Have you ever flown first class? I haven’t, but I got to have a taste of it recently, at a… hotel.
We were trying to decide on where to stay in Fukuoka, and I saw that there was an airline-themed hotel! How could we pass the chance up?!
Yes, it’s a hotel that has its rooms modeled after first and business class cabins! Truth be told, this hotel was one of the things I was looking forward to the most in the Fukuoka leg of our Kyushu trip!
p.s.: First Cabin has branches in Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto too!
It does give off the clean, polished feel of airlines, doesn’t it?
And by the way, can I add that this hotel is mad convenient? It’s connected to the subway, so after exiting the subway, all we had to do is walk about a minute to the elevator that brought us all the way up to the hotel!
After checking in, we made payment and received a card key, safe box key, and headphones.
The card key is for:
The areas for females and males are separated right from the start, and everyone can only access the area their card key grants them entry into. And no. No tailgating other people into the opposite gender’s area please.
In other similar hotels (like this capsule hotel, for instance), there are locker rooms to store the luggage before proceeding to the sleeping/bathing areas. But the lockers in First Cabin were so skinny that one can’t even hold a carry-on size luggage. No wonder all the lockers were completely empty – they’re pretty much useless!
When we stopped in front of what were supposed to be our business class cabins, I was dumbstruck. Where was I going to store my giant of a luggage (hint: not carry-on size) in the tiny place?!
We glanced at the empty first class cabins with the additional row of space and decided to explore the option of upgrading our cabin.
Now, I booked the business class cabin for 4,000 yen (price varies by season) and the first class cabin was only 1,000 yen more at 5,000 yen. I remember thinking that we didn’t need the extra space anyway so we might as well save 10 bucks and take the business cabin. How wrong I was! :(
When I checked with the front desk, they told me that the first class cabin would be 6,600 yen!!! Geebeezus.
But it was either upgrade or leave my luggage along the corridor where it might (1) be a hindrance to other guests, and (2) risk having precious contents (aka my chicken rice and laksa premixes Carys lugged over from Singapore!) being stolen. Putting it into perspective: Would I pay 2,600 yen for my comfort food from Singapore? ARE YOU KIDDING ME. First class it was!
For a comparison between the first class and business cabin:
The cabins cannot be locked, but there is a safe box under the bed to lock valuables.
How to bathe: You can do as the locals do and strip naked, leave everything in the brown basket on the right, taking only a towel with you to the “spa” (public bath) area. Fully shampoo and wash yourself off before stepping into the large pool. When done, dry off and come back to this area to get dressed!
But if you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you are not used to this bathing culture and either are either wide-eyed with surprise (“I have to do WHAT?”) or frowning at having to prance around naked in front of strangers.
In which case, you can do as we did:
I enjoy my onsens, but where possible, I prefer to keep my nakedness to myself. So I went into the shower room, fully clothed, lugging a fat bag containing my towel and change of clothes heh.
This place is stocked with everything you need. I really mean everything. Face stuff (makeup remover, cleanser, toner, emulsion), hair stuff (not only conditioner, but treatment as well!), body stuff. Complete with the bath towels, clothes, and slippers from the room, you’re all set!
But if that’s still not enough…
The only complaint I have about this stay was the quality of sleep I had. I’ve always been one for firm beds, but the one at First Cabin was hard. The pillow was also strange; it had some sort of plasticky spring on the back and basically wasn’t a very nice pillow to sleep on.
The worst though, were the sounds. In the middle of the night, I was rudely awakened by what sounded like someone violently ripping open their curtains. Very violently.
Then, “SSSSSSRRRKKKKKK!!!” Shut.
The sharp sound sliced through the silence and my dreams, and caused me to jolt awake from shock.
It happened once. 2am. Then once more. 4am. And again. 7am.
WHAT THE HELL WAS GOING ON?! People are trying to sleep here! Did I just happen to have a lot of angry neighbors? Or was it just that one person who has anger management issues and/or curtain operation deficiency?!
HOW does one even make that much noise with the curtains??? I can open and close mine in near-perfect silence!
When my alarm went off, I woke up super grouchy and complained to Carys, who also went through the same torture. Then I realized that unlike first class cabins (which has curtains that open sideways), business class cabins’ curtains are open vertically, like a curtain blind. That must have been the reason for the insane ruckus! Man, I hope they fix those faulty blinds soon!
Apart from that, First Cabin is actually a pretty good place to stay. Extremely convenient (walking distance to Canal City and the yatai food stalls), fully equipped with amenities that most people need, clean, and safe.
Just a few things to take note:
- Get the first class cabin if travelling with anything bigger than cabin-sized luggage
- Book early (31 days in advance) for discounted rates (valid for stays between Sun-Wed)
- Well, book early anyway because the rooms sell out quite quickly (and there are lesser female cabins)
- Pray there are no
angry neighborsnoisy blinds nearby
FIRST CABIN (HAKATA)
3-7-24 Nakasu, Hakata, Fukuoka, Fukuoka Prefecture 〒810-0801
Nearest station: Nakasu Kawabata
Thanks for writing this thorough article on First Cabin Hakata, it’s pretty hard to get detailed info and photos on the First Cabin hotels on the web. Having stayed at First Cabin Tsukiji, I must say I’m a bit baffled by the showers in their Hakata location.
There was only one shower room for women in their Tsukiji hotel but it had an attached private changing area which could be locked – it felt so good to not dry off and change clothes in the wet shower (ick).
I’m surprised they didn’t try to do the same thing for the Hakata branch, considering the fact that many Japanese hostels tend to build individual showers with a dry changing area followed by the shower stall proper.
If I ever stay at First Cabin Hakata, I’d probably use a similar strategy, I’ll bring a plastic bag of stuff and bring it in or put it just right outside the shower booth haha.
Hello Grace! I’m always glad to contribute to the useful info on the interwebs ;)
Yeah, I don’t like changing and bathing in the same wet stall either, but it’s preferable to walking back naked to the main area where the baskets are to change (locals do that). It’s nice that the Tsukiji branch has a changing area though!