Ever since I heard about pod hotels in Japan, I’ve been fascinated by the concept, but have never gotten around to actually staying in one. I came close earlier this year when I had a quick overnight layover in Mexico City with an early morning flight and tried to book a pod in the MEX airport, but there were none available.
That’s why I was interested by a press release issued by the Pangea Pod Hotel , which will be the first of its kind in Canada. Set to open this month in Whistler, British Columbia, Pangea’s rooms will, at most, cost half the price of a conventional hotel room, and usually far less. The big advantage is that the low price will make the resort more accessible to solo and budget travellers.
The hotel is a labour of love for the husband-and-wife team Russell and Jelena Kling who spent years traversing the globe, garnering first-hand experience about what makes for a comfortable and satisfying stay. The hotel is result of three years of planning and prototype development.
“Pangea combines the affordability of a hostel with the perks of a boutique hotel,” says co-founder Russell. “We wanted to cater to the type of traveller who enjoys the conviviality of shared spaces but prefers their own personal space at the end of the day.”
The hotel will feature 88 independent sleeping pods that will be divided among eight separate “suites”. One suite is dedicated to female-only guests. Bathroom facilities are divided into individual components (more than 60 in total) to offer privacy and limit line-ups. These individual components include washrooms with vanities, showers with changing space, stand-alone vanities, and changing rooms.
Each wood-lined pod contains artwork and mirrors, as well as a comfortable double memory-foam mattress, individually controlled LED lights, a built-in fan that provides both air circulation and white noise, a lockable cabinet for valuables like iPads and phones, hanging space for clothes, and a storage area for luggage.
Pangea aims to offers superb shared spaces, too. The Living Room, a stylish combo of lounge, bar, café, and espresso bar, boasts floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the bustle of Whistler’s Village Stroll, giving the space the feeling of an outdoor patio. The Rooftop Patio is Whistler’s only true rooftop bar, providing a bird’s eye view of Mountain Square. And The Toy Box, an open-plan secure storage area for skis, snowboards, mountain bikes, and other gear, was custom created to address the needs of equipment-laden outdoor enthusiasts.
In some ways, staying in a tiny room, no matter how luxuriously appointed, will force you to get out into those shared spaces and out of the hotel to explore your surroundings.
Pangea is slated to open in time for Crankworx, a world-famous mountain-bike competition and one of Whistler’s biggest summer events, which kicks off on August 10.
Pods are now available for booking at pangeapod.com/bookings.