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Italy's ultra-cheap airport 'capsule hotel' lets you sleep in a pod while you wait for your plane

Japan may have pioneered the “capsule hotel,” where guests stay in no-frills micro-hotel rooms and sometimes pay by the hour, but Italy is making moves to perfect it.

The country’s first capsule hotel is open for business at Naples Capodichino International Airport. Each of the 42 capsule rooms at BenBo has soundproof walls, a window (which is important in such cramped quarters), a drop-down table, a TV, and dedicated shoe storage, as The Contemporist reports.

These photos show what it’s like to stay at BenBo.

Leave it to one of the fashion capitals of the world to make the capsule hotel chic.

When a passenger misses a flight or craves some personal space during a long layover at the international airport in Naples, they can book a pod at BenBo, which is located on-site.

Each pod can be reserved for between one and nine hours. It costs about $11 an hour.

A pod that you pay for by the hour is an economical option for travellers who can't afford an annual pass at an airline's private lounge. According to Consumer Reports, these passes can set individuals back $US500 -- though some lounges offer single-day passes that are a steal at $US50.

There are 42 pods total. They face each other in rows, making a slight resemblance to prison cells. But white, tangerine, and light green colours give them vibrancy.

Staying at BenBo has its perks. You can beat the lines at the airport's public restrooms and use one of the hotels' 16 private facilities. (We wish they were attached to the pods.)

Each bathroom has a toilet, sink, shower, and fresh towels, so guests can freshen up.

A small lounge space provides space for guests to sit with their laptops, books, or snacks. Large windows and indoor plants help the cramped quarters feel more airy.

Now let's check out the rooms.

When a guest arrives at their pod, they unlock the room with a key card. The door opens automatically -- a nice touch because guests presumably have their hands full of luggage.

Inside, the pod is washed in white. It pays an homage to Japan's minimalist aesthetic.

Guests can sit at the bed and use the pull-down table to get some work done.

Or they can lay back and watch television. The pod comes equipped with WiFi and a touchscreen tablet, which displays flight information and allows guests to set an alarm.

The storage is lacking (there's a single compartment for shoes). But the pods at BenBo are still more spacious than the coffin-style rooms found in some Japanese capsule hotels.

BenBo is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It's not the Four Seasons, but it beats curling up in an airport chair any day.

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