Airport ‘pod hotel’ pops up in China
China has caught up with the latest trend among global airports -- setting up compact pod hotels for weary travelers.
Xi’an Xianyang Airport, the gateway for travelers to see the Terracotta Warriors, is the first to take a stab at the market.
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The three-terminal air hub recently put up 20 wooden cabins in Terminal 3 and in the connecting area to Terminal 2. According to Chinese media, this is the first airport in mainland China to set up such accommodation.
The ancient capital seems to have a passion for tiny hotel rooms as the city of 8.4 million also houses China's first capsule hotel.
Micro rooms in 'Beehive'
Each of the teeny-weeny lodgings is called a “Beehive” (蜂巢) in Chinese. It measures 2.4 meters in length, 1.6 meters in width and 2.7 meters in height.
The room comes with a two-meter-long bunk bed, a bed-side table, a LCD TV, a fold-up table, a power plug, a mirror, a window, window-blinds, Wi-Fi, a light and even a safe (a true luxury for a micro hotel). However, guests will need to step outside to use the airport bathroom.
"Previously, if the passengers don't leave the terminal buildings, all they can do is to rest on the seats," an anonymous officer from the airport told Xi'an Evening News. "The main reason we set up [the Beehives] is to provide a comfortable resting area for the waiting passengers."
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The hourly rate for the first two hours is RMB 60 (US$9.4), and RMB 40 from the third hour on. The minimum stay is 30 minutes and that will run you RMB 30.
According to Shanghai Morning Post, the minute hotel took in eight guests on its first day of opening last week.
These cabins resemble the idea and look of Sleepbox, which was designed by a Russian firm Arch Group and was first installed at Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow last summer.
The Chinese version even has the word "Sleepbox" written on the exterior.
A spokesperson for Xi'an airport told us the idea "came from Europe" and the Beehives were produced just for Xi'an Airport. The spokesperson, however, declined to specify whether or not Xi'an airport claims the design of Beehive.
Sergei Danilov, director for development at Sleepbox, stated in an e-mail that his company has not been contacted by anybody from Xi'an Airport and the Beehive is "an unauthorized parody."
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"It is, unfortunately, a sad situation when Chinese businesspeople once again demonstrate an utmost disregard of internationally accepted norms of business practice," said Danilov.
Xi'an Xianyang Airport did not reveal the construction cost of each Beehive, but the price for one Sleepbox starts from US$10,000.