Kicking Back at the Minute Suites Atlanta, Free of Charge!
If there’s one thing that’s absent from the air travel experience it’s privacy. Even if you pay for a full fare ticket in first class, there’s no guaranteed privacy. I’ve had the opportunity to visit a handful or premium airline lounges and even airside hotel rooms. The only premium airline lounge that I can honestly say provided private atmosphere was Lufthansa’s First Class Terminal. Still, both Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses and American Airlines’ renovated Flagship Lounge provide a great deal of privacy.
Though airline lounges rarely provide true privacy, there are other options. You could go out of your way to find an abandoned and desolate corner of an airport but even if you’re lucky in your pursuit for the perfect resting place, you’re still in a public space. Another, and much more appealing, option is an airside hotel or nap room.
Airside hotels are very rare and pretty much non-existent within the United States. Nap rooms and private suites are far more widespread and almost common place at major hubs in Europe and Asia. Still, within the United States, there are only a handful of nap rooms and private suites. One of the main companies capitalizing on stranded passengers and groggy travelers is Minute Suites.
Minute Suites offers private nap rooms and showers for a fee to all passengers regardless of what cabin of service or airline you maybe flying. Minute Suites is available at Dallas-Fort Worth, Atlanta, and Philadephia. All Minute Suites locations are airside meaning you don’t have to exit the secured area during a layover.
My first experience with Minute Suites was at their Dallas-Fort Worth location after a red-eye from Seattle to DFW. I purchased two-hour access which totaled $84.00. Not the best purchase I’ve ever made but I did manage to get an hour and a half of sleep. After my experience at Lufthansa’s First Class Terminal and the Plaza Premium LHR private suites, I don’t think I can spend over $30 an hour with a clear conscience for a room at the Minute Suites. Thankfully, in recent months, all Minute Suites locations have joined the Priority Pass network allowing Priority Pass holders to have access to a private room free or charge for an hour. During a recent layover in Atlanta, I decided to visit the Minute Suites location and use my free hour.
Check-In at the Minute Suites ATL
Minute Suites ATL is located in the B Concourse near gate B16. Walking from the airport’s train system or underground walkway, the Minute Suites is located on the left. It’s fairly small and can be easily missed. There really isn’t any signage that indicates the location of the Minutes Suites until you arrive at the lobby.
Upon arriving at the lobby area, I was greeted by the very professional and polite front desk agent. I inquired about a free hour using my Priority Pass membership. The agent confirmed that Minute Suites was indeed partners with Priority Pass and that there was a room available. He was extremely courteous and personable, more than the agents at most of Delta’s SkyClubs. He informed me that he had to first clean the room in which I’d be staying but that he’d add on an additional 15 minutes for my wait.
While he left to clean my room, I walked around the small lobby and took some pictures.
I’m using the term lobby liberally. It’s really just a small atrium barely large enough to accommodate the front desk. However, there are still a lot of items in the front desk area for sale. The majority of what’s for sale is toiletries. I noticed a pretty hefty selection of Jack Black products. I even considered stocking up on pomade but restrained myself. Additionally, bottles of water and other soft drinks were available for purchase.
Directly beyond the toiletries display shelf is a short hallway lined with doors. The hallway is very short and I’m still amazed that Minute Suites is able to fit as many rooms and showers into such a small space.
My Private Room at the Minute Suites ATL
Roughly five minutes after I checked in, the front desk agent returned to walk me to my room. I was assigned the last room on the left. It was the only room with a sliding door which I’d imagine allows the room to be accessed by those needing assistance. At the Dallas location, there are premium rooms with larger couches and more space available for purchase, however, from what I can tell, all rooms are virtually the same at the Atlanta location.
The first thing I noticed when I entered the room was the smell of sweat and bodies. Not body odor but just body. I could tell by the feeling and smell of the room that the room I was in had seen its fair share of guests. Within a few minutes, I couldn’t make out the smell anymore, however, the grimy feel was still evident.
The Couch, Daybed
Unfortunately, one area in which Minutes Suites is greatly lacking is the most key component of the room. There isn’t a real bed in the rooms, only a couch which doubles as a daybed. The couch is kept in fair condition but honestly, isn’t the most comfortable piece of furniture I’ve sat in. I didn’t use it this time around as I had only planned to use the room to charge my devices and get some work done on my laptop. However, from what I can remember from my previous two visits is the couch isn’t an ideal piece of furniture on which to get some shut eye.
Still, the couch is long enough and wide enough to accommodate most guests and if you don’t plan to lay horizontally, I’d say a good three guests can lounge on the couch.
Amenities are scarce and even bottled water costs extra. Each guest gets two pillows and a blanket. Both the pillows and blanket smell and neither are very comfortable. Still, if you’re in need of some rest, they’ll do the trick.
Though not conveniently located, there are more than enough power outlets in each room. Other amenities include hangers on which to hang clothes, a noise reduction system, alarm clock, and individual climate controls.
Entertainment and Wi-Fi
There’s a TV in each room as well as free wi-fi access. The TV features the typical line-up though, I can’t imagine many travelers care to watch network TV when they have access to their phones and tablets. There was supposed to be access to a flight tracking program from the TV which I was looking forward to using, however, I couldn’t find this feature and assumed it was no longer offered.
There’s No Bathroom and Showers Cost Extra
A major drawback of Minute Suites business model is that showers don’t come with a room. At the Plaza Premium Lounge LHR, a shower is available in all guest rooms. Out of the entire Minute Suites network, only a single room has direct access to a shower or bathroom and that’s at the Dallas location. Yet, access to both still costs extra even if you’re in a room with a door to a restroom. I’ve never actually taken a shower at a Minute Suites location so I can’t attest to the quality or cleanliness. I think charging $30 for a shower in addition to charging outrageous rates for sub par rooms is enough to keep me from taking a shower at Minute Suites
This isn’t the case with every Minute Suites location and isn’t so much a Minute Suites problem as it is a space limitation issue. The Minute Suites ATL doesn’t feature a restroom. To use the restroom, you have to walk two minutes down the concourse to access the public restrooms. This wasn’t an issue for me as I was just staying at the Minute Suites for an hour nor did I plan to sleep. However, I can’t imagine it’s a pleasant experience to have to get up, get dressed, and walk halfway down the concourse to access the restroom in the middle of the night.
The Minute Suites ATL isn’t worth it if you don’t have free access. Unless you really need to get some sleep or take a shower, I’d avoid Minutes Suites. However, Minutes Suites is the perfect place to stretch out and relax if you have free access through a membership like Priority Pass or Lounge Club. The rooms are basic and aren’t the cleanest but the service I’ve experienced all three times now has been great. Still, even great service doesn’t warrant such an insane price for such a basic room.
What do you think of Minutes Suites? Have you ever stayed at the Minutes Suites ATL?