Chic, ergonomic, futuristic capsules stacked one on top of the other, together with a fragrant scent of lemongrass spread through the corridor were just some of the things I experienced during my stay at the Urban Pod Hotel.
In my mind, I envisioned spaceship bunkers, like we see in NASA videos or the many outer space fantasy Hollywood movies that have hit the silver screen over the years and have made the crowds go wow. The Urban Pod surprised me with both the suspense of science fiction thrillers but also a comfortable and affordable stay. No this is not a 5 star!!! Let’s get that out of your head already.
So what is the Urban Pod?
Before I answer that question I have to define what a capsule hotel is. Pods or capsules originated in Japan, Singapore and a few western and south-east Asian countries providing low-cost stay options to the urban traveling crowd. India, as we know, is now catching up with this new form of urban hospitality phenomena and that’s where the Urban Pod comes into play.
India’s first boutique pod hotel
The Urban Pod is India’s first pod hotel and where better to start with than the city of dreams, the commercial capital of India. Where people throng and so many dreams are made, Mumbai. I was on a short week-long trip to this city and while I usually prefer to stay at hostels and dorm rooms, which is what fits in my empty little pocket most times, I thought why not try something new.
This next generation smart pod hotel is located in the bustling suburb of Andheri which is the nerve center of the ever-growing city where finding a room/pod for budget travelers is close to none. Over the past few years, the concept of hostels have also fast caught up with the traveling crowd and the Urban Pod gives competition to that mix. Good for both, budget backpacking travelers and also the all things business traveler who demands privacy and a space of their own while paying low.
This concept boutique hotel offers three types of pod options for the urban traveler:
- Classic Pod
- Private Pod
and apart from the above three, they also have exclusive “Ladies Only Pods” for the female travelers.
So what’s in a pod?
Me being me, I checked in to the cheapest and low-cost option in their list which was the Classic pod. Once the usual hotel check-in formalities were over, I was ushered into the secure rooms where the capsules were located.
First to go off were my shoes, into a secure keycard accessible personal locker specifically assigned to each pod. No more stinky shoes! And from here on your keycard gives you access to everything. I walked the long well-lit corridor accompanied by a staff into the room where my pod was located. The ambiance was an instant hit. I felt relaxed already. Before I entered the room, I was given one more locker to keep my personal belongings and off it went.
And then I entered the last door, there were multiple pods stacked up like bunk beds in a dorm room. For a person who has stayed in hostel rooms, all of this looks the same. But this time your small little bed space is secure with a keycard entry and a sliding door. Something I always wished for in a hostel bed. Swipe the card and slide the door into your own personal 4 by 7 space of comfort and privacy.
The pod itself is quite spacious for the average person unless you are a giant and it is not crammed up inside as our minds make us believe. You have nice a fluffy bed, pillows and a warm duvet. A flat screen with satellite TV for your entertainment clubbed with a personal headphone. You don’t want your neighbors overhearing your
favorite boring soap series.
Now that’s the regular stuff. Let’s get to the nitty-gritty of what the Urban Pod offers.
The side wall of the pod has controls for mood lighting, USB ports to power up your devices, a separate power socket, an alarm clock, vanity mirror, overhead reading lamps and, yup, wait for it, you own personal safe. So no worries if you just stole a bank! I did forget to mention that they offer fresh white towels on request and also a free bottle of mineral water when you check-in. And what more, the white color everywhere brings in so much of a minimalistic feel.
Inside the pod, it’s a world within a world (Inception reference) and you’d be shocked that it is eerily quiet as well. I slipped into peaceful carefree slumber on all the nights I was here. I can say it was one of the best sleep I had in a long while. A common washroom is shared by all the hotel guests with private shower spaces and toilets which is kept spick and span round the clock by the staff. I did lavishly use the complimentary scented soap and shampoo.
Once you are done with the morning parade to the washroom, look no further and walk into the cafe where you are served with a hot breakfast spread on the house. And if you are looking for a space to work out of, without having to step out into all that chaos the city demands, they have a small business center where you can just plug and play with free Wi-Fi, of course.
Some people have a fear of closed spaces and feel claustrophobic to be inside a life-size capsule like an MRI machine or what I call a “morgue” and long for a connection with other humans. Yes, there is a slight disconnect. Yet another group of people might have issues with the hassle of getting in and out something small, banging heads twice or thrice. Which is quite trivial. But the biggest problem for a traveler like me and the many out there is finding a space to rest your head and recuperate at a big cost in a city like Mumbai. Anything more and you will need to shell out extra bucks off your pocket.
But with this pod hotel concept, I can sleep without crying over that extra rupee and in a certain luxury that does not go overboard. The Urban Pod is an experience like no other, but what really mattered is for the money I pay, I get much more in kind coupled with some excellent service. Now, isn’t that what a smart traveler should feel like?
Here’s a Facebook live that I did while I was staying at the Urban Pod.
Pin this image!!!
Have you stayed in a pod hotel before? I would love to hear your comments below.
*This stay was sponsored by the Urban Pod.
*All views expressed here are my own. Unless otherwise stated all images are my own.
*This post contains affiliate links which means if you click on them and book through them I will receive a little something to keep this page running.
Travel Blogger from Kochi, India. An inspired traveler, a travel writer, a photographer, an aspiring mountaineer, a positive thinker and a minimalist.