At Izzzleep Capsule Hotel, at Mexico City’s Juarez Airport, you can sleep in a capsule, or pod. It’s private, clean, secure… and cheap.
UPDATED in January 2020.
The Birth of the Pod Hotel
Once upon a time (let’s call it 1979), in a land far away (let’s call it Japan), the Starship Enterprise and an old Pullman train car met, fell in love and reproduced. They called their offspring a Pod Hotel. And you should probably sleep in one at least once in your life.
Pod Hotel? Those of you old enough, like me, to remember the original 1956 movie “The Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” with Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter, might have a negative reaction to the word “Pods…!!” So OK, let’s call them capsules. Better? Good.
Then the next time you have a flight to/from Mexico City, or a longish layover that makes you yearn for a nap and a shower, you might want to consider Izzzleep Capsule Hotel (website in Spanish only). The concept of “Intellient Hospitality” can be a great option for a few hours or overnight at a very reasonable price.
Why You Might Want to Consider Sleeping in a Capsule Bed at the Airport
This is a compare and contrast exercise. Think about all the times you’ve had a long layover between flights or had a flight delayed for several hours so you tried to sleep in a chair at your airport gate. Recall the crick in the neck and the pain in the butt that game provided. Or worse, remember that time you slept on the floor, with the eau de spilled coffee permeating the carpet, all the while freezing your tuche because the airport was fridge-like.
Or how about this? You’ve got a 6am flight out. You, like me, live nearly four hours from the airport, which means leaving home at midnight and arriving for your flight sleepy, grumpy, dopey, and possibly sneezy too. It’s mighty nice indeed to be able to head to your pod hotel, climb into your capsule bed, wake up to a shower and be a five-minute walk from the check-in desk. That, I found, was worth a lot.
As of 2019, there are two Izzzleep locations in the Mexico City Benito Juarez Airport, one in Terminal One, and a newer, slightly larger one in Terminal Two. I stayed in the Izzzleep pod hotel rooms in Terminal One, the International Terminal, so that’s the one reviewed here. I have learned that the bathroom/shower spaces in Terminal Two are slightly larger and there are more capsule beds. Otherwise the two are identical.
Of course there are pros and cons to sleeping in a capsule. Let’s get the cons out of the way up front.
The Cons of Staying at Izzzleep Capsule Hotel, Mexico City Airport
- The individual capsules are small, so this is probably not a great option if you are very large or severely claustrophobic. We’re not talking MRI tube small. There’s plenty of room to move around, sit up in bed. My capsule at Izzzleep measured approximately 6 1/2 x 4’ (2+x1.25 meters).
- The capsules accommodate only one person. If you’re traveling as a couple, you’ll have to book two, which wipes out a lot of the savings if you’re staying overnight. They can still be a great option for a nap and a shower though.
- The locker and sink area is communal. You won’t be changing clothes there, or showering, but you will be washing, brushing your teeth, doing make-up, taking off your shoes, etc. in a co-ed locker room area. In this way, it feels a lot like staying in a hostel.
- It can be more than a little difficult to dress and undress inside the pod, especially for older women who may be, shall we say, not quite as agile as we used to be. Since you can’t stand up, taking your pants off is especially tricky. And you will need to put them back on again to go out to the bathroom.
- You won’t have your luggage in the pod with you. I did have my daypack in there, with my computer, hairbrush, etc. It sat on the foot of the bed by my feet. I also could have hung it on a hook.
That list may sound daunting, but don’t let it put you off until you read more. The pros of staying at Izzzleep might convince you to try it.
The Pros of Sleeping at Izzzleep Pod Hotel
- Convenience and Stress-Free Travel – As I mentioned, being able to sleep in comfort just steps from the airport check-in desk is priceless. No looking for a cab to take you to the nearest off-airport hotel. No schlepping your bags from here to the back of beyond. You’re right where you need to be. And no constant clock watching, fearing a traffic delay will keep you from getting to the airport on time. Flying is stressful enough these, days. No need to make it worse than it needs to be.
