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Transit hotels: How to get to sleep during your stopover
Gone are the days of curling up on a bench and splashing around in the airport sink. Transit hotels are the new transfer lounge
Globe-trotters know what it's like trying to sleep coiled up on a hard plastic airport seat for hours while they await their next flight. But it doesn't have to be that way.
Transit hotels are making long, multi-flight trips tolerable.
These short-stay hotels are located within security checks in airports and close to terminals. Passengers can walk off the plane and check into a room to refresh between long flights.
No visa is required to stay over in a given country.
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Rates at transit hotels vary but are often cheaper than at regular hotels.
Minimum required stays average about six hours. Standard amenities include a bed, desk, toilet, shower and Internet access, but many premium transit hotels include gyms and spas, as well.
Transit hotel hot spots
Because business depends on a heavy flow of onward-bound passengers, transit hotels are nearly exclusive to busy transfer hubs, especially in Asia.
Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is one of the busiest airports in Europe -- its compact and clean "Yotel" hotel pods do good business.
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You won't find in-airport transit hotels in Melbourne Tullamarine Airport or Sydney Airport’s international terminal -- Australia is not a common midway point for journeys.
Good for business, but good business?
Nigel Summers, director of the world’s largest hospitality consulting firm, Horwath HTL, says that transit hotels can be a tricky investment for hoteliers.
“You don’t have to give people much [because it’s a very short stay], but it can be difficult to predict the flow of people," Summers says.
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“For example, if there is a major closure at an airport, it can be hard to plan how much food to prepare and how much staff to keep on.”
The success of transit hotels also depends on the efficiency of the airport, with more efficient airports being less suitable for hotel business.
“If it is easy to clear customs, say at Hong Kong, people are probably less likely to stay inside the airport for their layover," explains Summers.
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"But if it’s harder, somewhere like New Delhi, people are more likely to find accommodation inside the airport.”
Here are a selection of transit hotels around the world that could make your next journey a little more comfortable:
Transit hotels around the world
Ambassador Transit Hotel, Singapore Changi Airport, Singapore
Single rooms from S$58 (US$48) before tax, for six hours. TV, en suite bathroom, complimentary tea and coffee, wake-up call. Located at Terminals 1, 2 and 3, Changi Airport, Singapore; 75 Airport Blvd., Singapore; +65 6542 5538; www.harilelahospitality.com.
Kuala Lumpur Airside Transit Hotel, Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysia
Standard rooms from MYR140 (US$45). Includes: fitness center, shower, sauna. Located next to the Satellite building, next to Gate C5, KLIA Sepang, Selangor; +60 3 8787 4848; www.klairporthotel.com
Incheon Airport Transit Hotel, Seoul Incheon International Airport, South Korea
Standard rooms from US$45 for six hours. Includes: Internet, air con, TV, phone. Located opposite boarding gate 10. Incheon International Airport, 43 272 Gonghangno, Jung-gu, Incheon; +82 32 743 3000; www.airgardenhotel.com
Louis Tavern, Day Rooms and CIP lounges, Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok, Thailand
Standard single room 2,200 baht (US$65) for four hours. Internet access, television, telephone, flight-information monitor, mini-bar. Located on Level 4 Concourse G of Suvarnabhumi Airport; +66 2 134 6565 6; www.dayrooms-ciplounges.com
Airport Hotel, Abu Dhabi International Airport, United Arab Emirates
Standard rooms start at US$185 for day use between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. High-speed Internet, king-sized bed, separate living room, massage chair, gym, shower. Located in Sheikh Rashid Terminal of Terminal 1 and Concourse 2 of Terminal 3; +971 2 5757 377 ; www.dih-dca.com
Yotel, Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Standard cabin €45 (US$61) for four hours. Large single bed, monsoon-power shower with body wash and towels, TV, work station, free Wi-Fi. Located in the main terminal in Lounge 2 near Pier D. Vetrekpassage 118, Schiphol Airport. Amsterdam, The Netherlands; +31 20 7085 372; www.yotel.com
Hotel Tranzit 2, Prague Airport, Czech Republic
Standard cabin one night (24 hours) from €119 (US$162) for double room. Also available for day use. Packages for three, six or 10 hours -- single use three hours, €35 (US$48). Shower package -- €24 (US$38). Includes: Free high-speed Internet, satellite TV. Located between Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. Prague Airport, Letiste s.p., Praha, Czech Republic; +420 236 161 222; www.pragueairport.co.uk
Dayrooms Flughafen Zürich AG, Zurich Airport, Switzerland
Standard room CHF$49 (US$55) for three hours or less. Includes: Wake-up service, TV, shoe-cleaning machine, Internet access, air conditioning. Located in Transfer zone D. Postfach, Zürich-Flughafen, Switzerland; +41 43 816 21 08; www.zurich-airport.com
Evergreen Transit Hotel, C. K. S. International Airport, Taoyuan, Taiwan
Standard room rates NT$2,800 (US$92) for one night. Includes: Parking, baby-sitting, pool, gym, sauna, hair dryer. Located in Terminal II.; Taoyuan County, Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Terminal II 4th Floor; +886 (0)3 383 4510; www.evergreen-hotels.com
Eaton Smart, Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi, India
Standard room rates five hours at Rs 3,000 (US$65). Includes high-speed Internet access, LCD TV with cable satellite channels and in-room dining options. Located in Terminal 3, Level 5, Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi; + 91 11 452 52000; newdelhiairport.eatonhotels.com
Click to the next page to read an interview with Vikram Khetty, general manager of India’s first transit hotel at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport.
Located inside New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, the Eaton Smart is one of the world's more stylish transit hotels, noted for its simple modern designs.
Hotel GM Vikram Khetty explains how transit hotels are revolutionizing the way we wait for our next flight.
CNNGo: Who are your target customers?
Khetty: Passengers who are stuck at an airport waiting for their connecting flight. You might need to wait up to 10 hours in the airport before your next flight is ready, so a transit hotel is the ideal place to rest your head, refresh and enjoy some freshly prepared food or even a spa treatment, which will aid in the prevention of jet lag.
CNNGo: Are there visa or ticketing requirments for staying at your hotel?
Khetty: No visa is required, as transiting passengers often don’t have an entry visa for India. For international travelers, they just need a passport and airline ticket, and for Indian nationals, identity papers or passport and travel documents.
CNNGo: What is the minimum stay?
Khetty: The rooms are sold for a minimum slot of five hours at Rs 3,000 (US$65)
CNNGo: What makes Eaton Smart different from other transit hotels?
Khetty: The hotel will be known for its quick turnaround, smart utilization of room space, modern design and comfortable facilities. It will also offer free Internet access, a spa, innovative Aqua Pods, a gymnasium, and a lounge serving teas, alcoholic beverages and all-day dining menus.
Eaton Smart at Terminal 3 of Indira Gandhi International Airport has two wings -- domestic and international. The domestic wing has 36 rooms while the international wing has 57 rooms. All the rooms are 21 square meters in size.