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Terminal Discomfort: Staying at an Airport Hotel

This story appears in the September 2011 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Like many business travelers, I loathe airport hotels almost as much as I need them. Is it their proximity to the numbing impersonality of air travel that makes them feel so soulless? Or do they dispense with any pretense of warmth because their location (as close to the gate as possible, please) is their customers' only concern?

For the last night of a recent European trip, I booked a room at the Frankfurt Airport. I started dreading my stay almost immediately. I knew I'd be overnighting at the epicenter of traveler's ennui, that insidious malaise chronicled in Up in the Air and on frequent-flyer chat boards. Just thinking about an airport hotel conjures up an image for me of an early morning ride on a chilly shuttle bus with a handful of other lonely wayfarers, our phones bulging in one pocket, our travel documents in a clump in another.

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