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Hotels that rent rooms during the day were once considered the domain of red light district properties for illicit rendezvous. But now you’re just as likely to find an executive traveller checking in during these hours to freshen up before a meeting or relax after a long-haul flight and then leave.

Although airport hotels have offered this service for transiting passengers for more than a decade, it is only in the last few years that city hotels have jumped on the idea, hoping to maximise the use of rooms that would otherwise be sitting empty. Guests will usually be asked to leave before 6 pm or 7 pm so the rooms can be readied for overnight visitors, and the hotel will not normally offer an hourly rate, just a fixed price for the day.

“This gives executives a room to have a sleep, refresh, use the leisure facilities and catch up with some work in peace,” said Sophie Simpson, director of sales at De Vere Dunston Hall, a hotel in Norwich in the UK. “We provided this service in the last few years due to requests from travellers coming in on early flights or travelling overnight.”

However, despite this service being available from global chains such as Holiday Inn, Ibis, Novotel, Hilton and Sheraton, most hotels – including airport hotels – don’t promote the service on their websites. The best way to find out is to call ahead, ask if a day check in is possible and how early/late you can check in/check out.

To find out more, there are a few additional resources you can turn to. The most significant is the Belgium-based website Between9and5. Despite the name, you can book stays between 8 am and 7 pm in two to five star hotels around the world. It is partnered with many global hotel brands including Radisson, Hyatt, Best Western and Marriott, and rates are dependent on how busy the hotel is and what time rooms are needed for overnight guests. The site claims to offer up to 70% off the lowest overnight prices in some cases.

France-based website Dayuse-hotels has similar day rates at 400 hotels across nine countries from Italy to the US, and is growing. Rooms can be as low as £79 for the day in central London or $100 in Manhattan. The site suggests using the room to store luggage, as a second office or even – as the concept originally began – for lovers seeking discreet encounters.

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