Recharge App Lets You Book Hotel Rooms by the Minute
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
In the hotel industry, being known as an establishment that rents rooms by the hour has never been a good thing — until recently.
In 2015, Recharge Labs Inc. launched Recharge, a mobile app that allows harried travelers and anyone in need of a quick shower or nap the chance to book a high-end hotel room in San Francisco (where the company is based) by the minute. Now, with the support of JetBlue Technology Ventures — the airline’s technology-meets-travel incubator, which is also behind Zunum Aero’s new fleet of hybrid planes — the app is offering the same by-the-minute deals in New York City.
Like its Bay Area offerings, where the app has partnered with 15 hotels like the W San Francisco and Taj Campton Place, among others, its 16 NYC partners — including The Pierre, The Knickerbocker and 1 Hotel Central Park — are all four- and five-star hotels.
So just who uses Recharge? According to the company, it’s a mix of families, business travelers, commuters and red-eye travelers looking for a crash-pad. Anyone who has ever had to try and find a “quiet” space to conduct a conference call or just find 30 minutes of privacy in either city can certainly understand the appeal. And JetBlue’s backing of the business, which was announced this week, along with the news that the app has expanded to New York, certainly attests to the need for such a service.
There is no minimum-stay requirement, though there is technically a minimum fee involved at some hotels. According to the company, the average stay is approximately two hours, with room costs ranging anywhere between $0.66 and $3 per minute, depending on the hotel.
All you need to do is download the app, which is available for both iOS and Android and let Location Services track your current whereabouts so you can find the nearest short-term stay hotel. Hotels come in one of two categories — Premium or Luxury — and offer all the same amenities you’d receive if you were an overnight guest (minus the “overnight” part, of course).
Once you find a hotel you like, click on it and confirm your payment information to “check-in.” When you arrive at the hotel, just check in as you normally would, but tell the front desk staff that you’ve booked your stay with Recharge. The clock starts ticking either once you get your key or 30 minutes from the time you booked, whichever comes first. (That 30 minutes is to allow for travel time, so it’s best to book right when you’re near or at the venue.) Once you’re ready to leave, simply “Check-out” through the app.
When I opened up the Recharge app on a Monday afternoon, I had my choice of 10 NYC hotels. Among the listings were Premium spots like the W New York ($50 per hour with a $25 minimum), and Luxury properties like The Knickerbocker Hotel in Times Square ($80 per hour with a $40 minimum), and The Pierre, which tipped the pricing scales at $120 per hour with a $60 minimum.
For travelers, there are a number of scenarios where a 30-minute-plus stop for a quick shower and shave makes sense. It’s a win for the hotel, too, which — even if it’s fully booked for the night — often has any number of vacant rooms during the day, with several hours between check-out and check-in. (According to Recharge, a majority of hotel guests only occupy their rooms from 6:00pm to 9:00am).
“We’re fortunate to have seen 800 percent year over year growth in San Francisco and overwhelming customer loyalty, with more than 75 percent of stays coming from return bookings,” Emmanuel Bamfo, Recharge’s CEO and co-founder, said in a press statement. “We believe there’s an immense opportunity in the hospitality industry to optimize hotel room vacancy and are excited to start offering travelers with flexible access to high-end hotels across New York City.”
“Do you rent rooms by the hour?” has never sounded so complimentary.
All images courtesy of Recharge.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
- Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.