Pod hotel for tropical north

Cairns may soon become the latest international tourism hot spot to accommodate its tourists in personal sleeping pods.

The owners of a Lake Street property have lodged a development application for the state’s first capsule hotel, seeking to convert the rear of the building’s ground floor and its first floor into “short-term ‘pod’ accommodation for the travelling public”.

The accommodation style developed in Japan is becoming a worldwide phenomenon in destinations short on space but big on visitors looking to stay in funky accommodation which doesn’t cost the earth but provides excellent connectivity.

The application by RA Cairns Chinatown Pty Ltd includes nine sleeping pods, a unisex bathroom, reception area and back-of-house facilities on the ground floor and another 86 sleeping pods, recreation space, staff toilets and guest bathrooms upstairs.

Existing tenants of the 35 Lake Street building’s ground floor – including three takeaways, a restaurant and a pedestrian arcade – would remain in place.

 “Pod accommodation is a style of accommodation developed in Japan that provides secure small rooms, ‘pods’, for basic short-term accommodation for guests who do not require services offered at more conventional hotels,” the application report explains.

“The pod is of a modular construction and includes a television, an electronic console, and wireless internet connection.

“The pods are stacked side-by-side, two units high, with steps providing access to the second level pods. The open end of the capsule can be closed with a fibreglass door.”

Sydney’s The Capsule Hotel was the first pod-style accommodation to open in Australia, with two more pod hotels in development for Melbourne.

Cairns Regional Council is yet to make a decision on the proposal.

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