Tokyo’s Narita International Airport (NRT) made a significant upgrade this month with the grand opening of the newest nine hour (9h) hotel. Located a few steps outside of Terminal 2, this futuristic capsule-style hotel will rapidly transform the city’s emerging hub for budget flights.
The concept for the 9h model is straightforward. Upon checking in, guests receive a key that provides access to a locker, a shower and your private capsule. Guests are also provided with a towel, a handful of toiletries and some loungewear. Each capsule is a meter high and two meters long, and is stacked beside and on top of other capsules in gender-specific sections. Inside the pod, guests find Air Cyclone mattresses, designed specifically to provide maximum comfort in this unique space. While the ultra-modern looking hotel does evoke some imagery of a space-age science lab, we are quite sure these affordable pods offer a great deal more comfort and security than the chilly airport floor.
A full night costs just under USD 40, with check-in available at all hours and a constant 10am checkout. If you do not need an entire night, two-hour nap packages are available for roughly USD 15, and one-hour shower packages are available for USD 10. The hotel is open 24 hours a day, ensuring all travelers and flight schedules can be accommodated; however, only full nights can be reserved in advance online. Nap and shower packages are sold on a first-come first-serve basis.
Narita Airport itself is located roughly 80km outside of Tokyo’s city center, with a very limited number of accommodations in its direct vicinity. Public transit connects the airport to the city largely during daytime hours, and road travel can easily take over two hours. Given that most of the budget flights depart in the early morning hours, prior to the July 20th of budget travelers sprawled out on couches – or mourning the loss of the money spent on expensive cab fare and a short stay at a hotel. In the wintertime, you were also likely to find several frustrated travelers stranded at this remote airport due to bad weather delays and cancellations. The hope now is that these unhappy travelers will find solace – or at least a bit of rejuvenation – in one of these comfortable pods.
Japan more broadly has had a long history with capsule hotels, having opened the first of its kind in Osaka in 1979. Since then, a number of these clever, efficient and budget-friendly initiatives have cropped up across the country – though this is the first to be associated with an airport. As 9h’s second franchise – the flagship hotel is located in Kyoto – we hope a stay here will be a significant and worthwhile upgrade from the floor.
We are however curious to hear feedback – has anyone made it to the 9h Narita hotel yet? Is it comfortable or claustrophobic? And, most importantly, is it worth spending the few extra yen?