On Mother’s Day, my mom and I flew to Cancun on a whim for a 3-night stay at the Nizuc Resort & Spa. We took a redeye and ended up at Dallas Fort Worth at 5:30 AM for a 6 hour layover. Normally, a 6-hour airport layover wouldn’t be so bad, especially with lounge access. But when it’s early and you’re sleep deprived, the lounge isn’t ideal unless there is a sleeping area. Checking into a hotel is usually a hassle since it involves a long shuttle ride, waiting in line, checking in, checking out, and making your way back to the terminal in time for the flight. Luckily, during my 6-hour layover at DFW I came across the perfect alternative: Minute Suites.
Minute Suites is basically a mini-hotel inside the airport terminal where rooms can be rented by the hour. The Minute Suites at DFW were close to our gate and thus a convenient place to rest before our flight. I actually passed it on my way to the ticketing desk, trying to get us on an earlier flight. Minute Suites consist of small, window-less rooms furnished with a leather trundle bed, desk and TV. Premium rooms with bathrooms are also available along with shower rentals.
At $130 for 5 hours, Minute Suites cost more than the nearby Hyatt Regency DFW, but convenience made it worthwhile. In our case, we were merely steps away from our departure gate and check-in took two minutes. Even if we overslept and woke up with 10 minutes to spare, we would have still made our flight. Being so close to our departure gate allowed us extra time to sleep and that’s really what Minute Suites is about: Not luxury or the comfort and amenities of a hotel. Rather, it’s a place to sleep comfortably with easy access to your departure gate.
When I walked into the Minute Suite for the first time, it looked pretty claustrophobic – especially because there was no window. It was a small room just big enough for the trundle bed. We had to remove the desk chair to make room for the lower mattress. Despite my initial reservations, the complete darkness and lack of sound created an ideal environment for uninterrupted sleep. In fact, it was probably the best I’ve ever slept.
The room had temperature controls which could be easily adjusted, along with the lighting. The room also came equipped with “extras” that could be purchased: Bottled water, snacks, energy drinks and toiletries. The bed itself was very comfortable. It looks like a leather couch, but another leather mattress can be pulled out from below. The attendant brought us each a blanket and pillow, and offered us a wake-up call. It was probably a combination of sleep deprivation, the complete silence in that room, as well as the comfort of that leather bed but I have never slept better in my life.
While Minute-Suite rentals cost more than a hotel room and only cover a 5-hour rental, they are the perfect solution for a layover that’s not quite long enough for a hotel stay but too long not to go without sleep. The convenience of being right inside the terminal gives Minute Suites a huge advantage over hotels, even if they are pricier. The lack of windows also makes them perfectly designed for sleep.
I have since discovered that if you book your Minute Suites online, you can get a much better deal. The Minute Suites website shows suites being rented in 8-hour increments for $140. That’s in line with what you’d pay at an airport hotel. For an 8-hour layover, I wouldn’t recommend Minute Suites unless you plan on sleeping the entire time. The space is small and while there is a desk and TV, it can get claustrophobic in there without windows. Really, the ideal use of Minute Suites is for sleep.
After a solid 4.5 hours of sleep, the attendant knocked on the door to let us know it was time to go. We got our things together and simply walked out. No need to review our bill or check out. No need to rush and get a ride to the airport. All we did was walk to the public bathroom next door to freshen up and in another 30 seconds we were at our gate. We continued the rest of our trip well-rested and recharged.
Have you ever stayed at a Minute Suites before? Under what condition would you book a Minute Suite over a regular hotel room?
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