Airports are no place to sleep, as any weary traveler who has tried to grab a few minutes shuteye during a layover can attest.
But that may be changing, thanks to a new breed of short-stay, pay-by-the-hour micro-hotels popping up in airport terminals around the world.
Based loosely on the concept of the Japanese “capsule hotel,” these cabins and boxes allow sleepy travelers to seal themselves off from the surrounding commotion for a 30-minute power nap or a solid night’s sleep without having to leave the terminal for a hotel. Some even contain toilets and showers.
In recent years, versions of the concept have emerged from London to Moscow and from Philadelphia to Dubai, with other destinations likely to follow this year.
And they are spreading beyond the airport terminal. Yotel, which operates short-stay “cabins” in airports in London and Amsterdam, has also opened a hotel in Manhattan based on a similar concept, while Sleepbox, which has a demonstration model in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, will open 60 of its units in downtown Moscow in a matter of weeks.
Here are three of the best micro-hotels proving that size isn’t everything.
Yotel has operated its pod hotels in London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports since 2007, and in Amsterdam’s Schiphol since 2008.
Described by the company as being “inspired by first-class airline cabins,” and by one user review as “a cross between a train compartment and a space ship,” these small units pack in single or double beds, entertainment systems, a work desk and an en suite bathroom into between 7 to 10 square meters.
The cabins –32 at Heathrow, 46 at Gatwick and 57 at Schiphol — cost about £25 ($39) for four hours, or about £60 ($93) overnight. More info