- Price – I spent a pretty comfortable night in my capsule, watched a telenovela on the overhead TV, had a good hot shower, and caught my morning flight for just US$40, almost exactly one-third of what the night would have cost me right next door in the Courtyard by Marriott hotel.
- Location – The Izzzsleep located in Terminal One, the international terminal, is the one I stayed in and also the one my readers are most likely to be using. It’s located on the outside of the security check line, so it’s usable even if your flight leaves from Terminal Two. Just hop on the airport shuttle to get there. If, like me, you arrive at the airport on a long-distance bus from another part of Mexico, it’s dead convenient, only a few steps from where you get off the bus, to the left past the bus ticket counters. It is also just off the international parking lot. If you enter Terminal One from the front of the airport, it’s also not hard to find. Just look for the food court, walk all the way through it, and you will find Izzzleep on the left.
- HINT: If you need to ask for directions, ask an airport employee for the “Hotel de Capsulas.” Or look for signs for the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, which is right next door.
- That food court is also convenient for when hunger strikes, with more than two dozen fast-food places with the usual burgers, sandwiches, pizza, plus Chinese and Japanese food, coffee-and-pastry outlets, and of course tacos and other Mexican specialties. There are also at least five full-service sit-down restaurants.
- There is fast free WiFi throughout Izzzleep.
- The capsule area is a strict quiet zone. Even shoes are not allowed in that zone. If you want to watch TV or listen to music, you will definitely need to use headphones. If you want to talk on your phone, you are told to go out into the communal area out of consideration for your fellow guests, who are only a molded plastic/fiberglass panel away. If you are a very light sleeper, you may hear footsteps or people opening and closing their capsules. For that reason, you’re provided with ear plugs at check in. Since I personally am deaf as a post without my hearing aids in, I had no problem at all with noise. Your mileage may vary.
Everything Else You Need to Know About Staying in an Izzzleep Capsule Hotel Pod
At check-in at Izzzleep, you’ll be given an electronic key card and a cozy pair of thick socks. In the locker area, you take your shoes off and change into these socks, which you can take with you as a nice souvenir. I wore mine the next day on the plane.
While you’re still at the check-in desk, ask them to show you the ins and outs of the control panel you’ll find in your pod. I didn’t do that, and I ended up fiddling through more trial-and-error testing of lights, TV, etc. than was necessary
The locker you open with your key card is not huge. It easily accommodated my carry-on and looked like it would also work for a larger, checked suitcase, but not both. However, you may leave any bags that don’t fit in the locker at the reception desk
In the capsule hotel, the area where the sleeping capsules are located is quite dark, lit only by eerie blue lights that allow you barely to see the number of your berth. I suggest you have your cell phone handy with a flashlight app at the ready. The sleeping pods, like Pullman berths, are arranged in two levels. To enter a lower berth, you need to get onto the floor and crawl in. For the upper berths, there are a few steps you climb up into your pod. Going in head first seems the easiest option.
Once you’re inside your individual capsule, you’ll still want that flashlight to locate your control panel, below the large mirror. You can’t turn the lights on until you “energize the capsule” by inserting your key card into a slot on that panel. Slide in your card, then touch the button on the right side for the mirror light. This will light up the whole pod with white light. If you touch the button for the ceiling light, you will instead get a low, very blue fluorescent light, which might work well for those who like to sleep with a light on.
The control panel also has one three-prong electrical outlet, two USB outlets, and two headphone jacks, an emergency call button, a small combination safe, and a button to lock and unlock the door to your pod. There is a ventilation control knob and a clock. Finally, there is a large button that turns off all the lights in your capsule at once.
What Else is Inside the Sleeping Capsule of Your Pod Hotel?
