I had read about the small suites (also called pods) available at airports across the globe, each designed to give travelers a spot to work or nap between flights, but had never tried one. I had the chance to check one out at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) recently when I booked a 90-minute stay at Minute Suites. I'm sold on the idea and they can expect to see me back.
This new “pod” hotel concept is absolutely perfect for long travel days. I left my Miami Beach hotel at 4:30 a.m. and arrived at PHL around 10:30 a.m. My flight out of PHL wasn't until 2 p.m. and I was exhausted. All I wanted was a quick nap, but kept telling myself it wasn't that long. I walked past Minute Suites, then turned around and went back to the front desk. A private suite where I could rest for a couple of hours? Sounded perfect. Turns out, it was perfect.
What is Minute Suites?
Minute Suites started at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), expanded to PHL a couple of years ago, followed by Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) last summer. They will open a location at Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD) soon. The PHL location offers 13 private suites, each 7′ x 8′ in size. Inside each suite you'll find these amenities:
- Room temperature controls
- Sound-masking system (basically white noise that blocks out all outside noise)
- NAP26™ audio program that's designed to enhance sleep
- Hot towel service if you request it
- Daybed sofa with pullout bed if needed (so a couple could share the same suite)
- Fresh blankets and pillow coverings (with pillows)
- DirecTV on a 32″ HDTV that can also be used as a computer monitor
- Wireless keyboard and mouse pad
- Free High Speed Internet (wifi)
- Electrical outlets for recharging
- Dimming lights
- Alarm clock
- Optional wake-up knock
I was impressed at how fast and efficient the young lady was at the front desk. She asked how long I wanted to stay, quoted me the price, took my credit card information and ushered me back to a room, or pod, within just a couple of minutes. It was a quiet time and I believe only a couple of other rooms were occupied. She walked me to the back hallway, which she explained in hushed tones would be the most quiet. She quickly explained a few things about the room and asked if I wanted to arrange for a wake-up knock at the door. I declined the knock and thanked her, closed the door and locked it and realized it was a great feeling to know I could sleep without the usual airport worry of watching my belongings. I can definitely see why Minute Suites says these are especially popular with female travelers.
I couldn't have been happier with my time at Minute Suites. I plugged in my phone, set my alarm, turned off the lights and promptly fell asleep in the darkened room. I woke up about 20 minutes before I planned to leave, so I had time to log in and check email before heading to the gate. It was amazing what that short nap did for me. I felt refreshed and ready to get on with my day. Do note that there are not restroom facilities at the PHL location, but a public restroom is just a few steps out the front door.
One of the unique aspects of the PHL Minute Suites is the relationship they have established with a local tourism school. The location is staffed with students from Temple University's School of Tourism and Hospitality Management. Unlike most unpaid internships, the students at Minute Suites make $10 per hour while they have a chance to work in their industry. I found the young lady at the PHL facility to be extremely polite and professional.
How much does it cost?
The cost structure is straightforward and, compared to the cost of an airport hotel, I believe it is quite reasonable. There is a minimum one-hour stay for $34. After that, you pay in 15-minute increments at a cost of $8.50 for the first two hours, then $6.00 for every 15 minutes after two hours. There is an overnight flat rate (for 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.) for $125. If you need to stay more than three hours, but not overnight, Minute Suites offers a discount rate of $24. The company also offers discounts for pilots, airline employees and the military. You can make reservations online, but if you have special requests or want to book with one of the discounts, you can call ahead at the numbers shown below. Also, the new DFW location has showers available. If all you want is a shower, you can book a 30-minute shower for $25 or a shower with a suite rental is $15. I booked 90 minutes, so it was $51 plus tax, for a total of $55.08. Well worth it considering how much better I felt after the nap. This is a great way to fight jet lag.
Minute Suites locations
Minute Suites are currently located at three airports, with the addition of Chicago in the near future:
- Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, in Concourse B at Gate B15. Call 404.762.7660 for information.
- Philadelphia International Airport, at the Terminal A-B Link. Call 215.937.1076 for information.
- Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, in Terminal B at Gate D23. Call 972.973.4235 for information.
I definitely recommend trying Minute Suites if you have work you need to do or you need a place to refresh and reenergize during your travels. As much as we have to endure on planes these days, where even my 5'2″ body barely fits in the seats, it definitely helps the overall travel experience to have a place to regroup. For more information, check out http://www.minutesuites.com.