You can now get a fancy hotel room in New York for $1 a minute

Reservations for one.
Reservations for one.
Image: Reuters/Carlo Allegri
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New Yorkers can be found eating, napping, flossing, changing outfits, doing their makeup, and even clipping their toe nails on the subway. When they resurface, they spend trying to speed-walk around groups of dawdling tourists and avoid being spat at. Anyone in the city that needs a respite from all this can now book a hotel room—even for just a few minutes.

Recharge, a two-year-old San Francisco-based company that gives users the chance to book a hotel room for exactly the amount of time they need it, launched in New York this week. The company has raised funding from JetBlue airline’s venture arm.

In New York, the 16 hotels partnering with Recharge include The Pierre, W New York, The Knickerbocker, 1 Hotel Central Park, Arlo, and the Quin. The price for a stay ranges from $0.83 to $2 per minute (excluding the 14.75% lodging tax), meaning a minimum of $1 per minute.

There is no minimum length of stay, though the company says the average stay is about 2 hours. You cannot book rooms in advance but instead select a room available close to you when you need it, and your billing cycle starts 30 minutes after you book or once you pick up your key. While other companies such as Dayuse or Hotelsbyday also work in the short-term room-rental market, they focus on less-expensive hotels and only allow users to book predetermined morning or afternoon slots.

While the idea brings to mind a seedier kind of hotel-by-the-minute experience, the short hotel stays enabled by Recharge are supposed to be used by commuters who need a place to freshen up, an alternative for working in a coffee shop when you need a quiet place with Wi-Fi, or a place to rest after a redeye flight.

The most surprising use of the app, according to CEO and founder Manny Bamfo, is for nursing mothers. And in the future, Bamfo says, the app could also be used to provide an extra perk for first-class travelers.