the millennials kyoto | full review with pictures

There’s nothing more quintessentially Japanese than a capsule hotel. Yet, shuffling your body into a pod the size of a portaloo is not for everybody.

And that’s where The Millennials comes in.

With a room measuring in at 3 square metres, it may not be enough room to swing a cat, yet its floor to ceiling height does mean that you’ll be able to get through a full rendition of the YMCA before bedtime (you mean you don’t do that before a night’s kip??!?).

Your Key

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Before we get stuck in, it’s worth explaining that you’ll operate most things at the hotel with your very own iPod touch (how very 2007). Not only is it your key, but it’s also your light switch, bed shuffler and alarm clock.

The Pods

After you’ve checked in, you’ll use your key to scan your way onto your designated floor – you can choose to stay with just men, just women or a mix (you don’t always get that last option in Japanese capsule hotels).

The vibes when you enter are very Malmaison meets Big Yellow Self Storage. It’s also dark. The exterior windows are blacked out, but the warm glow from each of the pods stop it from feeling like you’re about to take part in a sordid, x-rated version of Storage Hunters.

The Bed

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Next, you’ll arrive at your pod (it will have your ‘number’ on top) and find the bed in ‘sofa mode’. Squeezed in between each wall is a queen sized mattress but steady on fellas – THIS IS A NO SHARING ZONE. That bad boy is all yours. But to enjoy it to its fullest, you’d best straighten that bad boy out.

Oh yes. IT’S TIME TO USE THE IPOD!

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Following a couple of prods, you’ll not only be able to turn the lights on and off, but watch in awe as the mattress slowly pans out to fill the entire size of the pod. I’d recommend doing it whilst you’re sat on it to give yourself that whole ‘going in for an MRI scan’ vibe without having to, you know, go in for an MRI scan.

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Your key also gives you the option to set an alarm that not only dims up the light for you, but can also lift the bed too. For snoozers, there’s even a setting that rises in increments meaning that in 10 whole minutes, you’ll finally be upright. Absolute genius.

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Other things worth noting about the pod are that it’s got a slide out storage rack (big enough for a large suitcase), mirror and a helpful shelf with 2 plug points above the bed.

Your iPod touch will plug into a charger provided for you next to your bed.

On your bed when you arrive will be:

  • towel
  • slippers
  • toiletries bag (earplugs, cotton wool, toothbrush and hairbrush)

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You can also hire pyjamas for 300 yen a pop (that’s about £2.20).

The Bathrooms

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You may get one whole pod to yourself but don’t get excited about a personal bidet. Instead, you’ll have a shared bathroom which is… Well, okay fine. It’s pretty damn nice actually. There’s hairdryers, a washer and dryer, hand soaps, hand creams, extra towels… The showers are also really decent with rainfall heads, shampoo and body wash. There’s also space to dress and undress behind your own locked door so you can make sure you don’t go flashing your bits to Kazimo from pod A19.

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The toilets, too, are kitted out really nicely and yes, the loos are electronic. Bum spritz, anyone?

The Lounge and Kitchen

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You know when you see a picture on a booking website and you’re like ‘yeah, yeah, someone’s had photoshop out here’ well DAMN. The lounge looks proper legit in real life as well. We’re talking serious boutique hotel vibes.

The kitchen has a whole host of contraptions (rice cooker, blender, mincer…) for you to use. There’s also a hob for cooking and a fridge to keep food fresh (when I say food, I obviously mean prosecco).

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Now, with shared kitchen spaces I’m always a bit worried that there will be one Lazy Lorraine who doesn’t pull her weight and ruins it for EVERYONE yet the place was immaculate during our 2 night stay. It almost felt like everyone couldn’t quite believe their luck with the place and therefore were refusing to defy the hotel gods by leaving an empty mug out.

Extras

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Theres free decent Wifi, irons for lending and bikes for renting. There’s even a ‘roof terrace’ (don’t get excited, there’s no view) if you need a bit of fresh air without having to leave.

However, the best extra has got to be the daily free beer hour.

YES YOU HEARD THAT RIGHT.

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Between 5:30pm – 6:30pm every single day, the staff wheel out a ‘do it yourself’ beer pump and it’s a help yourself affair.

If you’re thinking, ‘I’ll just rock up with some empty bottles and make the most of this thang’ then you’re probably going to get kneecapped. (I managed three glasses each night which I feel is getting to the limits of taking the piss).

Everyone was pretty respectful and it was a great chance to meet other people staying at The Millennials. In fact, that’s probably the reason they do it. That and the fact that they probably don’t have a licence which means that bringing a couple of beers or a bottle of wine back of an evening to enjoy is totally fine to do as well. WINNER.

