When you decide to visit the Singapore Grand Prix with about a week to go before the race you are left with pretty limited accommodation options. There’s literally the final room in an average 4 star hotel with the going rate at over AU$700 a night. There’s room in a guest house above a fish restaurant on the other side of the island from the GP for about AU$250 a night, then there was the WokeHome Singapore capsule hotel about 100m from the GP track for $45 a night…. I took the capsule hotel. Not just for the convenience and price, but also out of general intrigue of what it would be like to experience one of Asia’s more bizarre accommodation options.
I emerged from the central Raffles Place station, suitcase in hand when a wall of heat and humidity hit me as I climbed the steps and approached street level. A short walk past some very dubious looking gentlemen’s clubs (perhaps this is why this place cost is so cheap?) and before too long I was at the front door, of what is the first Singapore capsule hotel. The front door actually looked just like any other ordinary office building.
Once exiting the left and into the foyer it’s immediately obvious that this capsule hotel actually has more the feel of a hostel, rather than a place where drunken overworked business men would collapse at the end of night like the Japanese ones are famous for. The common area could’ve been in any traveller’s hostel around the world, with a large TV, a international group of young people chatting away, a kitchen where no one had bothered to wash anything up, and a fridge full of food with people’s names on it.
I was checked in quickly and efficiently, and of course being Singapore there were a few rules to abide by. The most bizarre of which was that we had to wear slippers at all times in the hotel. The slippers were provided by the hotel and were actually more like rubber sandals. given that the place was full of westerners for the Gran Prix the larger ones were in high demand. Also bizarrely the slippers were all collected in the morning at cleaning time and placed outside the front door of the room, so it was unlikely you would have the same pair for the length of your stay. Considering most people were showing in them, I found this kind of gross.
The Room and Capsule
Let’s check out the room. Capsules were arranged in two rows of about 8 columns each. This was a renovated office building, so the capsules went around the 3 of the 4 outside walls, with ¼ of the level set aside for bathrooms. You get a locker to store your gear out the front of your capsule. Climbing up the ladder to my top level capsule and what awaits is actually pretty cool, although not as high-tech as I expected.
There is a small storage area where you can keep your valuables, on top of this a fold down table which is perfect for putting your laptop on if you want to use it whilst sitting up in bed. Then you have your small control panel of switches that control a small lamp on an adjustable arm, a couple of power points for essential charging, and the final button switched on a mostly useless fan. It’s actually the type you find in the back of a computer to keep the motherboard cool, cute but not that effective. Thankfully the main room is air-conditioned so it really didn’t matter that the fan was about as useful as wings on bus. Further down the capsule wall is a TV on an adjustable arm and headphones so you can listen. The Headphones were locked in so don’t think about unplugging them for your own iPod etc. Perhaps the only disappointment is that you don’t have a door to close your capsule. Instead you get a venetian blind. Good at keeping the light out, but sounds (and smells) can still get in.
Location wise this place was perfect. 2 blocks behind the very touristy Boat Quay, the party district of Clarke Quay was stumbling distance away and there was 2 MRT stations within very close walking distance which unlocks the rest of the island for you. If you are going for the Grand Prix then two of the main entrance gates are about 300m away and it’s close enough that the cars screaming engines will wake up during their morning practice session.
If you’re coming to Singapore for travel and not to lock yourself in a hotel room, than I can totally recommend WokeHome Singapore Capsule Hotel. The location can’t be beat, facilities very good, and given it’s a capsule hotel and not a hostel generally you will find the other guests more respectful when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep… and bring your own slippers if you don’t want to share.
Find Woke Home Capsule Hostel at 61 South Bridge Road, Singapore