Pod sweet pod: capsule lodgings hit Hong Kong

Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:57am EST
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By Sisi Tang

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Space-starved Hong Kong has long been plagued by high rents and steep hotel rates, vexing university students and tourists alike.

But help may be at hand, thanks to one Hong Kong firm: tiny pods stacked up in tiers to create capsule lodgings at low cost.

Inspired by Japan's inexpensive capsule hotels, capsule bed manufacturer Galaxy Stars HK is offering wifi-enabled capsules that can be stacked together in cupboard-like formations to ease the high-priced room crunch.

"It's like Legos," said Eric Wong, managing director at Galaxy Stars HK, explaining how the units can be pieced together in a matter of days.

"I want to bring this product to Hong Kong tourists to relieve Hong Kong's hotel shortage."

Each pod, which measures 1.9 meters (6.3 feet) long, 1 meter wide and 1.15 meters high, is slightly larger than a twin bed. They come complete with bed, air conditioning, light switches, computer tables and power outlets.

Wong said he expects his main customers to be tourists. The average hotel room rate was HK$1165 ($150) a night in 2010, according to the city's Tourism Commission.

But he added that about a dozen local students had expressed interest in a capsule college dormitory near campus, offering pods for HK$3,500 ($450) a month.   Continued...