Breakfast

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When booking, you may also notice that breakfast is included but don’t get too excited. It’s a fairly basic offering of a few breads and pastries. To the extent that we didn’t take it up on the second morning (more time for sleep) but if you’re on a budget, hell, it is free!

Cost

We stayed at The Millennials in Kyoto bang smack in the middle of Easter and Cherry Blossom Season. I may also have left booking quite late (what a plonker) and so the pods ended up costing us £65 a night each – including all taxes and fees. However, I have found the pods for as a little as £18 a night each and have done so on several occasions. Therefore, my tip would definitely be to BOOK EARLY!

£18 is unreal value and you could probably make that back in beer alone! Even at £65 a night each, I’d say it was definitely worth it as in comparison to other hotels at that time it was 1) cheaper and 2) so much nicer!

Booking

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As there were two of us, I booked the ‘adjoining smart capsule – mixed’ via Booking.com. This means that they’ll place you either next door or opposite one another (contrary to the photo above, we were actually opposite one another).

We were on the fourth floor and in pods A14 and A13. They felt really private however you are next to the showers and therefore if you’re a light sleeper, the sound of the door rolling back and forth may wake you in the morning.

The most private (and quiet!) would definitely be A08, A09 and A10 as you’re by the fire exit there meaning no through fare and off the main corridor. So why  not email master@themillennials.jp and request them!

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There’s also the option of having a pod with a projection screen (FANCY) for a couple of quid more.

Would I stay again?

Abso-bloody-lutely. I feel like I’m going a little overkill here but I’d genuinely say it’s one of the best places I’ve ever stayed in. I really expected it to be a bit gimmicky and was blown away with the high standard of features and service.

Since our stay in Kyoto, they’ve also opened a branch in Shibuya, Tokyo and are planning to open even more. So here’s hoping there will be even more to choose from in the near future. Hurrah!

You can also watch the video of my stay here.

unlimited cocktails for £40 at the lost in translation hotel

With 24 hours left in Tokyo, we managed to cram in coffees and noodles in Ebisu, crossing and stationery in Shibuya, candy floss and cherry blossom in Harajuku and unlimited drinks in Shinjuku.

WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG?!!

last minute easter holidays for less

Easter is not just about chocolate. It’s also about having TWO bank holidays, making getting away all that much sweeter.

Of course, everyone else has had the same idea and so if you’re looking for a last minute holiday, things are looking a liiiiiittle bit pricey. Therefore, I’ve had a quick peruse (okay fine I spent the whole of last night doing this) and rustled up some options for you. Please note that prices may go up by the time you click through but my advice is to buy sooner rather than later!

For all of these, do remember it’s EASTER! And therefore you may well find that attractions and transport services don’t run as usual so do check all of this before you book.

THE CITY BREAK

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Where?

Copenhagen

When?

3 nights: Fri 30th March – Mon 2nd April – From £84

2 nights: Saturday 31st March – Mon 2nd April – From £84

Screen Shot 2018-03-16 at 23.40.00.png(Flights above show Fri – Mon option from London Stansted)

What about from the rest of the UK?

Edinburgh – From £146 for Fri 30th March – Sun 1st April

Manchester – From £200 for Fri 30th March – Sun 1st April

Where should I stay?

I’m surprised to find so many decent options still available so get on trivago and have a browse.

To whet your appetite, here’s what I’d go for:

Copenhagen Strand Hotel

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  • 4 star
  • Super central – right next to Nyhavn
  • Great ratings
  • £99 a night via Hotels.com (plus you’ll earn two nights in loyalty points – reach 10 and you’ll get a free night stay somewhere!)

Total cost

From £184 per person (based on 2 sharing for 2 nights)

Why Copenhagen?

Great food, great architecture and bloody lovely people. I recommend checking out Torvehallerne food market, Kanal Cafeen for smørrebrød and Tivoli for the world’s most aesthetically pleasing amusement park!

THE EPIC TRIP

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Where?

San Francisco, baby!

When?

7 nights: Weds 28th March – Weds 4th April

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Thinking ‘jeez that’s cheap, what’s the catch’ – well, that would be the luggage and your meals. Or lack of it I should say. £315 gets you 1 x 10kg hand luggage but hear me out – THIS IS DOABLE! In fact, I did a 6 day trip to San Francisco last year with just a small holdall and it was also full of recording kit (I was there for work).

As for food, pack a Pret for your first snack and then just buy what you fancy on board.

