Opulence is outdated and overrated. Conspicuous consumption has been ousted as the bastion of sad, fat old men. The future is small, friends. Though it is fun to burn a night in a suite suited for the royal family, it’s far more economical and socially progressive to slip in somewhere built for one or two. Think of the times you sat alone in a room with a pair of beds. Don’t kid yourself. You’re paying for that other bed. You’re also paying for loads of space you don’t use, and paying for the time you aren’t in the room. All of that is waste coming out of your pocket.
To combat all this needless expense, the hospitality industry has begun catering to the needs of the economical traveler who needs nothing more than a bed built for one, a basic screen, WiFi, and a secure spot to stash their stuff. These tiny accommodations are popping up around the world, providing style and comfort, without the extreme excess. It’s an elegant solution to a world with too many people, and a cheap way to stay in the grandest cities in the world. Here’s 15 micro hotels where smaller is better.
NiteNite – Birmingham, UK
Right Sized: More than any other name, NiteNite is precisely what you want in a micro hotel room. It has a 32″ TV, wet-room, climate control, and basic double bed. It doesn’t try to add “value” with big windows or lots of tech. All the stuff you need can be had by asking the staff, or going to one of the communal areas. You can get varying sizes of rooms, or larger apartments if you so require, creating a better tiered structure for travelers who only want to pay for what they need.
Arlo Hotel SoHo – New York, US
Lilliputian Luxury: The goal of the Arlo was to be a four-star hotel that cut toward the minimalistic. Each of the 160 square-foot spaces is clearly designed with care, offering modern furniture and comfort that has been scaled down without being cheapened. In each bathroom are custom glazed tiles, the beds are enveloped in elm millwork linens, and the rooms are mostly adorned with huge windows – a rarity in the micro hotel industry.
Nine Hours – Japan (Multiple Locations)
Trendsetter: Micro hotels are only new to westerners who haven’t been living in the cramped confines common in Asian nations. Japanese businessmen have been using these since the 70’s. Though Nine Hours wasn’t among those retro pods, it’s clear that the chain has more experience than most other compact accommodations. Everything is laid out intuitively, and given a sci-fi sensibility that evokes feelings of sleeping in a space capsule more than a low-rent half room.
Yotel – Multiple Locations
Upscale Downsized: Trendiness and tech savvy are what is on display at the Yotel brand. The experience begins by meeting YOBOT, a mechanized bellhop that will help with your luggage. You’ll find fairly quick WiFi for a hotel, hi-res displays in every room, and air conditioning that is motion activated to keep you cool only when needed. It’s snazzy, but still costly for what you’re getting.
Pod 51 – New York, US
Space Case: Pod 51 aims to be so ultramodern – something we can’t possibly endorse – that you’ll feel caught somewhere between a dystopian cyberpunk film and a penthouse high rise. Some have shared bathrooms, while others have their own basic sanitation stations. Many have striking views of the Big Apple, which would otherwise be obscured, and huge communal spaces give you a chance to stretch your legs and meet other hip, slick, and cool jet-setters.
CitizenM – England (Multiple Locations), New York, US
Wired: CitizenM and Yotel are extremely similar in their clear love of gadgetry. At Cit-M, the rooms are equipped with a control tablet that runs the television, blinds, and lights, operating like a smartroom. You won’t have a lot of space to dance or entertain, as the rooms have extra long and king-sized options that suck up every square inch of the place. The problem here, as with Yotel and Pod 51 is that you’re still paying for all the nifty features, which doesn’t drop the cost as much as we’d like.
Tubo Hotel – Tepoztlan, Mexico
Pipe Dreams: Most micro hotels are attempting to solve the problem of high priced accommodations within dense city centers. The same cannot be said of the Tubo Hotel. Set out in a rural expanse of gorgeous Mexican countryside, Tubo is solving the problem of reducing large waste. The concrete rooms are pipe sections that have been outfitted with modern amenities, allowing you a “glamping” experience where tight quarters are part of the fun.
Tru – Multiple Locations
Old Hat: Tru is an offshoot of the Hilton brand, looking to capitalize on the micro hotel boom. It’s not quite as constrained as many, providing a full 225 square-feet of room with a little more bathroom and dancing space than you’ll get with the coffin-sized spaces available elsewhere. The aim – and it’s well done – is to cut out the useless bits without turning your stay into a claustrophobic hell. As a Hilton property, you’ll get “budget luxury” similar to a shrunken Hampton Inn & Suites.
The Dean Dublin – Ireland
Uptown Funk: Most micro hotels strive to be clinically efficient. The Dean is equally streamlined, but also manages a lot more personality than you’ll find elsewhere. The rooms have a distinct personality, loaded with offbeat stuff that you’ll find yourself wanting to pocket on your way out. This creates a greater experience as much as an inexpensive spot to hang your hat. Even if you can afford better, a night at The Dean won’t feel like a waste.
Koyasan Guest House Kokuu – Koyasan town, Japan
Spiritual Awakening: Located on the hillside near the Koyasan Buddhist Temple, the Koyasan Guest House is the only place to lay your head that isn’t the nearby temple. It isn’t meant to be streamlined so much as to give the many pilgrims and visitors a hostel experience with additional privacy. The tiny sleeping chambers close you in, but the feel is a social one, rather than claustrophobic. Slide open the door and you’ll be faced with other seekers on their journey.
EasyHotel – Multiple Locations
All In The Name: Founded back in 2004 by Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the mind behind easyJet, this budget chain was ahead of the trend for the western world. Quietly it’s become one of the most prolific micro hotel chains available. With outlets all over Europe and some in the UAE, EasyHotel has the compact pods, but also has more standard rooms at many locations.
Minute Suites – Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Atlanta and Philadelphia International Airport
Respite: At some airports, Minute Suites are taking the place of business centers or conference rooms that are largely going unused. These tiny spaces can be rented by the hour, or various increments of time for weary workers who need a quiet place to rest, take a conference call, or lay back on something better than terminal chairs.
Napcabs -Munich and Berlin, Germany
Crash Pad: Napcabs are rentable bed and work spaces located in Germany’s biggest airports. The intent here is to offer those waiting for hotel check-ins, or tired travelers a basic touchscreen for multimedia streaming, a 200cm bed, and a bit of privacy while they await their flight. Prices vary by time of day and length of use.
Snoozebox – Almost Anywhere
Mobile Motel: Using converted, recycled shipping containers, Snoozebox differs from Minute Suites and Napcabs in that the “rooms” aren’t set into an airport. Instead, they can be delivered to festivals, put as additional lodging on job sites, or ordered up for delivery basically anywhere. Found only in Europe and the UK for now, the potential for Snoozebox is endless. And, they’re well-made, capable of being outfitted with any number of accessories for different experiences.
Sister City – New York, US
Sneak Preview: At publication, Sister City – an idea from the “hipster hospitality” company Ace Hotels – isn’t yet open, but we took a quick peek at what it promises to be. 200 rooms that aim to be comfortable, and truly simple, Sister City doesn’t plan to put on airs. Rather, it gives you a compartmentalized space similar to a Japanese bento box where you get room to fill it with what you need. A roof, bed, and outlets are what is promised, as the plans show little sign of driving up costs with needless gimmicks or amenities.