14 mn during 2022-26, accelerating at a CAGR of 9.86 per cent during the forecast period.

“It is a gen-next, futuristic, never experienced before kind of accommodation and shared-living space with modest prices. The capsule-theme and setting makes it a great space to network and nurture human bond,” said Pranav Veer Singh Saluja, founder of Snooze At My Space, a pod hotel in Delhi.

As of now, India has around 10 exclusive pod hotels. Last year, Indian railways launched its first pod hotel at Mumbai Central station and since then several other private companies are making plans for collaboration. Experts have observed that Indian travellers are gradually shifting to this new trend. It’s USP- affordability and one-of-a-kind experience that it has to offer to the travellers.

Saluja stated that they have witnessed several people in the 30-45 years age bracket opting for pods and in the last one year have hosted about 12,000 guests. “Moreover, we have exclusive ladies pods slot as more women are preferring it over the conventional hotels,” he added.

Interestingly, it is the millennial travellers who are embracing this concept rapidly because it is still fresh and relatively new concept in India. Experts noticed that apart from affordability, novelty is the main factor driving the popularity of capsule hotels.

In fact, countries like India have modified the Japanese version of pod hotels to slightly larger accommodations and also private baths.

This new version is getting popular amongst backpackers and individual travellers.

Anunay Sood, a travel blogger and digital creator, with one million followers on Instagram said, “With advanced technologies, travel has become more easier. The future is pods. They can be placed at various locations of high footfalls, places of pilgrimage, beaches, hills, monuments, hospitals for visitors, railway stations, airports, exhibition centres and many more places.”

Futuristic design language, wholly white interiors with neon lights, a pull-down plasma television screen, and USB outlet installed inside the ‘rooms’ and much more, pod hotels make you feel as though you’re inside a spaceship.

Each guest occupies a capsule, which is basically a bed-sized pod, with facilities similar to the conventional hotels. Ideally, arranged in rows, double-stacked—these pods are designed for the weary travellers or the backpackers who wish to stay in a pocket friendly comfort hotel.

And taking the trend to a different level we have Aventura Fernhill’s experimental ‘Hobbit-Holes’ with absolutely privacy and a queen-sized bed. They also offer activities like ATV rides, cycling, and a private bonfire.

The pods are situated among the lush greenery of Ooty and are at a height of 4500 sq. feet above sea level. The pods were set up exactly a year ago with a vision to bring in the concept of glamping and ecotourism with sustainable development without hampering the nature.

Speaking about the concept, Nitesh Jain explain, “We have specially designed the pod for the 1st time in India called as hobbit holes and mini a frame cabins called as teepees. People now a-days look for a new experience more in the outdoors than staying in a hotel room.”

Originally, the concept of pod or capsule hotels is of Japan. The 1970s-beginning with the Capsule Inn Osaka in 1979-offerring the travellers cheap lodging with a little more privacy than a hostel. Gradually, this global trend is moving towards India in an innovative way.

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