August 22, 2007 ‘Space tourism’ is the latest buzz phrase to hit the high-end travel industry with cosmos tourists already visiting the international space station. Now news that a luxury hotel stay in space is as little as five short years away.

The Galactic Suite Project, run by directors Xavier Claramunt and Marsal Gifra, aims to offer travellers the “most thrilling and transcendent experience ever” with a stay on board their orbital luxury getaway. Upon arrival at the first ever (in our solar system at least) space resort, guests will be able to experience a new world of sensations including weightlessness, star gazing, amazing views of planet Earth with 15 sunsets in a day – not to mention being aboard a spaceship that takes you from 0 to 28,000kmh in 10 minutes.

It’s not just the stay in space that will entice the rich and famous to part with their hard-earned. Unlike those in the NASA program who face training in domestic locations in the US, travellers to Galactic Suite will undergo their astronautic preparation at a luxury hotel on a tropical island in the Caribbean,

Each journey is likely to take 18 weeks including time for training, the stay at Galactic Suite and return spaceship transfers. The project is due for completion in 2012 and tickets will be on sale from as early as 2008. The price will be slightly more affordable that the current cost for a walk in space (US$35 million), with a three-day stay estimated at around €3 million (US$4 million). Claramunt and Gifra believe the trip is a bargain considering “this is the first package deal, as it includes transport from the tourist’s home to the Caribbean island, the training required for journeys into orbit, the flight to the hotel and three nights accommodation in the Galactic Suite”.

The Galactic Suite Project was set up in Barcelona in January 2007 by various architects, aerospace engineers and industrial engineers from Spain and the US. The founders have already made initial contact with Japanese and UAE private investors interested in investing in the project which will require US$3 billion to complete.

The aim of the project is to develop an “orbital hotel chain” with modular space accommodation based on the concept of how a grapevine grows that will orbit the Earth at an altitude of 300 miles (450 km). The design and position in relation to the equator will allow visitors to orbit the Earth 15 times every day – and to see 15 sunrises! A truly stunning and enticing concept for the humble citizens of Earth to consider. Now where did I put that spare €3 million?