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More hotels opening in airports

 

Sheraton Hotels & Resorts

In March, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts opened the Sheraton Malpensa, which is attached to Terminal One of the Milan Malpensa Airport in Italy. The Sheraton has plans to build another four hotels adjacent to airports by the end of 2012.

The days of snoozing upright in an airport terminal chair during that long layover may soon be over. At some of the world’s busiest airports, travelers can book a hotel room to catch a nap or take a warm shower — all just minutes from the runway.

“We sell our cabins literally by the hour. You book only what you need,” said Jo Berrington, marketing manager for Yotel, a no-frills hotel chain now in London’s Heathrow airport, London’s Gatwick airport and Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport. Yotel’s rooms are a mere 75 square feet, with just enough room for a bed, desk and shower.

Travelers can check in and out of the capsule-like rooms at any time of the day. A four-hour block of time costs about $45, and an overnight stay costs about $90. The U.K.-based Yotel expects to have five more in-airport hotels in the works within the next year, including a proposal for New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Courtesy Yotel

A compact room at Yotel, a hotel chain that rents rooms the size of a ship's cabin by the hour or by the night at London's Heathrow airport, London's Gatwick airport and Amsterdam's Schiphol airport.

Airport lodging has been around for years, offering a bed to travelers with late-night arrivals or early departures — or stranded due to bad weather. There’s the Hyatt Regency inside the Orlando airport, the Marriott in the Tampa airport and The Sheraton in the Bradley airport in Windsor Locks, Conn.

But things are starting to change, as airports continue to evolve into centers of commerce with bars, restaurants and shopping, said Scott Berman, the U.S. leader of hospitality and leisure at PricewaterhouseCoopers. “There has been a rapid expansion of hotel development in and around the busiest airports,” said Berman.

It’s not limited to no-frills. New luxury hotels are popping up at airports, complete with spa services, cigar bars and exercise rooms.

Last year, Hilton Hotels & Resorts opened a 320-room hotel inside Terminal 3 of the Beijing Capital Airport in China. The hotel has seven restaurants and bars, two ballrooms, 21 meeting rooms and spa services, a cigar bar and fitness center.

The Hilton chain expects to open hotels at JFK airport in New York and the Frankfurt airport in Germany in December and three more hotels inside airports in Nigeria, in Ghana and in Alberta, Canada, by 2014.

Last spring, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts opened a hotel inside the Milan Malpensa Airport in Italy and by the end of next year, Sheraton will add more hotels adjacent to airports internationally in Azerbaijan and Moscow and domestically in Detroit and Pittsburgh. Meeting and conference rooms will be included. “You will have business travelers fly in, do business and never venture into the city,” said Hoyt Harper, Sheraton’s global brand leader. “Convenience is very important.” 

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Jennifer Alsever is an msnbc.com contributor.