Hotels that rent by the hour are not usually the kind of places you’d want to stay in.
But thanks to a new app that allows guests to book five-star rooms by the minute, the days of killing time in McDonald’s or Starbucks before a flight, in between meetings or while waiting to check in to your real hotel could soon be over.
Recharge, currently only available in New York and San Francisco but soon to expand across America and the world, lets users book rooms in plush hotels, such as the W New York and the Westin San Francisco and only charges for how many minutes or hours you spend in the room.
Similar to Uber, Recharge doesn’t allow booking very far in advance – you book the room in real time, and have a 30-minute window to arrive and collect your keys.
That means a traveller forced to check out of their hotel at 11am who isn’t boarding their flight until late at night could check in to a hotel room via Recharge to shower, pack, nap and relax for as little as USD $0.66 (AUD $0.90) a minute (plus a 14.75 per cent tax).
There are so many situations where this app would come in handy. You could skip the overcrowded changing rooms after a gym class and go to a hotel room to shower and dress. You could even check in just to use a hotel’s gym or pool area.
Women looking for a quiet and clean place to breastfeed could also make use of Recharge. The app is also likely to be popular with remote workers and digital nomad types, who can get a few hours of work done in peace, instead of fighting over the power points and drinking hot garbage-flavoured water at Starbucks.
It’s also an exciting option for luxury hotel sticky beaks, who can treat themselves to a few hours in a hotel room that normally costs hundreds of dollars a night.
So far Recharge has 15 hotels in San Francisco on the app and 16 in NYC, including coveted properties like The Pierre, The Knickerbocker and 1 Hotel Central Park.
Headed to NYC or SFO? Here are our picks of the hotels on Recharge.
The Knickerbocker, New York
For luxury and location in New York, it’s hard to beat The Knickerbocker. In the heart of Times Square, the landmark building underwent a major refurbishment in 2015, so all 330 rooms are modern, comfortable and stylish.
But you won’t want to spend long in your room when arguably Times Square’s best rooftop bar is just an elevator ride away – St. Cloud Social Rooftop, which has an unbeatable view of the lights and action below. Try to nab one of the elevated corner Sky Pods to literally take the experience next-level.
W New York
Location, style and service: the W New York ticks all the boxes of a great Big Apple hotel. It’s close to Central Park, Times Square and Broadway, and is also a destination in itself.
The lobby bar is a great spot for people watching, the Bliss spa is the perfect place to get a jet lag-fighting facial or massage, and the W Insider team is on hand to help organise any experience on your NYC bucket list.
Taj Campton Place San Francisco
The Taj is one of San Francisco’s premier hotels, a historic property on Stockton Street close to Union Square, with Instagram-able views from the rooms. Rates normally begin at USD $360 per night, but since the hotel is on Recharge anyone can camp out there for a few hours to experience it for a fraction of the price.
Got a story tip? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org