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No Fear No Favour

La Siesta, Spain’s key to happiness and well-being

The concept of siestas came from Spaniards. As the mid-day sun goes up, businesses in small town Spain pull down their shutters for a traditional nap. In big urban centres, modern business trends have ended that habit, leaving many Spaniards who work long hours exhausted.

Now, Maria Estrella Jorro de Inza has found a way to bring back the siesta, making money while her countrymen nap. Bankers, lawyers and consultants catch up on their sleep at Siesta and Go- Madrid’s first nap-bar located in Azca, in the heart of the city’s financial district that’s home to firms like HSBC, Google and Deloitte.

The concept is Spartan: for just €14 (£12.30) an hour, you get to relax and take a power nap in a private bedroom before heading back to work.

“It’s funny that we’re known for the siesta, but we haven’t been professional about it,” said De Inza, the nap-bar’s 32- year-old founder. “We get a lot of men in suits who just want to relax and women wanting to take their heels off. Lunch break is the busiest time.”

This idea, however, is not original. The founder came upon this while on a trip to Tokyo. There, people have nap cafes. The cafes offer clients the option of a short snooze during the day- a practice some Japanese claim has enormous health benefits.

For tired Spaniards, De Inza’s siesta bar offers a sanctuary. Her nap-bar has 19 beds, and guests are provided with fresh sheets, earplugs, slippers and a coffee area to freshen up. She gets about 30 people daily for her 19 beds, mostly junior employees in their 20s and 30s, and men in their 50s.

The centre, which opened in May, is still something of a novelty and De Inza expects business to really pick up in the autumn. While she’s keeping an eye open for other locations for similar ventures, for now, she may just keep the current centre open later.

“We’ve been asked to extend our hours, we close at 7 pm,” she said. “If we see an appetite for more late-night naps, we’ll consider it.”

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