Cozy, quaint, snug … all good words to describe this new trend of napping on the go. Airports around the world are catching on to what the Japanese have known about for years, the capsule hotel, where size doesn’t matter.
Micro-hotels are cropping up on all four corners of the world. They are small rent-by-the-hour rooms where travellers can catch a quick ziz while waiting to catch the red-eye or killing time on layover.
IMHO: I say this with all due respect and discretion, but am I the only one thinking these secluded little rooms may see as much frisky business as they will see cat-nappers? #justsayin
In any event, the concept of the micro-hotel was in fact inspired by the Japanese “capsule hotel,” where travellers could grab a quick power nap or a full night’s sleep without ever leaving the airport terminal. Admittedly, that sounds more pleasant than trying to sleep across three chairs at the gate, and more sanitary than curling up on the floor – both of which I’ve done on long trips.
Many micro-hotel boxes are similar in nature, measuring about 4 square metres in size and containing a small daybed-type cot or bunk bed. Some contain a desk, A/C, Internet access and a TV. Some even contain a sink and toilet! Many of the cabins are also equipped with alarm clocks and a connection to the airport’s flight information system to prevent you from missing your flight. Whew!
On average, cabins can cost as little as $15 per hour up to nearly $100 for the entire night. That’s still cheaper than a hotel room, and certainly more convenient. Increasing in popularity, micro-hotels are beginning to extend beyond the airport terminal.
Where can you find a micro-hotel? Some of the more popular hot spots are:
Yotel started with cabins at London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports, as well as Amsterdam’s Schiphol. More recently it has opened up a micro-hotel in Manhattan as well, featuring 669 slightly larger rooms. Yotel’s cabins are a little larger, featuring an en-suite bathroom. One user review described the cabins as “a cross between a train compartment and a space ship.” There are currently 32 at Heathrow, 45 at Gatwick, and 57 at Schiphol.
Sleepbox, which launched in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, plans to set up a whopping 60 “sleep boxes” in downtown Moscow. These cozy boxes contain up to three bunk beds, side tables, electrical outlets and reading lamps. They also hope to roll out in shopping malls and train stations.
IMHO: Shopping malls, really? If you need to nap between department stores, maybe shopping isn’t for you.
Have you seen or used a micro-hotel? Please do share! What was it like, was it worth the money? Tell us all about it!