China's only capsule hotel nixed over fire worries

AP News
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Posted: Feb 23, 2011 11:26 PM
China's only capsule hotel nixed over fire worries

Shanghai fire authorities have refused to approve the city's first and perhaps its last capsule hotel, saying Thursday that materials used in its construction do not meet safety standards.

The Fire Control Bureau said tests showed the materials used to build the 3,200-square-foot (300-square-meter) hotel with 68 capsules _ small single bed-sized rooms similar to those found in Japan _ were not fireproof but actually highly flammable fiber-reinforced plastics.

The decision followed a Nov. 15 blaze at a high-rise apartment building that killed 58 people and has been blamed on use of unsafe materials and illegal contracting.

The fire bureau said heavy smoking among guests was another concern.

Hotel owner Ta Zan did not answer phone calls seeking comment. A report in the Shanghai Daily newspaper said he still planned to try to get the hotel, located near the main downtown train station, approved after making changes. The hotel still lacks approval by the police and health bureaus.

Customers would pay 88 yuan ($13) for a 24-hour stay in one of the hotel's 95-cubic-feet (2.7-cubic-meter) cubicles equipped with a bed, television and Internet access but only tall enough to sit up in.