On the wall of the capsule are two hooks for hanging items, plus a small fire extinguisher. As you sit up in bed, there are also two reading lights directly over your head with a touch panel to operate them. The TV is situated overhead. You pull it down and operate it with the remote given to you at check-in.
There’s a foldable table/desk/tray hanging on one wall. I found it pretty easy to work using this clever contraption. You take it down from the wall, flip down the legs, and set it on the bed. It looks for all the world like one of those things people use to bring you breakfast-in-bed…should you be so lucky as to have one of those folks in your life (I unfortunately do not.) I imagined Jean Harlowe on satin sheets, a crepe de chine negligee falling just so from her shoulders, struggling to sit up against her fourteen satin pillows while a servant set her breakfast tray in front of her and threw open the curtains to let in the late morning sun. My situation was a bit less glamorous, but it got the job done. I was able to sit up on my bed, arrange my laptop and a notebook and type these notes.
The “bedding” is not exactly luxurious, but it is serviceable. The sheet is one of those fitted things made of some unnatural cross between fabric and paper, sort of a felted non-woven surface. It’s not scratchy and some might find it comforting to be sleeping on a disposable sheet that’s never been slept on before.
There is no blanket in the pod. You’ll find a blanket, as well as a bottle of water, in the locker where you leave your suitcase. Don’t forget to bring it into the capsule with you (ask me how I know this.) The blanket is thinnish and a bit small. The capsules have AC and ventilation but no heat. If you like to sleep warm or if you are quite tall, just ask for an extra blanket at Reception. They will be happy to hand you one.
HINT: Bring an extra bottle of water with you into your capsule. The one they give you is small and you don’t want to drink the tap water anywhere in Mexico. You also don’t want to have to go out to the food court area at 2 am in hopes of finding more.
Where and How Do I Use the Bathroom in a Capsule Hostel?
The toilet rooms and individual shower rooms are located right outside the darkened capsule area of the Izzzleep pod hotel. I thought they were fine. Everything was sparkling clean and there was plenty of hot water. The rain shower head was an added bonus. The sinks and mirrors are communal, located in the locker area. They were also very clean.
Note: Because of the noise factor, there are no hair dryers provided in the bathroom and you may not use your own.
So, what’s the bottom line on this spaceship/pullman/hostel hybrid called a pod hotel or a capsule hotel? Based on my single experience with Izzzleep, I’ll be back. I am small (just 5’ tall) and have never suffered from claustrophobia, so I had no issues at all with the size of the pod. It’s an inexpensive and convenient overnight option if you arrive in Mexico City very late or have an early flight out. I would also certainly use it if I had a long layover and was exhausted. The thought of a nap on a bed and a hot shower sure beats trying to get comfortable in a chair at the gate. I also think it would be a wonderful option if I arrived from a long flight and had to go directly to a meeting or important gathering. A chance to shower, change and freshen up would make me say “Ahhh…”
For the money, I think this is a no brainer. I can have some genuine fun with the money I can save staying at Izzzleep instead of the Marriott next door.
Izzzleep Capsule Hotel at Juarez Airport, Mexico City: My final opinion. Give it a try. You might like it!
Fast Facts: Izzzleep Capsule Hotel, Mexico City Airport
- Overnight prices are approximately US$40 (depending on exchange rate). You can also book for day use at US$9 per hour, with a two hour minimum. If you just want a shower to refresh, it’s $8. All prices include taxes.
- Reception is open 24/7
- There are no double capsule beds. All pods are single only
- No children under 12 are allowed. Children 12-18 must be accompanied by an adult. Each child must stay in their own capsule bed.
- The hotel is a No Smoking space. The airport smoking area is about 10 meters from the front door.
- Due to the nature of the capsules, Izzzleep pods are NOT handicap accessible.
- You can get to Benito Juarez Airport in Mexico City by taxi, bus, Uber, or Metro. You can also get a long-distance super-comfortable bus from almost anywhere in Mexico direct to the airport.