Tucked away in Sheung Wan, a sleek capsule hotel recently opened its doors to the public, providing a new option for visitors seeking a design-forward place to spend the night. Aptly named SLEEEP, the newcomer stands out in that it also caters to anyone who simply wants to relax or sleep for a few hours during the day. If you’ve ever wished for a spot where you could have a catnap, or if you’re a fan of futuristic design, you’ll likely want to take a peek at what SLEEEP has to offer.
Popular in Japan, futuristic bunk-bed and capsule hotels began making appearances in Hong Kong as early as 2012, but the concept didn’t really take off here the way it did in its original country — perhaps until now, that is.
SLEEEP, located in an alcoved entrance halfway up the staircase between Queen’s Road Central and Gough Street, is the brainchild of family friends Alex Kot and Jun Rivers. The duo make up design firm Space is Ltd., and together they began dreaming up ideas for the capsule hotel as early as 2011, as a response to a Harvard University dean’s challenge, which called for design proposals to address population challenges in modern cities.
The result? SLEEEP, the duo’s humble pilot scheme, encased in a minimalist, 367-square-foot space. Receiving a guesthouse license late last year, the hotel fits eight patent-pending bunkers named “SLPers,” which take every aspect of quality sleep into consideration.
For space-strapped and overworked Hong Kong, the challenge was to make a comfortable, luxurious and, most importantly, sustainable place to unwind. As co-founder Jun Rivers says, “It’s a breathing space within a suffocating environment. We truly believe that high-quality, sufficient sleep can take us further in both our personal and professional lives.”
Lightly inspired by the minimalist, clean lines of Apple products, which both Alex and Jun love and use, each SLPer features real wood lining, rounded corners, a sleek charging panel for your devices, soft circadian lighting (which helps you fall asleep and wake up naturally), and — as revealed at a recent media preview — wonderfully plush bedding, which you can pre-order according to your preferences of mattress firmness, pillow and blanket thickness.
A fun fact about those lights: they also intuitively flash when you check in to SLEEEP to indicate your correct bunk, but it also flashes red if there’s more than one sleeper in your SLPer, just in case you were thinking you could smuggle in a bed buddy. Each SLPer is made for one person only. Privacy is also crucial, and with an innovative magnetic curtain made with thick, pocketed felt, outside sounds are nicely muffled. And if that’s not enough, earbuds and eye masks are plentiful at SLEEEP.
Other essentials include free WiFi, as well as a full locker for holding your luggage, which also contains charging docks. For workaholic business travellers, a wooden surface can be pulled out from the wall to be used as a laptop table. A heated floor welcomes you to the shared bathroom area, where you can take advantage of a powerful rain shower while a hidden shower curtain keeps your clothes dry. You’ll also find all-natural amenities produced locally by SO…SOAP! as well as organic cotton towels.
SLEEEP is also one of the cleanest operations you’ll find in Hong Kong, and is vying for recognition to be the world’s first capsule hotel to be LEED v4-certified (the highest benchmark for a green building). It boasts a unique heat recovery system built by specialists in the US — likely one of the first in Hong Kong — which recycles heat from the hotel’s climate control system to fuel the water boiler. The entire space also uses 100% LED lighting and is a completely paperless operation.
The space is intentionally kept very quiet, and there’s not much room to do much beyond sleeping, surfing the net or reading in your SLPer. Perfect for the solo traveller with a long layover, a quick nap during the day before going back to the office, or for those unfortunate ones who live in the New Territories and are stranded on Hong Kong Island after a night out, SLEEEP offers bookings starting from an hourly rate, and is available for two-, four-, eight-, and 12- hour slots as well as overnight.
After booking online, check-in is cardless and paperless — you just need to flash your QR code on your phone, though if you run into any issues, SLEEEP XO’s (Experience Officers) are always on hand to assist. At the moment, the hotel offers a pay-as-you-wish scheme for the soft-launch period, but regular prices range from HK$599–$799 per night.
SLEEEP, 1/F, 242 Queen’s Road Central, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, +852 9604 6049, sleeep.io