Sydney’s first capsule hotel has opened above the refurbished Bar Century, now known as Century Bar.

The 70-bed hotel has been designed by Chris Wilks and Ed Kenny from GiantDesign, a studio with a long list of Sydney hospitality spaces in its portfolio, including Eastside Grill and Holy Duck, both in Chippendale; Rough and Bare in Mona Vale; and Red Lantern on Riley Street in Darlinghurst.

The designers settled on an Art Deco style to suit the building’s heritage status, inspired by iconic Sydney venues such as QT Hotel. The capsules’ interiors, though, are notably futuristic.

On offer are three types of capsule: a single bed with a front entrance, a single bed with a side entrance and the deluxe with a queen-size bed. Each capsule is fitted with a locker, an LCD TV and a control panel with a climate-control knob, USB port, headphone jack and a universal power point.

The hotel fills the gap in the market between budget backpacker hostels and more expensive boutique accommodation. The bathrooms and kitchen are shared spaces, and there’s a communal area. Capsules start at around $50 per night.

Capsule hotels are not a new concept. The world’s first capsule hotel was built in Osaka in the late 1970s, designed by leading Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa.

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The compact hotels were aimed at the city’s white-collar professionals, who might find themselves either too tired or too inebriated to make the long train trip home to the suburbs at the end of a long day.

The concept remained resolutely Japanese for years. It took decades for it to take off in the more space-conscious West. Today, though, most major cities in the world have at least one capsule hotel.

Good design is behind the recent resurgence in capsule accommodation around the world. Capsule hotels like Nine Hours in Kyoto and Rio de Janeiro’s Capsule by Container have become destinations in their own right for travellers interested in novel architecture and design.

The reaction to Sydney’s Capsule Hotel has been positive, says owner Walter Guo. “Most people really like it,” he says. “They think the concept should have come earlier.”

The Capsule Hotel
Level 3, 640 George Street, Sydney
(02) 8957 7763