I tried the tiny room hotel about to take Europe by storm – it was like sleeping on a shelf but worth it for the price | The Sun

AFTER 18 hours of travelling, including a stressful changeover in Beijing, I had finally landed in Tokyo – and all I wanted to do was get to my hotel.

I was picturing a giant king sized bed, adorned with fresh sheets, upon which I would find a towel twisted into the shape of a swan, with a little chocolate on the pillow.

However, what was actually waiting for me couldn't have been further from my fantasy.

After checking in, I wheeled my suitcase along a corridor, flanked either side by what looked like row upon row of oven doors.

It was more like a morgue than a hotel, and not exactly the dream scenario I had envisaged after being stuffed inside a plane for the best part of a whole day.

As a man pushing 6' 4, I'm not exactly built for flying in economy, so by the time I had arrived, I was ready for something that would allow me to stretch out.

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Yet it was a night in a capsule hotel that awaited me instead, and I immediately began cursing my past self for skimping on a proper bed for day one of my trip.

It had seemed like such a good idea to begin with – after all, the shelf-like accommodation in Tokyo is a great deal cheaper than even budget chain hotels.

My room was around ยฃ17, when other options claiming to be cheap were more than double that price.

What's more, I thought it would offer me a real cultural experience, spending an evening, quite literally, surrounded by Japanese salary men, who spend their weeks in the city working soul-destroying hours, before returning home to their families for the weekend.

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But as my bloodshot, exhausted eyes gazed at the small square door that would be my only degree of separation from my evening's bedfellows, culture was the furthest thing from my mind.

I soon got to have a very personal first meeting with some of my accidental room-mates before bed, as I joined them in the showers, which I hadn't realised were communal, until it was much too late.

However, once that culture shock was out of the way, I began to settle into my life in the hotel.

I'd safely stowed my luggage in the large locker each guest is provided with and took everything I needed into my cubby hole for a good night's rest.

Once inside, I was very surprised by how much room I actually had.

There was a TV in there, as well as a fan, meaning I could create an environment suitable to my own liking.

The lights in the corridor outside were dimmed after 9pm and each individual capsule had its own lighting arrangements, to suit personal sleep preferences.

That evening, my preferences were lights out asap, get loads of sleep and quickly acclimatise to my new time zone. And the capsule was the perfect place to do just that.

After my flight, I would probably have slept anywhere and the bed, along with the free pyjamas provided by the hotel, was more than comfortable enough for a good night's rest.

I was then able to use the money I had saved by not staying in more salubrious digs to pay to do some of the things I was in Japan to do anyway.

Throughout my six week trip around the country, I regularly stayed in the capsule hotels when they were available and never once regretted doing it.

They were always an affordable option, in which I was able to keep myself to myself, have a good night's sleep and store my luggage while I explored the country.

And I am in no way surprised to see that they're becoming easier to find in Europe.

For instance, accommodation providers Generator have opened similar-style beds in both Berlin and Amsterdam and I can honestly see them being a huge success, particularly with people travelling on a budget.

Granted, you're not going to get a view of the city's skyline from your window, nor luxury room service, but I doubt anyone's going to be expecting that anyway.

I for one am certainly eyeing up a stay when I next visit either of those cities – and I'm looking forward to being reminded of my days in Japan while I'm doing it.

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