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The Economist | Oct 16th 2012 | by A.B. | Published on the website I Direct Link

The receptionist will assume you want it for a romantic assignation and will look at you in a certain way. You will feel embarrassed for one of two reasons: a) your business meeting has been horribly misconstrued and you can't now face going up to the room with a client; or b) you have been found out.

Dayuse Hotels wants to take the pain out of such transactions. Having launched in Paris in 2010 it now has deals with over 300 hotels in nine countries. When you visit the website to look at availability for a particular city on a particular date, you are told for which hours of the day each hotel is prepared to sell you a room, and at what discount (normally 30%-70%) from the usual daily rate.

The website claims these few hours in a fancy hotel will give you a second office (for meetings), a second bed (for the jet-lagged traveller seeking rest between meetings) or a second life (that's the sexy one). I can't help thinking that the references to meetings and jet-lag are an attempt to give a veneer of sensible respectability to an undertaking that's otherwise a bit nudge nudge, wink wink. Perhaps the hotels' owners like the notion that they are letting out their rooms as much for meetings of the mind as for those of the body.

I may be misunderstanding business travellers' needs, though. Would any reader book a hotel room for a few hours for the purpose of business?