If you have spent time in Japan, you will know it is a land of contradictions and contrasts. Tokyo’s reinforced concrete steel buildings stretch as far as the eye can see, yet many interiors feature abundant plants and beautiful floral arrangements; step inside a train and you might see a salary man seated next to a woman going about her day in a kimono.
Then, amongst the bright lights, seven-story shopping malls, karaoke booths, restaurants, and the infamous scramble crossing (the worlds’ largest), lies The Millennials, offsetting the excitement and sensory overload of Shibuya with its calm interior, stylish open shared spaces, and sleeping pods.
The Millennials was created by property development company Global Agents. Having spent a year living in one of their Social Apartments in Kawasaki, an eighty-four room share house complete with sleek shared spaces to relax, cook, practice music and study, I was already familiar with Global Agent’s shared living concept of fostering community through stylish living spaces, alongside private rooms. This time, I was curious about how this concept would translate into a hotel, and why sleeping in one of their famed Smart Pods was worth my yen.
THE SMART POD
Upon arriving, I was greeted by friendly and welcoming hotel reception staff. I was then required to watch a short video explaining how to operate the Smart Pod, and given an iPod to use during my stay. This would control everything from entering the hotel late at night, to operating my bed.
When the elevator door opened to my floor, it was as though I had entered a new futuristic world with rows of spacious sleeping pods. Once I found my Smart Pod number, I popped my luggage in the spacious drawer under the bed, popped my valuables in the provided safety box, and got ready to explore the sleep technology in front of me. Once the blind is closed and the projector is connected via wifi, theres a fully private space to watch Netflix in bed, controlled by the iPod of course. The Smart Pod is indeed quite spacious. In sofa mode, there is enough room to stand comfortably in front of the bed, and enough width to fully see your whole body in the provided full-length mirror, if you feel so inclined.
Whilst the front of the pod is a blind, each side is divided by walls, ensuring a quiet environment. Given that the space is windowless and blissfully dark once you dim the lights, I personally liked hearing the distant sound of someone rolling over or hopping into bed; quiet, but not too quiet. The bed, with its fluffy doona, was large enough to sleep diagonally, comfortability comparable to a 5-star hotel.
Once the morning arrives, there is no need to force yourself out of bed; the iPod control gently reverts you back to sitting position, ready to start the day in full swing!
FEATURES AND AMENITIES
Solo female travellers may feel more comfortable opting for one of the female only floors as on the mixed floors, even the toilets and showers are shared. The showers are luxurious as promised, with body wash, shampoo and conditioner to die for. The best part? They are sold downstairs at reception, alongside a beautiful selection of skincare and stylish ‘The Millennials’ branded goods.
If you like to start the day with a hit of sugar and caffeine, the advertised breakfast is a selection of delicious pastries and sweet breads, alongside the hotels’ free coffee on offer 24/7. Health conscious guests might be better off hitting the konbini around the corner or one of Shibuya’s many eateries. The morning saw a quiet buzz of activity in the common space with guests preparing their coffees and warming up their pastries in the kitchen. Some people seem to have started their work day already, buried behind their laptops, while others discuss their travel plans with each other. The feeling is that of a share house: coffee is mandatory, conversation is optional.
Generously, free beer is offered in the social space every day between 5:30 and 6:30. Whilst I only experienced a bit of small talk during breakfast, the space lends itself to deeper conversation at night with its mellow, upbeat music and soft lighting.
On a separate floor is the working space decked out with three roomy booths, two sealed off booths for talking on the phone and a long table and chairs. The area is spacious, featuring beautiful plants and a kitchenette. Not only is it a great space for focusing and getting work done, The Millennials also host events such as comedy nights, DJ nights, and even cooking nights.
It is natural to associate shared accommodation with budget travel, however a stay at The Millennials is luxurious and unique, it is not a hotel, neither is it a hostel or a capsule hotel. The shared work space offers an environment where the traveller is unlikely to be interrupted, yet there is opportunity to hang out in the comfortable social space for a chat. The Smart Pods are large enough to relax in, making it the perfect choice for those wanting to recharge in a calm, minimalist environment.
The Millennials are currently operating in Shibuya and Kyoto but keep your eye out for new upcoming developments!
Address: 1 Chome-20-13 Jinnan, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0041, Japan