Capsule hotels are common in countries such as Japan, where space is at a premium, but Australia’s been slow on the uptake – until now.

Australia’s first-ever capsule hotel is opening in Sydney’s CBD on the site of the now-closed Bar Century. Capsule hotels are nothing new – they’ve been around since 1979, when the first, Capsule Inn Osaka in Japan, opened.

Mini-accommodation can be found in big cities around the world such as Japan, New York and London, but space was never such an issue here in Australia where land is the one thing we’ve always had in spades. However, with property prices at a premium in Sydney and hotel costs steadily climbing accordingly, an affordable option for travellers who may have outgrown youth hostels seems prescient.

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Bar Century was a dive bar with a youth hostel above it and a Hungry Jacks outlet below it on George Street in Sydney’s CBD. It closed in February thanks to a combination of rising rents and lowered CBD foot traffic due, the bar’s management says, to NSW lockout laws.

An artist's impression of the capsule hotel's reception area. 

The new Century Capsule hotel will have 72 capsule bedrooms ranging in size, from single, which is 120 centimetres wide, to deluxe, which is 160 centimetres. Each capsule will have an LED TV, wi-fi, and “mood lighting”, and there will be communal areas including a self-catering kitchen, breakfast bar, lounge, roof terrace and bathrooms.

The site, as well as the capsule hotel, will now house two levels of bar/nightclub/gaming rooms that will be known as Century Bar.

Design firm Giant, which is handling the building’s makeover, intends to retain its period Art Deco features while giving the hotel a boutique feel. Capsules will range in price from $40 to $60.

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