This Hi-Tech Pod Hotel in Kyoto Is Changing the Way We Work
“Work, nap, work, beer!” is how the slogan goes at this newly opened accommodation in central Kyoto that blends work, play, sleep and social activities into one beautifully designed overnight experience. Where budget hotels usually only cater to one or the other, at The Millennials, work and travel, function and luxury, privacy and community harmoniously co-exist in the same innovative space.
The unique concept makes sense: A multipurpose environment where you’re able to focus on projects (work), sleep in comfort at any time of the day (nap), collaborate with people (work) and experience Japan’s ancient capital city in exactly the way that you want. The free beer (yep, you read that right) during the evening happy hour is just there for inspiration.
Andwork: sharing workspace and inspiration
The hotel’s core is its eighth-floor working-living-dining hub where guests can take on projects in an ergonomic office, hold a conference call in the meeting room, help themselves to free coffee as well as send emails and chat with other creatives, entrepreneurs and business trippers. It’s a stunner to look at, with slate walls and vintage-style sofas basking in the glow of antique lamps and a copper kitchen counter — not quite your typical corporate headquarters.
Guests who aren’t staying overnight can also use the space (dubbed “andwork”), which makes for plenty of opportunities to network with local colleagues and find regional support. Opened for business on July 14 of this year, there was already a pretty international mix of people enjoying the space when we visited. Is this because there’s nothing else like it in the city or the stellar reviews they’ve been getting so far?
Think outside the box, sleep inside the box
Floors four to seven are reserved for the overnighters who get to enjoy the hotel’s standout feature: “smart pods” that can be controlled with an iPod (and also acts as your security access key). Capsule only by definition, the smart pods are high and wide — about twice the size of your average capsule hotel room — and as comfortable as a five-star hotel. Luggage can be stored underneath the bed and there’s plenty of electrical outlets to re-charge your tech. Single and mixed gender floors are available, with pods currently from ¥2,800 a night.
iPod smart pod
The semi-double beds straighten and recline via the “Bed” interface, a function that can also be used as an alarm to productive — and hilarious — effect (try continuing to snooze when you’re being forced into a sitting position). Lights are dimmable and you can switch the interior fan on and off. Some of the smart pods have a projector installed; simply connect your phone and use the pod door as a screen. Since the pods are pretty much soundproof, no one will judge you for catching up on GoT during your break.
Each pod includes an amenity kit with towels, a toothbrush, cotton pads, a hairbrush and ear plugs. Combine this with the free custom made loungewear and you’re all set for a snug night’s sleep (or daytime nap). Shared bathrooms come with rain showers and there’s even a bathtub option.
With the rise of the freelance economy overseas, and more and more industries embracing remote work for their employees, The Millennials couldn’t have come at a better time for travelers to Kyoto. While the name of the hotel says a lot about who they’re trying to target, it’s by no means exclusive to any single demographic. The point is that anybody can come, settle in and stay for as long as they like — a genuine home away from home. It’s an environment that’s designed to inspire you in your work as well as in your downtime. The Millennials is basically all of our travel, work and accommodation goals in one hi-tech hub.
Plus, did we mention there’s free beer?