Sleeping capsules are gaining popularity on the accommodation market in Iceland. The country‘s first pod hostel opened up in Reykjavik in December and will be doubling the number of capsules in June. Iceland is one of the first countries in Europe to offer this kind of accommodation to travelers.
Sverrir Guðmundsson is the brain behind Galaxy Pod Hostel, a new hostel just 10-15 minutes away from the old town of Reykjavik. It’s three years since he got the idea to open a different kind of hostel in Iceland: a hostel with sleeping capsules instead of regular bunk beds in shared dormitories.
“We’re not selling the beds the same way other hostels do. We have capsules similar to what they have in Japan, and we’re calling them pods. The bed is inside the pod. You have your own space, you can close your pod and control the light. You have a mirror, a safe and we’re going to put up a TV inside the pods before the summer season starts,” Sverrir explains.
Currently Galaxy Pod Hostel has two rooms, each with eight capsules, intended for both sexes and one room with six capsules solely for women. But because of fast growing demand the hostel is going to open up one room for 22 people and one room with ten capsules before the summer season begins. Sverrir points out that they could be ideal for sport clubs and teams visiting Reykjavik.
The rooms will have a shared bathroom. There is already a shared kitchen at the property and the staff keeps the kitchen clean if the guests don‘t. A free WiFi is offered throughout the property and free private parking is available on site. But Sverrir wants to get an even higher standard. He wants to add to the cooking facilities, the shower room has to be perfected and there will be an open area where guests can play computer games etc. “We want our guests to enjoy privacy inside their pods but also to be able to relax in nice surroundings when they are not on tours,“ he says.
Capsule hotels are originally an Japanese invention but in recent years they have been gaining popularity in other parts of the world. Nowadays such hotels can also be found in Malaysia, Singapore, New York, London and with the addition of Galaxy Pod Hostel in Reykjavik too. So it seems that not only the Japanese like to be snuggling into their own capsule or taking a nap inside a pod when travelling between cities or continents.
But how did it come about that Sverrir decided to open one in Iceland?
“Well, I was trying to come up with a new fresh solution for the accommodation market in Iceland, as well as a practical one,” he explains. “After corresponding with several contacts abroad, and writing thousands of emails, I finally got into touch with a guy who was opening a pod hotel in China. I really liked his design and decided it was the one I wanted. So I bought everything from China for the hostel in Reykjavík – even the mattresses – and that’s the reason for a low start-up cost.”
“…our business concept is … different from the other hostels on the market.”
Did you imagine that the concept would become so fashionable here?
“Good question,” he says and laughs. “Well, I was pretty sure that the pods would become popular. But what surprised me is the good reaction we instantly got. Our customers have been so happy and the online reviews have been so positive that we haven’t advertised much and I think that’s great.”
According to Sverrir Galaxy Pod Hostel is aiming to be more like a hotel than a hostel. Or somewhere in between. “Everything is included. So our business concept is completely different from the other hostels on the market,” he says. Photos/Galaxy Pod Hostel.