Snoozing in a Pod Hotel in Singapore

My nephew and I recently took an epic, monthlong trip through Southeast Asia, which included a stay at a pod hotel in Singapore. It was three nights of awesomeness.

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Atlas Station, a pod hotel, still had the name of previous business above the door, making it a bit tricky to find for some travelers. Photo by Charish Badzinski.

Ever since I’d heard about pod hotels years ago, I’ve been interested in staying in one. They just strike me as fun and cozy. A perfect getaway for an over-stimulated introvert at the end of the day. More, they’re an affordable option in traditionally expensive places to stay in Asia. So when searching for lodging in Singapore, and finding last-minute hotel rooms were more than we wanted to pay, we opted to sleep in pods.

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Atlas Station has a space theme throughout, so you feel like you’re getting into a space capsule. Cool! Photo by Charish Badzinski.
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The pods are equipped with a fire extinguisher, ventilating fan, lighting, electrical outlets, USB ports, a television, a safe and a small table. Here I am just chillin’. 
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The pods at Atlas Station are stacked two high. The mattresses were among the softest we had throughout our monthlong trip through Southeast Asia. Photo by Charish Badzinski.
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The view from inside the pod. You can see the small table to the right, and the drop-down television on the ceiling. Such a cool, cozy way to rest up before another busy day of travel. Photo by Charish Badzinski.

We chose to stay at The Atlas Station, apparently one of at least nine pod hotels in Singapore, as an acquaintance told us. Recently under new ownership, the hotel was a bit hard to find as the signage out front hadn’t yet changed, and only a small paper print out had the hotel’s new name. In fact we saw many lost travelers wandering the neighborhood, looking for this hotel.

Located near both Chinatown and Little India, the neighborhood offers an eclectic mix of experiences and a diverse crowd. We spent one night on the balcony listening to loud music from a Chinese temple down the street competing with a ceremony at a Hindu temple out back, which surely was a distraction for practitioners at the Buddhist meditation center next door.

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The view from the balcony at Atlas Station. It’s a safe and walkable neighborhood with great people-watching. Photo by Charish Badzinski.
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The view into a Hindu temple behind Atlas Station. A festival or celebration of some sort was going on this particular night, so we had to take a peek. Photo by Charish Badzinski.
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Buddha statue at one of the temples near Atlas Station hotel in Singapore. Photo by Charish Badzinski.

The affordable price point for the pods (about $30 each per night for a last minute booking) allowed us some wiggle room to experience the rather expensive city. So, we took in some of the favorites that Singapore has to offer, including the Gardens by the Bay.

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Gardens by the Bay in Singapore features these super-sized trees in the Bay South Garden. The stormy day kept us from being able to walk the platform. Photo by Charish Badzinski.
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The indoor Cloud Forest is a stunning feature at Gardens by the Bay. Photo by Charish Badzinski.

Getting there, we walked across the Helix Bridge. It was really cool.

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The Helix Bridge in Singapore. So cool, and great views of the city. Photo by Charish Badzinski.

We also took a ride on the Singapore Flyer, to nab some awesome views of the city and tickle our tummies. You can see the Marina Bay Sands hotel from above if you ride this ferris wheel, which is pretty doggone amazing.

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We were nearing the crest of the Singapore Flyer in this shot. Amazing views. Photo by Charish Badzinski.

And of course we made time to explore the food offerings at the locally famous hawker centers. Although not everything was to our taste.

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We did not try the pig’s organ soup available at one of the hawker centers, but I found it interesting enough to take a photo. Photo by Charish Badzinski.
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This desert concoction at a hawker center was so fascinating. Rose-flavored sweet syrup over ice with gelatinous, chewy balls on top. It made me feel like I was eating my grandmother’s soap, but I pushed through to try to gain appreciation for the uniqueness of the cuisine. Photo by Charish Badzinski.

The Atlas Station was a quick walk to a subway station, and the city itself is walkable–and very safe–as well. In fact, we walked a lot on our trip, just because it’s such a great way to experience a place. One of our stops was the famed Bugis Street Market. (If you go, watch your pockets. Pickpockets are known to frequent this crowded market.)

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The famous Bugis Street Market. Photo by Charish Badzinski.

On our last day, we took a trip to the island of Sentosa, sort of a highly manicured, manufactured Disney-like experience, with prices to match. We enjoyed our day, but honestly, it wasn’t really our scene. We’re budget travelers who love eating cheap street food, meeting aimless wanderers and watching cockroaches drink beer (more on that later).

Without a doubt, the highlight of Sentosa for us was crossing the rope bridge to an islet and sitting at the Southern-most point in Continental Asia, then watching a storm roll in and trying to outrun it. (For the most part, we did!)

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One of the beaches on the island of Sentosa in Singapore. Plop in the sand, or expect to pay to rent a chair. Photo by Charish Badzinski.
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A rope bridge leads to a small islet beyond Sentosa, where you can see the Southernmost point of Continental Asia. Photo by Charish Badzinski.
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A sign and map showing “you are here.” Photo by Charish Badzinski.

At the end of the day, we were always glad to return to Atlas Station, where the beds were comfy and we could burrow in to our own little private caves.

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My pod at Atlas Station. Photo by Charish Badzinski.
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The crazy awesome free breakfast at Atlas Station. Photo by Charish Badzinski.
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The hotel lobby is a coffee shop, where guests get free breakfast every morning. Photo by Charish Badzinski.
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The coffee shop/lobby was a fun place to hang out and meet other travelers. Photo by Charish Badzinski.

Overall, Singapore wasn’t our favorite stop on our trip. It was expensive and highly-regulated and glossy and a bit too clean for these travelers. Call us crazy, but we like our grit and bugs and lawlessness.

But our experience at Atlas Station was great fun.

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Ben provided great customer service during our stay at Atlas Station, and he was a pretty awesome guy. 

And the staff were pretty amazing too. (Hi Ben!)

Singapore isn’t for the cheap, but if you’re on a budget or just want to have fun, a pod hotel may be the way to go. We loved our stay at Atlas Station, and I would recommend it to others who are up for a little journey to outer space.


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Charish Badzinski is an explorer and award-winning features, food and travel writer. When she isn’t working to build her blog: Rollerbag Goddess Rolls the World, she applies her worldview to her small business, Rollerbag Goddess Global Communications, providing powerful storytelling to her clients.

Posts on the Rollerbag Goddess Rolls the World travel blog are never sponsored and have no affiliate links, so you know you will get an honest review, every time.

Find Charish on Twitter: @rollrbaggoddess and on Instagram at @rollerbaggoddess. You can also read more about Charish Badzinski’s professional experience in marketing, public relations and writing.

Rollerbag Goddess Rolls the World by Charish Badzinski is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


 

 

 


2 thoughts on “Snoozing in a Pod Hotel in Singapore

  1. My first trip to Singapore was a few weeks ago. I really enjoyed the city – the food and drink options were great. It was very sterile, which wore thin pretty fast. The city was indeed easily navigable. Agree, not my favorite place in Asia – prefer Hong Kong or Hanoi. I like grit and real life, but you can keep the bugs! Great read.

    Like

    1. I totally agree on the sterility of Singapore. I’m sure for travelers who prefer a clean and tidy travel experience, it’s a find. We enjoyed our time, but overall I’m with you!

      Like

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