Co.Design

Coming Soon: Tiny Hotel Rooms Right on the Airport Concourse

Catch some sleep between flights -- without drooling on the guy next to you.

The legions of airline passengers stranded around the world several months back, victims of Volcanogate 2010, shone the floodlights on one seemingly inevitable fact of airports: They make for terrible hotels.

That's about to change, if Dream and Fly has its way. The Barcelona-based design group has an idea to fit-out airports everywhere in small, designy "luxury rooms" -- think the Standard hard by Connections Bar & Grill.

Called "Bubbles," they're fully equipped with beds, bathrooms, and tons of places to plug in laptops and the like (another seemingly inevitable fact of airports: they never have enough outlets). They come in three sizes; the largest, at 108 square feet, has a bed, a baby cot, and a bathroom. You rent them at a kiosk or online, and the rate is hourly. "Each Bubble has an astonishingly practical configuration, [and is] individually designed and built with attractive materials, offering great sleeping comfort and a unique experience," Dream and Fly's Cédric Michiels Chalamont tells us in an email.

It might sound weird at first -- only a crazy person would want to sleep at an airport. But because of strict security regulations, people are spending more time than ever at airports, and airports have adapted by turning themselves into little cities, with decent restaurants, bars, and way too many stores. Why not add sleeping accommodations to the mix? It'd be perfect for passengers with long layovers who want to catch some shuteye but don't want to pass out on a chair. It'd also be great for people with canceled flights. Instead of wasting money on a cab to some crappy airport hotel, they could fetch up in a pod. Imagine how many people these things could have helped last April.

And it's not just a pipe dream. Chalamont says Dream and Fly has plans to implement Bubbles in two international airports. (Because of NDA contracts, he declined to specify which ones.)

Obviously, there are details to hammer out. How do you keep them clean? How do you make sure they don't turn into vessels for hot, airport hanky panky? And even if they are practical, will people actually use them? Or will they become like airport luggage carts, the exclusive realm of old people and families with too many children? Maybe we're just not used to anything good coming out of places you rent by the hour.

[Images courtesy of Dream and Fly]

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