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Byline: Marisa Milanese
On Jan. 8 of this year, a new Sierra Suites hotel opened near the San Jose airport and checked in its first guest, Charles Warfel. Four months later, the 66-year-old cable contractor from Pennsylvania still hadn't checked out.
Not that the management is pushing. Sierra Suites, an extended-stay hotel, is specifically designed for people like Warfel: business travelers on long-term, long-distance assignments. ``Stay Awhile'' is printed on the entrance sign, and it's not just Warfel who has taken the words to heart. More than a third of the property's guests have checked in for at least a month.
Like most extended-stay properties, Sierra Suites allows stays as short as one night, but the first price break kicks in at five consecutive nights, when the nightly rate drops from $159 to $139. Guests staying more than 30 nights save as much as 40 percent off a one-night rate. These discount patterns are the same for extended-stay hotels everywhere: The longer you stay, the less you pay.
The saving is just one reason for the booming popularity of extended-stay hotels, which have proliferated across the country in recent years. Until last year, they were the …