- Title: CHINA/FILE: First capsule hotel set to open in Shanghai
- Date: 14th January 2011
- Summary: SHANGHAI, CHINA (FILE) (REUTERS) SHANGHAI SKYLINE TOURISTS ON THE BUND ENTRANCE TO SHERATON SHANGHAI HOTEL TOURISTS ENTERING HOTEL RECEPTION AREA OF HOTEL
- Embargoed: 29th January 2011 12:00
- Location: China
- Country: China
- Topics: Lifestyle,Travel / Tourism
- Reuters ID: LVA1U2H8JZPK00PJU3YZ48FLYPS6
- Story Text: China's first capsule hotel is set open in Shanghai, targeting budget-conscious travelers in the country's glitzy commercial capital.
The 300-square-metre Xitai (pron: see-tie) Capsule Hotel, is located close to one of the city's busy railway stations and consists of 68 beds housed in rows of capsule-sized rooms.
Room rates start from a basic tier of 28 yuan ($4.22 U.S. dollars) per person with an additional hourly charge of 4 yuan ($0.60 U.S. dollars).
As a package, the hotel offers a rack rate of 68 yuan ($10.24 U.S. dollars) for a stay of 10 hours and 88 yuan ($13.26 U.S. dollars) for 24 hours.
The rooms can comfortably fit most Chinese guests as the no-frills capsules measure 2.2 metres in length, with a height and width of 1.1 metres.
Thirty-two-year-old Shanghai resident Ta Zan (pron: tah-tsan), owner of the Xitai Capsule Hotel, said he was inspired to open his own capsule hotel as he had stayed and worked in one during his university days in Tokyo.
"While I was studying at a university in Japan, I had also worked at one of these capsule hotels in Tokyo. So I was quite interested in this concept and its operation. Therefore, I have some knowledge on this. So I thought if I wanted to start one, I would add in my own ideas," he said.
He added he felt there was a market today for capsule hotels in China for budget travelers.
"Also, I had studied economics. So if we look at it from an economic angle, this is a suitable development in the hotel industry as our society progresses," he said.
Capsule hotels were made famous by the Japanese when they were first started to house Japanese "salarymen" who worked too late or drank too hard to get home for the night.
Today, they represent a tier of low budget accommodation for travelers and renters alike.
Ta said his capsule hotel was the first to be built in China in accordance with international standards.
The capsule rooms are each equipped with electrical sockets, adjustable lights, clocks with alarm functions, television sets and internet services.
Guests can also use a shared toilet and shower facility, a guest recreation area and a smoking room.
The hotel is only open to male guests and will be targeting budget-conscious travelers in Shanghai.
"In terms of our location, we have checked out the other hotels and there are about 25 small and big hotels located around here. Our prices are relatively low compared to them. We are targeting single travelers who are looking to spend less, about one-third or two-thirds less than the prices of a regular hotel," Ta said.
He added he plans to separate the hotel into three zones according to the snoring habits of different guests, looking to group heavy snorers away from light sleepers.
Ta hopes his hotel will be officially opened in a few months' time as he looks to complete the paperwork and inspections needed for such accommodations with the local government.
Local media reported the authorities are still considering his application due to concerns of fire safety and personal security risks in the hotel premises.
Chinese travelers though, had a mixed reaction to this new concept of a capsule hotel.
"I think it is quite good because I have stayed in youth hostels before. It is quite similar to youth hostels just that in the hostel it is a few people sharing a big room but at the capsule hotel your space is more independent and that is better for privacy. So I might choose staying there since the price is quite affordable and the facilities are pretty adequate," said 28-year-old Qian Xuan (pron: chien-hsuan).
"According to my understanding, I don't think I will stay there. I feel their pricing is not too far off from those of some budget hotels. Also, if you book early at these budget hotels you can get good rates of between 160 to 170 yuan. If you pay 88 yuan, you still have to share living in these capsules," said 27-year-old Zhou Kejun (pron djou-ker-joon).
Room rates at regular hotels in Shanghai can range from between 100 yuan ($15 U.S. dollars) for a budget hotel to more than 1000 yuan ($150 U.S. dollars) at a five-star accommodation.
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