Editor's Review: SLEEEP

Situated in the heart of the city, Sleeep offers weary workers a chance to catch up on much needed shut eye - anytime they choose.

I must confess: one of the reasons I am a fulltime freelance writer is because I am overly fond of afternoon naps. Since some of my clients are 12 to 15 time zones away, I tend to work around the clock to meet middle of the night deadlines. My preference is also to work intensively for five or six hours in the mornings, and then crash. Sleeping under my desk at a previous job was not really feasible—or comfortable. That is why I can relate to bleary eyed cubicle workers burning the midnight oil. With property prices the way they are, many of these sleep-deprived souls are furthermore cursed with long daily commutes to their more affordable flats in the New Territories or outlying islands. When I first heard of Sleeep, I thought it was a fantastic idea that this tired town really needed.

The brainchild of Hong Kong friends and entrepreneurs Alex Kot and Jun Rivers, Sleeep is the pilot project of their company Space Is Ltd. Unlike other napping hubs around town, Sleeep has a license to operate as a guest house, and is the city’s first true capsule hotel. It is even LEED certified, as sustainability is part of the company’s mission. Guests can book it online by the hour or for the night, depending on their requirements. Hidden behind some stairs off Queen’s Road West in Sheung Wan, it is on the ground floor of a traditional Chinese tong lau. Rivers, a Harvard University architecture grad, designed the interiors of the 367 square foot space with concrete floors, iron fittings, and a chilled vibe.

I took a short flight of stairs adjacent to a green wall of blooms and found myself at SLEEEP’s entry. When I booked, I was able to select my preferred mattress firmness, pillow type and blanket thickness. I then received a QR code which I used to enter SLEEEP. Although I only had a knapsack, I appreciated the locker that comes with every booking—it can fit a small suitcase, and there are fresh towels and hangers available. While I was just going to be napping at Sleeep, I can see how it would suit independent tech savvy travellers who want something more stylish than what can be found in a typical hostel. After all, with the nightlife offerings of Sheung Wan and Central literally on my doorstep, I can imagine SLEEEP’s overnight guests being the type to take full advantage of a city that never sleeps.

Although it is communal, the showers were spacious and private, and I liked the rain shower that is more commonly found in boutique hotels. Backlit mirrors provided just the right amount of illumination as I brushed my teeth. As I made my way back to my SLPer, I noticed that each of the eight capsules is self-contained with power sockets, recessed LED lighting and thick felt curtain with magnetic clasps to shut out exterior lighting. My wood lined enclosure was curved in the corners, making me feel enveloped as if I was in a cocoon. Happily, I sighed with contentment as I drifted off to sleep—and woke up feeling just as refreshed as if I had slept in my own bed. Now that is what I call an afternoon well spent.

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