The Relaxation Vault as seen in Portal
Relaxation Vaults are rooms in which test subjects are temporarily held in stasis before and after being put through testing. Test subjects would have to be extracted from the Extended Relaxation Center and into the Relaxation Vault, and at the conclusion of testing, test subjects would most likely be put back into their Extended Relaxation Chamber.
Relaxation Vaults contain beds, tables, toilets, and can only be entered and exited by means of a portal. However, that is not always the case. For example in Portal: Prelude, the test chamber includes the normal items with addition of a button that activates a portal spawner to escape the room as opposed to simply waiting for the countdown timer. These vaults appear in both Portal and the single-player campaign of Portal 2.
The Relaxation Vault serves as the temporary housing for test subjects after they are deployed from the Extended Relaxation Center. GLaDOS has also stated at the end of testing in Portal that the Relaxation Vaults are supposed to be stationed at the end of a test, most likely to carry test subjects back into extended relaxation before they are needed for testing again. However, due to her obsession of killing humans, GLaDOS instead opts for killing Chell by lowering her into an incinerator at the end of testing.
In the beginning of Portal, Chell awakens to find herself in a Relaxation Vault in Test Chamber 00 at the very beginning of the game. After being briefly introduced to the testing environment by GLaDOS, an orange portal opens and she is free to walk into the first test chamber.
The Relaxation Vault can also be seen in the comic Portal 2: Lab Rat set many years prior to the setting of Portal 2. In the comic, Aperture technician and survivor Doug Rattmann made his last appearance as he climbed into the stasis bed found in Chell's Relaxation Vault before disappearing completely.
During Portal 2's single-player campaign however after Chell is reawakened by Wheatley in the beginning of the game, she is transported to the remnants of Test Chamber 00, and falls into her Relaxation Vault where she must wait until prerecorded message by the Announcer finishes playing, which triggers an orange portal to appear. The stasis bed is nowhere to be found around the entire test chamber, indicating that something has carried the stasis bed away after Doug Rattmann had rested into it.
Another Relaxation Vault is seen in the chapter The Escape, as Chell falls bait into GLaDOS' trap to enter the Central AI Chamber. This Relaxation Vault is used to control Chell from moving beyond it and contains only a toilet seat, most likely GLaDOS' subtle way of telling Chell to not wet herself.
In the early development stages of Portal 2, when the game was originally a prequel titled F-STOP, a piece of concept artwork involving Relaxation Vaults for robots was created.
Earliest known version of the Relaxation Vault
Pre-release Relaxation Vault
Pre-release Relaxation Vault seen through a security camera of ApertureScience.com
Pre-release Relaxation Vault used as menu background
F-STOP concept art showing robot test subjects housed in a Relaxation Vault
The Relaxation Vault as seen in Portal 2
The Relaxation Vault in Portal: Prelude.
Closeup of the Stasis Bed
List of appearances