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.
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.
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.
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.
Getting there, we walked across the Helix Bridge. It was really cool.
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.
And of course we made time to explore the food offerings at the locally famous hawker centers. Although not everything was to our taste.
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.)
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!)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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2 thoughts on “Snoozing in a Pod Hotel in Singapore”
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.
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!