“Open the pod bay doors please, HAL.” Those memorable lines from 2001: A Space Odyssey were flashing through my mind as I swiped the keycard to reveal my sleeping pod at The Pod Inn, Launceston. This ‘capsule hotel’ concept is effectively a shape-shifting backpackers. Instead of a 12-person dormitory that smells like a morgue after […]
“Open the pod bay doors please, HAL.”
Those memorable lines from 2001: A Space Odyssey were flashing through my mind as I swiped the keycard to reveal my sleeping pod at The Pod Inn, Launceston.
This ‘capsule hotel’ concept is effectively a shape-shifting backpackers. Instead of a 12-person dormitory that smells like a morgue after a week-long power outage, you get your own private coffin.
Or pod, as they’re called. Each pod is a gleaming white capsule two metres long, either ‘single’ at 100cm wide or ‘double’ at 160 cm, and high enough to sit up in. They are furnished with a bamboo-covered futon and pillow, and come with built-ins like two ledges to put things like keys, a wall-safe, air-conditioning, back-lit mirror, smoke detector and clothes hooks.
The real shooting star of the show however is the very space age mirror backlighting which can also be switched between different colours: your choice of gammaplasmatron white, asteroid belt yellow, mission control blue, hot space commander pink and alien-life-form green. The ceiling light and reading lights both have five levels of intensity, and a ‘sleep mode’ button on the wall panel kills all the lights entirely.
The overall effect is not quite as mini-asylum as you’d think. There’s something about being in a secure space, and the purring of the air-con, which is undeniably soothing. It’s like being in a boxy white tent with USB charging points.
The management of the Pod Inn have most bases covered. You are provided with a towel, and a rack not far from your pod to hang it on. For items you don’t wish to sleep with there’s a locker, big enough for an average suitcase, that can be opened by the same swipe card.
The swipe card carries good ju-ju right across the universe so best keep it on you at all times; you’ll also need it to get in the gate from the street, the front door of the inn, and the doorway between reception and pod area.
Wellington Street is also national highway A8 but surprisingly noise is not a problem as the Pod Inn soundproofing is very good. You can also pick up some free foam earplugs from reception to help with any local noise.
That noise can come from your near neighbours, as the pods are stacked two high in little clusters of eight. Possibly the most annoying thing is that all the electronic locking and unlocking generates a lot of small but recognisable sounds. Maybe after a few years in space you get used to it.
Well that’s the thing. Pod hotels were apparently invented in Japan. Wikipedia suggests that “capsule hotels have been stereotypically used by Japanese salarymen who may be too drunk to return home safely, have missed the last train of the day to make a return trip home, or are too embarrassed to face their spouses.”
That kind of short-stay clientele is probably different to the people you’ll encounter here, which seemed to me more of a typical mix of budget travellers, between-life wanderers, students, arrive-late-leave-early passers through, and like me the simply curious and incredulous.
Costs are kept down by keeping facilities bare and common. Hence you’ll be sharing the toilets, showers (BYO soap, cosmonaut!), kitchen and lounge. They appear to have the amount of space about right, and I didn’t have trouble getting access to the microwave or a bit of workspace when I needed it. The shared fridge however is tiny.
Foodwise you can forage at the supermarket about a block away, a food court even closer, and indeed the noodle bar out the front called Gatsu Gatsu where Pod Inn guests get 5% discount. Let’s hope that’s not Japanese for space cats.
Whilst it would be hard to recommend this kind of accommodation for a long stay, for a night or two at the lowest price in town it’s surprisingly pleasant and comfortable. And if you’ve ever dreamed of being coccooned in your own self-contained capsule for a long voyage to far reaches of the galaxy – it’s Launceston, after all – then step right up brave space cadet.
Just what do you think you’re doing, Dave? Dave, I really think I’m entitled to an answer to that question.
Alan Whykes is Chief Editor of Tasmanian Times, and reportedly on the run from a pissy arrest warrant in the Eye of Sauron Galaxy.
Source: Tasmanian Times https://www.tasmaniantimes.com/2021/04/pod-me-up-launnie/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=pod-me-up-launnie