Micro Hotels Vs. Capsule Hotels: What's The Difference?

Micro hotels and capsule hotels are two types of unique lodging experiences that have become increasingly popular in recent years. This is due in part to their affordable prices, size efficiency, and convenience. But what exactly is the difference between micro hotels and capsule hotels?

Here's what you need to know about micro hotels: First, they are larger than capsule hotels. While micro hotels resemble traditional hotel rooms in their layout — with a bed and bathroom — they come with fewer square feet of space to work with. This means micro hotels are often designed with a minimalistic approach that combines both comfort and function. Capsule hotels, on the other hand, first debuted in Japan in the late 1970s (per Nerdwallet) and are smaller than micro hotels. Typically, they consist of individual sleeping pods — often measuring just one meter wide by two meters long — stacked like bunk beds in a large room. Inside the pod, there is space for a bed and usually a few shelves and a reading light. Some capsule hotels come with private bathrooms while others may provide shared facilities.

Another difference between micro hotels and capsule hotels is the amenities provided. Micro hotels usually offer additional features like on-site restaurants and in-room televisions. Capsule hotels, however, are less feature-rich and focus on providing the bare essentials. Ultimately micro hotels and capsule hotels share one common trait: they provide guests with a unique lodging experience and can be a convenient, cost-effective way for travelers to experience cities around the world without sacrificing comfort or style.

Popular micro hotels around the world that won't break the bank

One of the most popular and affordable micro hotel chains has to be Yotel which has 15 locations in some of the world's most transited cities and five popular international airports including the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport and Singapore Changi Airport. While prices do vary among its locations, guests can choose between a variety of options. From premium queen up to their VIP king suite, all of their rooms include Wi-Fi and comfortable beds — everything a traveler might need for their overnight stay at a fraction of the cost.

CitizenM is another big-name micro hotel that has an expansive list of properties around the world in Europe, the United States, and Asia with more to open very soon. CitizenM describes itself as "the hotel that changed hotels" thanks to its unique self-service check-in and colorful lobbies and workspaces. And the rooms are nothing to scoff at either with each one offering a smart TV, fast and free Wi-Fi, rain showers, and big comfy beds. This is not your typical budget hotel!

Best capsule hotels for a unique sleeping experience

Capsule hotels aren't for everyone but if you're someone who doesn't mind small spaces then they are a fantastic way to save money and have a great travel experience. If you're looking for a unique way to spend the night at a destination look no further than this capsule hotel in Mexico, the Tubohotel. Built from huge concrete tubes stacked in pyramid shapes, the Tubohotel offers visitors a fun off-the-beaten-path experience about 50 miles south of Mexico City.

Japan has got capsule hotels figured out. Many of the capsule hotels here are some of the most affordable in the world with others offering more high-end experiences. One such capsule hotel that offers a range of stays with an aviation theme is the First Cabin capsule hotel. This chain has 11 locations in five different cities in Japan and offers guests the option to choose from the traditional capsule experience (premium economy) to larger accomodations (first class).

Does the thought of capsule hotels make you feel a bit claustrophobic? Would an aerial view help? For those with both claustrophobia and a fear of heights ... we're sorry. However, the Petra Capsule Hostel in Petra, Jordan is an incredible way to get the capsule experience without the feeling of being closed as the pods have a window that looks out at Petra. Some of the higher-end capsules even offer a panoramic view!