The newly opened Pod Hotel in Chinatown is the newest addition to D.C.’s options for budget travelers, bringing over 200 micro-hotel rooms to the city. What is a micro-hotel, you ask? The hotels generally have much smaller rooms than average, but much more in terms of social spaces that appeal to travelers of a certain mindset.
If you just had visions of the Asian style “pod chamber” type hotels where you literally go into a chamber to sleep, this is not that! The Pod DC has rooms averaging about 150 sq ft ( For reference, a regular hotel room in the US averages 400 sq ft), and is catering to travelers who look for convenience, reasonable prices and a local flair in their hotel choice during their stay in the city.
Micro hotels first popped up in Japan and New York City, where real estate can be super expensive, but this trend is catching on now as people are spending less time in hotel rooms and more time outside.
What’s on offer?
Guests can choose to book a pod with a full bed, queen bed or a bunk bed option. The rooms are small, but functionally well thought out and visually interesting. Sleek furniture and efficiently designed storage spaces -- think hanging pegs for purses, ledges for wallets, keys and other knick knacks, and under bed storage for your suitcase. Rooms have windows so you can gaze out, and yes, each has their own bathroom.
Coming later this spring, there will be a coffee shop and Southern restaurant (Crimson Diner), a whiskey bar (Crimson Whiskey Bar) and a rooftop terrace lounge (Crimson View) all from the Hilton Brothers. The spaces are massive, they will be open late and they will provide comfortable spaces for guests to mingle. The lobby area will blend in seamlessly with the coffee shop, and will be another area for guests to lounge. More on this when they open!
Additionally, Pod will be organizing free walking tours for guests, have forged partnerships with local gyms and studios (Sculpt for yoga, WSC for gym access) and is planning on hosting rooftop yoga classes and more to enable guests to socialize.
In the rooms, there are electrical outlets at many spots so you can plug in anywhere. But my favorite feature has to be the special outlet designed to hook up with your laptop (Pod provides the cables) so you can watch Netflix on the TV in your room. No sign-in on the hotel TV necessary! That brings a whole new meaning to "Netflix and Chill."
The hotel is also LEED certified and is doing a lot to be green. You will find refillable water stations throughout the hotel and smart light and AC technology designed on Infrared will shut off when you are not in the room.
Modus Hotels, the company that is operating the Pod, consistently makes sure to work with local partners and businesses in all of their properties. In keeping with their mission to provide a local flair for travelers, rooms are decked out with photographs of DC neighborhoods, restaurants, sites and more. The walking tours I mentioned earlier will also focus on “off the tourist path” food, restaurants and things to do.
Who is this for?
Of course, this type of experience may not be for everyone. But for travelers who want to focus more on exploring the city, mingling with guests, experiencing the public spaces, saving some money, and not a luxury hotel room, this would be perfect. Business travelers who just need a place to sleep would do well here too.
As long as you know what you are getting, I don’t think there is any reason to not be excited to try out a hotel that is a) unusual b) priced reasonably c) catering to modern travelers and d) cool!