Coffin Hotel
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Basic Information

A coffin hotel (commonly referred to as a Capsule Hotel by its proprietors) is a form of low end rental accomodation developed and popularised in Japan but beginning to spread to other nations.

The hotel, such as it is, consists of a series of capsules - usually stacked two high - and roughly the size of a single bed plus headroom. The hotel will also feature lockers for luggage and shared changing rooms and washrooms. Depending on the hotel, other facilities may include a laundrette or laundry service and some form of food and drink supply, ranging from a restaurant to vending machines. Being Japanese, many capsules often have built in television and wi-fi as well. The typical client is, apparently, a Japanese businessman who has either missed his commute home or is too drunk to make it and stays for only a night or two, although increasing numbers of people appear to be living in these facilities for prolonged periods due to poverty and homelessness (or the requirement to work away from home for prolonged periods). Due to the nature of Japanese culture the majority of such hotels are men-only, although some have seperate women's accomodation in a different floor or wing.

This sort of place might well be a good candidate for automated check-in and, in a culture less tidy and conscientious than the Japanese, might well either expect their guests to supply their own bedding or to sell disposable bedlinen from a vending machine.

Note that a historic Coffin Hotel (or Coffin House) was a form of flophouse in which the patrons slept in coffin-like boxes laid out on the floor.


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • Very popular in sci-fi, often taking the place of the flophouse as bottom end accomodation for the homeless and generally transient (although higher end versions may appear in spaceports and such places). These are probably coin operated and unfurnished except for an extremely durable (and stain resistant) solid matress. The ones with bed linen provided and a sporadic conceirge service may be more expensive … and worse.
    • Likely the place the better sort of tramp comes when they can afford it for a wash and a shave.
  • Otherwise, quite a good candidate for the role of backpacker hostel or YMCA outpost - especially for the more hygenic ones.
  • Reasonably good potential for using to meet contacts and/or as a dead drop location.
  • Also somewhere to look for and transients you may wish to find.
  • Where they are serving as a flophouse, this might be some of the only shelter available "off the grid" (since it's highly likely that tramps don't have whatever passes for a credit card) and be usuable by those forced to rely on less traceable forms of payment.
  • Potentially, these places could keep running for quite a long time after the end, especially if heavily automated.
  • Popular in cyberpunk.
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