|By Leon Stafford, The Atlanta
Journal-ConstitutionMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Nov. 23, 2009--Need a short nap or just a little peace and quiet to get some work done during a layover at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport?
Now there's a sweet option. Minute Suites to be exact.
The world's busiest airport is thinking "inside the box," joining its international peers by offering small rooms -- think of them as the land-based version of cruise ship cabins -- for rent, short-term. Travelers can check in and relax as they wait for connecting flights.
Hartsfield-Jackson representatives gave The Atlanta Journal-Constitution a sneak peek Friday at what they say is a first in the nation -- five "suites" on Concourse B that offer pullout daybeds, 32-inch flat panel TVs built into the wall, high-speed wireless Internet and a clock for those who need a wake-up call. The cost: $30 for the first hour and $7.50 for every 15 minutes afterward.
"We think this will delight passengers," John Cugasi, Hartsfield-Jackson's director of concessions, said in our Friday preview before the official grand opening set for Monday. "This is a place to recharge, to get work done, to get away."
Airports overseas have opened up short-term hotel rooms as a way to offer more amenities and to boost revenue streams.
The suites are located where a business center used to be, airport spokeswoman Katena Carvajales said. Travelers also can find quiet spots to work in laptop lanes and at business centers at Hartsfield-Jackson.
Cugasi said the airport will evaluate feedback to determine whether to expand the service and add more rooms. The suites began earlier this week in a soft opening, and they will be announced officially Monday.
The target lodger is a business person on a layover of three hours, said Daniel Solomon, a co-founder of Minute Suites. So far, the 25 or so people who have stayed in them have used the rooms for about 90 minutes.
The 7-by-8-foot space features modular walls filled with cotton batting instead of drywall, Solomon said. Daybeds can accommodate a person close to 6 feet tall, but there is room for just one person. Blankets, which room renters are encouraged to take with them, are provided.
To cut down on outside noise, the rooms come with what Solomon calls "pink noise" -- a sound system that can be turned up or down based on a user's taste. It sounds like a bathroom fan humming or "snow" on an old TV.
THE "SUITE" DEAL
--Cost: $30 for the first hour, $7.50 for every 15 minutes afterward
--Size: 7 feet by 8 feet
--Minimum stay: 1 hour
--What you get: daybed, 32-inch flat panel with DirecTV, work desk, high speed Internet access, blanket and pillow
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