Skiers and snowboarders tired of being crushed by high-priced accommodation after a killer day on the slopes can now slip into a much cheaper pod hotel with rooms barely big enough for a bed.
As ski resorts move upmarket, Japanese-style pods grow, offering a boutique vibe that includes high-thread count linens and a creative design aesthetic, all for far less than traditional beachfront hotels. tracks, reported the Wall Street Journal. The downside: They share common lounging areas and bathrooms – not ideal traits in the Covid era.
South African Russell Kling and his Serbian wife, Jelena, came up with the idea for a pod in Whistler, the Canadian ski resort, after living in Manhattan for a decade and then quitting their jobs to take three years off. Their travels led them to discover a big gap in the type of accommodation available in popular destinations.
“Our options were often over $500 a night, or in rat-infested places miles out of town,” Russell Kling said. “We realized that there was a product that had disappeared from the market.”
The result: The Pangea Pod Hotel, which opened in 2018 in Whistler Blackcomb, a few hours north of Vancouver. The price: $31 to $156 per night, depending on the season.
The hotel is 600 feet from the lifts and offers eight suites containing six to 18 pods each — 88 in all — with shared bathrooms. Each rectangular space measures approximately 7 feet by 6 feet, can be closed off and has a double bed, charging sockets, shelves and small storage spaces.
Another pod hotel is the Cache House in downtown Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Opened in early 2020, it has 50 pods with queen beds, with shared bathrooms. Prices range from $59 to $149 per night.
Design touches include wainscoting, brass finishes, relaxing lighting, a soft and heavy privacy curtain, shelves for small items, and a little extra space at the foot of the bed.
A common area resembles a traditional hotel lobby, with sleek sofas, artwork, and heated floors.
To address concerns about sharing facilities with strangers, some pod hotels work with groups to book entire suites. Some also offer female-only suites.
While bookings at both hotels have dwindled during the pandemic, bookings are picking up for spring skiing, according to Cache House. And in the long run, she and the Klings hope to expand their business.
[Wall Street Journal] — Dana Barthelemy