A trend-setting micro hotel concept in (perhaps) the trendiest location on the planet. Globetrender’s senior trend reporter Ben Brown had to explore…
In New York City, two forward-thinking hoteliers are changing the way young travellers think about accommodation. Richard Born and Ira Drukier, founders of Pod, are shrinking the traditional room with the “micro hotel”. (Pictured above is a bunk bed unit from Pod 39 in Manhattan.)
In a typical hotel, space comes at a premium, and a small room is something that pedantic guests might complain about. At Pod, small rooms are the point. At just 100 square feet (9.2 sqm), each “module” is a third smaller than the average American hotel room.
Having already established two successful Pod locations in Manhattan, Born and Drunkier are now looking to the fashionable Williamsburg district in Brooklyn. As Born explains: “We are introducing an entirely new category to Williamsburg with our first hotel outside of Manhattan in over 20 years.”
The micro hotel
Opening in spring, 2017, Pod Brooklyn will invite guests into its 249 tech-laden units. Each pod features an oversized window to provide natural light and a view over lush green courtyards.
Straight away, you’ll connect your smartphone or tablet, stream your favourite tunes or watch a movie from your own Netflix account. Expect a clean, modern feel to each room and plenty of smart storage.If you fancy exploring the rest of the hotel, you’ll find glass walkways and living walls connecting the generous public spaces.
On the mezzanine floor, a lounge and bar, perfect for catching up on emails. On the roof, one of New York’s finest eateries, Salvation Tacos. New Yorkers will recognise the restaurant name from Pod’s Midtown hotel, a foodie-favorite in Manhattan – perhaps thanks to the envious rooftop setting.The unique design and architecture of this micro hotel is born from a collaboration between Pod design director, Vanessa Guilford, and Garrison Architects.
A short hop from Manhattan on the subway, Williamsburg is a haven for young, tech-savvy Millennials. In fact, Thrillist recently named it the number one hipster district on the planet.
Artisan coffee shops and pop-up art galleries aside, Williamsburg is an ideal hub from which to explore New York without paying Manhattan prices. It’s still a little rough around the edges with its industrial past peeking through, but luxury hotels and an obligatory Apple Store have already moved into the district.
In terms of growing destination trends, Williamsburg is quickly establishing itself as one of the emerging tourist hotspots. The district is rapidly transforming from a footnote in guidebooks to a “must-see” in New York.
As Pod founder, Richard Born says: “We look forward to filling a gap in lodging within an area that has seen a surplus of luxury hotels. We expect Pod Brooklyn to attract the individual looking for affordable, stylish accommodations, allowing them to easily explore the destination and meet others in numerous communal environments.”
Pod may have cornered the micro-hotel market in New York, but similar hotels have popped up across the globe in the last five years. In the UK, I’ve personally squeezed myself into even smaller rooms at Bloc in Birmingham and London Gatwick. Here, most of the rooms are windowless (a large TV screen depicts the view outside) but snug, practical and packed full of technology.
City Hub in Amsterdam takes the concept one step further, with “sleep units”. These are sci-fi pods no larger than the bed itself. Of course, this trend developed in Japan where capsule hotels are dotted across the country. One of the more established Japanese hotel brands, Yotel, has since expanded its capsule concept to London, Amsterdam and New York.
As the battle for space meets demand for lower prices, Globetrender expects “pod”, “micro” and “capsule” hotels to increase in popularity, especially at airports where practicality trumps extravagance. Straddling the line between hotel and hostel, we also expect the young, tech-hungry generation to embrace micro hotels in New York and the rest of the world.
Rooms at Pod Brooklyn start from US$125 per night.