To add in a checked bag and meals, it will cost you an extra £100 which you may decide is worth it.

What about from the rest of the UK?

No bueno – unless you fancy shelling out £650! You can definitely get better deals at other points in the year.

Where should I stay?

So, here’s the touchy bit. San Francisco ain’t cheap. It’s not even close. But here’s an option I found.

Please note that you can often get caught out by taxes and fees in the US so DOUBLE CHECK before you book anything!

San Remo Hotel

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  • 2 star – old skool style with a shared bathroom but it’s always featured in lists compiled of the best but good value rooms in the city
  • Short walk to Fisherman’s Wharf but not too far from the centre either!
  • Great ratings
  • £102.86 a night (avg) including city tax via Hotels.com (plus you’ll earn seven nights in loyalty points – reach 10 and you’ll get a free night stay somewhere!)
  • £360 each based on 2 people sharing

Also…

When I visited San Francisco last year, the prices of hotels were through the roof. So, instead I booked using a website called hotwire where all you know is the star rating, the hotel facilities and a vague idea of what the rating is.

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One year on, I see that they’ve actually added in a button that reveals which four hotels it will be between – HELPFUL (though I personally think that’s less fun – HA).

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This option works out at $162.75 a night (once you add in taxes) = £117 a night WHICH means if you got any of the above you would:

Inn at Union Square – save £747.46

Villa Florence Hotel – save £233

Hotel Rex San Francisco – save £548

Handlery Union Square Hotel – £215.70

(Based on the best rates I found using trivago).

My advice if you do this is to stick to rooms that have a good recommendation rating. Priceline also offers this option – and for future knowledge, so does lastminute!

Total cost

From £667 per person (based on 2 sharing for 7 nights)

Why San Francisco?

Great food, loads to see and do, though don’t be thinking it will be hot, hot, hot just because it’s California. San Francisco’s average temp around this time is 17 degrees and it also has its own microclimates all over the city – you’ll be basking in the sunshine and then 10 minute down the road need to pull on a jumper. It’s bizarre!

It’s worth noting that there is a massive homeless problem in the city – I visited last March and I didn’t let it put me off though I was wary of travelling (on my own) of an evening. I’d also avoid the area of Tenderloin – it’s very close to Union Square (and many hotels are on the cusp).

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But I can’t end on a downer – I LOVED IT when I visited. Especially the Mission District (incredibly cool shops, cafes and bars) and Haight Ashbury for the hippie love and interesting characters.

As always, let me know if you book – or why not tell me where you’d love to visit, and I’ll keep my eyes open for you…


All prices accurate as of 17/03/2018

The average Brit spends £3418 a year on holidays.

What the actual fuckles.

£3418?!?

That’s like 45 pairs of Topshop boots.

Or a 2009 Vauxhall Corsa with tinted windows, body kit and some alloy wheels.

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Nice rims mate

SHIT SON – that’s 682 Toby Carveries!

Whatever way you look at it, that is one huge lump of cash that I, as a holiday deal delving fiend, was shocked – neigh- OUTRAGED to discover.

Even if we were to say that half of that is spends, that’s still £1709 on travel and accommodation.

Therefore, I’ve decided to go ahead and commit to not getting engaged/housedup/babyfied for at least the next year (in the very, very least) so that I can see how many holidays I can do for the same price.

I know. What a bloody trooper.

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SOMEONE GIVE THIS GIRL A MEDAL (also Omega, hit me up with some sweet sponsorship again, thanx bbz)

Now, I’m not talking about slumming it – christ, Zante 2008 was enough to swear me off 2 stars for life – I’m just talking about getting the most for your money. After all, we all still want to look fancy as fuck on Instagram (AM I RIGHT LADS?!).

So first things first, we’ve got to have some rules.

For £1709:

  1. I’ve got go on at least 10 holidays
  2. Trips have to be 2 nights or more and two have to be 5 nights or more
  3. I can only use my 28 days of annual leave
  4. I’ve got to visit at least 3 continents
  5. I have to fly business class at least once

THAT’S TOUGH, RIGHT? (Again, what an absolute champ I am for taking on this grueling task, etc. etc.)

So, if you fancy seeing how I get on/how long it takes me to fall into a pit of inevitable yet totally instagrammable debt then get a pen, some paper and write down the name of this website. Oh, what wait- you’re not my gran? (Shit! More people than my gran are reading this!!). Well, you can just sign up for emails or press ‘follow’ to the right instead.

Next time, it’s all about finding holiday numero uno.

Yeah, I should really start looking at that…