Business Insider/Jessica Tyler
- Microhotels are popping up all around the world, from New York City to London, Paris, and Amsterdam.
- Many rooms are half the size of traditional hotel rooms or smaller, The New York Times reported.
- Some microhotels have "rooms" as small as 30 square feet, with no showers or bathrooms.
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It’s not just airline seats that are getting smaller and smaller. Hotel rooms are following the same path.
Microhotels are popping up all over the world, from New York City to London, Paris, and Amsterdam, The New York Times reported. Whereas a traditional hotel room is about 330 square feet on average, microhotel rooms are about half that size or smaller — some as small as 30 square feet.
"Henry Harteveldt, president of Atmosphere Research, a travel research company, said the process of squeezing more rooms into a hotel resembles what the airlines have been doing to increase the number of seats on an aircraft," Jane L. Levere wrote for the Times. "While microhotel room rates and basic economy airfares might be relatively low, he said, the number of potential customers makes them attractive to operators."
These smartly designed and often minimalist microhotels can mainly be found in expensive cities where a traditional hotel room can be too pricey for some travelers. The Times highlighted microhotels like the Hoxton, which started in London but now has locations in Paris, Chicago, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, Amsterdam, and Portland. Rooms range from the 130-square-foot "Shoebox" to the standard "Cosy" (215 square feet) to "Roomy" (270 square feet). The smallest room, the aptly named "Shoebox" starts at about $145 per night.
At Mama Shelter in Paris, another microhotel mentioned by the Times, rooms measure between 161 and 226 square feet, with prices starting at 89 euros, or just under $100 a night.
And in New York, there are hotels like Moxy, where the smallest room is 150 square feet and costs as little as $126 per night, and Yotel, which calls its rooms "cabins." A solo cabin at Yotel is 114 square feet and starts at about $148 per night.
Pod 39, a microhotel in Midtown Manhattan that opened back in 2012, doesn’t list its room sizes on its website, but Forbes reported when it opened that they range from 60 to 120 square feet. Pod 39’s "mini bunk pod" room that sleeps two people is the cheapest deal, with rates as low as $98 per night.
If you don’t mind sleeping in a bunk bed, that’s quite the steal compared to the average hotel room in Manhattan, which costs about $216 per night.
And then there’s Arlo, a boutique microhotel in New York City that recently opened a location in Miami, which offers 150-square-foot guest rooms — some with bunk beds — for between $335 to $535 a night on average.
Microhotels are designed to optimize every square inch — and to save developers money.
I visited Arlo last year and found that while the rooms were definitely small, they were designed in such a way that a short stay for someone with minimal luggage would be entirely comfortable.
Yes, you have to walk through the bathroom to get to the bed, but space-saving tricks like a fold-up desk and floor-to-ceiling windows kept the room from feeling cramped.
Business Insider/Jessica Tyler
Stephani Robson, a senior lecturer at the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University, told the Times, microhotels are designed to "make optimal use of every square inch."
For hotel developers, the main draw of microhotels is being able to fit more rooms into a hotel, and the design makes them easier to clean and maintain than traditional guest rooms, according to the Times.
Some microhotel rooms are more like sleeping pods than rooms.
With the rise of microhotels has come the rise of sleeping pods, like mattress company Casper’s nap pods.
And sometimes, there’s not much of a difference between a microhotel and a nap pod.
Sleepbox, which launched in 2019 and bills itself a "smart microhotel," has no bathrooms and no showers. Its only current location is in Dulles International Airport in Washington, DC, where it has 16 soundproof "rooms" that can be booked through a smartphone app.
The standard room size is 39 square feet and a compact room is 30 square feet, according to AFAR. These rooms are booked by the hour and cap out at 12 hours. Rates are $40 for the first hour for a standard room and $30 for the first hour for a compact room, with each additional hour $30 and $20, respectively.
Each room comes with a memory foam XL twin bed, pull-out desk, organizational drawers, Wi-Fi, and a reading lamp. The catch is that there are no bathrooms or showers, so travelers must use the airport’s facilities.
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