Zens Inn: Sleep in a Pod in Canada’s Thousand Islands

Zens Inn, Prescott, Thousand Islands, Ontario Canada

Zens Inn, a pod hotel in Canada’s Thousand Islands region

Hotel-Scoop correspondents stay in a lot of hotels. So we’re always excited to discover unique properties, whether it’s a boutique hotel in a former church, a hostel where you sleep in a jail cell, or a grand lodging that excels at service. On a recent road trip through Ontario, I was intrigued by my stay at Zens Inn, a design-forward pod hotel — and an excellent value in Canada’s Thousand Islands region.

Here’s the scoop:

Common room, Zens Inn, Prescott Ontario Canada

The common room at Zens Inn

What’s a Pod Hotel?

If you’ve never heard of a pod hotel, it’s a lodging where the sleeping spaces are small, individual, and well, pod-like, similar to Japan’s capsule hotels. Unlike a hostel, where you might sleep in a dorm with others, in a pod hotel, you have your own private pod to sleep in.

Located in the eastern Ontario town of Prescott, Zens Inn is set in a restored brick building on the town’s main street, a short walk from the St. Lawrence River. The inn is close to Fort Wellington National Historic Site, and within an easy drive of Thousand Islands National Park and the town of Gananoque, where many of the popular boat tours through the Thousand Islands depart.

Kitchen, Zens Inn, Prescott Ontario Canada

The well-stocked guest kitchen

Zens Inn Facilities and Services

Check-in is automated at Zens Inn. You receive an access code in advance, so you can let yourself into the building at your leisure. The owners are available by text or phone if you have any questions or concerns.

The common area includes a spacious living room with comfortable chairs grouped around a flat-screen TV, a beautifully crafted wood dining table, and a well-stocked kitchen that guests can use to store food or prepare meals.

Coffee and tea is available anytime, and guests can help themselves to a light Continental breakfast — cereal, bread, jam, peanut butter — in the mornings.

Hallway, Zens Inn, Prescott Ontario Canada

Individual rooms downstairs, pods upstairs

Where’s My Pod?

Compared to Whistler’s Pangea Pod Hotel, a well-managed pod lodging where I’ve also stayed, Zens Inn’s pods are more spacious and easier to access.

The pods on the main floor are small single rooms with a lockable door, each containing a comfortable single bed and a desk with a chair.

The main drawback is that there’s not much space for luggage or clothing, beyond some hangers on the door. But it’s enough room to sleep, check your email, or get a little work done. And the common area has plenty of room for hanging out.

Guest room, Zens Inn, Prescott Ontario Canada

A guest room with a door at Zens Inn

The pods upstairs are similar, but with a lower ceiling, and instead of a door, they close with a curtain. They’re still private, single sleeping spaces.

If you’re concerned about securing your belongings in a curtained pod, you can use one of the inn’s lockers (and you can borrow a lock if you don’t have your own).

Sleeping pod, Zens Inn, Prescott Ontario Canada

A sleeping pod at Zens Inn

The inn can accommodate up to 11 guests. All the rooms and pods have one single bed, except one, which has a queen bed for two people.

Bathrooms are shared, and there are five of them — a good ratio even when the inn is full. Some have a toilet and sink, others a shower and sink. All are on the main level, where the private rooms and common areas are located. If you’re staying in an upstairs pod, you need to come downstairs to use the washroom. The inn provides good quality linens and towels.

Bathroom art, Zens Inn, Prescott Ontario Canada

Art awaits, even in the bathrooms


Compared with many accommodations in the Thousand Islands region, where rooms in basic chain motels can cost CAD$150 or more, a stay at Zens Inn is a very good value if you don’t mind not having a private bathroom. The standard nightly rate for a pod is CAD$60-70, while the private single rooms are CAD$70-75. Check Expedia or Booking.com to compare rates and make reservations.

Rates include Wi-Fi and a light breakfast. The inn has several parking spaces in a lot across the street, available to guests at no extra cost, although if the lodging were full, some guests would need to park on the surrounding streets.

While a pod hotel like Zens Inn isn’t luxurious, it’s far more private and contemporary than a traditional hostel with shared dorms. It’s a property I was excited to discover.

Hotel feature by Vancouver-based travel, food, and feature writer Carolyn B. Heller. Photos © Carolyn B. Heller.

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