Take a modern, stylish boutique hotel. Then automate its check-in process. Then shrink down its rooms. Then place this hotel inside the terminal of a busy airport. What you’ll get as your result is Yotel—Spot Cool Stuff’s favorite chain of airport-only accommodations.
The Yotel concept was inspired by Japanese capsule hotels, those hostels in Tokyo and Osaka that some liken to sleeping in a drawer. Except, Yotel does not have coffin-like beds stacked one atop another like some capsule hotels do. Instead, Yotel has cozy (read, “small”) private rooms designed to provide a weary air traveler the maximum of comfort and convenience using a minimum amount of space. And for a minimum of cost.
Every Yotel room (referred to as a “cabin” in Yotel parlance) includes free in-room wireless internet, a flatscreen television, an en-suite bathroom with rain shower, a fold-out desk and 24-hour room service. Every cabin also has plenty of power outlets for recharging your travel gadgets, and a bed with quality sheets and a premium mattress for recharging yourself.
Cabins come in three types: (Scroll down, or click on the cabin type, to see photos and a sample floor plan)
• Standard cabins are 7 sq. meters (or 75 sq. ft.) into which is squeezed a larger-than-average single bed that guests climb into via a pull-out foot stool. The shower, sink and toilet are all crammed together in the same bathroom area. If you have a lot of luggage you’ll find these cabins a bit of tight fit. But somehow it is designed smartly enough to all work. Standard cabins are meant for one person though two can squeeze in at no additional cost.
• Premium cabins are 10 sq. meters (108 sq. ft.) but feel significantly larger than their standard cabin brethren—not only is there a luggage storage area but the premium cabin’s comfy double bed retracts into a couch. This cabin type also has a shower area that’s semi-divided from the rest of the bathroom.
• Twin cabins are also 10 sq. meters but feel smaller than the premium ones. With their single bunk beds, cabins of this type are designed to be shared by two people who aren’t a couple.
Yotel cabins of all types are extremely comfortable. We wouldn’t want to spend more than one night in their small, window-less confines. But for resting up before or after a flight Yotel is brilliant. Our only complaint, and it is a slight one, is that the wall between the bathroom and the “bedroom” is made of glass (to make the cabin appear larger presumably). There is a curtain you can draw, but it is drawn from the bedroom side and doesn’t really provide a sense of total privacy. So, if you are sharing a cabin with some one you aren’t already completely close with then, well, you’ll feel that much closer after your stay.
Yotel currently has locations at Schiphol Airport (Lounge 2) in Amsterdam and in London at Gatwick (South Terminal) and Heathrow (Terminal 4). Rates for a standard cabin start at €35/£25 for the first four hours and €8/£6.50 each hour after that. Premium and twin cabins are around 60% more.
Update: Yotel To Open in Times Square, NYC
In June 2011, Yotel will be opening in New York City’s Times Square. It’ll be Yotel’s fourth location and first outside an airport.
The basic concept of the cabins—cool, comfortable, high-tech, small—will be the same at the Times Square Yotel as it is at its airport properties. The differences:
• Some cabins will have windows.
• No more standard class cabins (see above). Instead, there will be a new class of “First Cabin.” The best of the First cabins sports a private outdoor terrace with a daybed and hot tub! It might be end up being the coolest room for the money in all for New York City.
• At airport Yotels, guests have the entire airport terminal at which to eat, drink and hang out. For their Times Square location, Yotel had to create those areas. An attached restaurant and bar will feature large communal tables for meeting others. The “Studyo” common area will have couches where guests can lounge and also provide space for meetings, yoga lessons and parties. Best of all, there’s a rooftop terrace with sun bathing chairs and evening camp fires!
Spot Cool Stuff hopes to conduct an in-person review of the Times Square Yotel after it opens. To stay informed on that and other cool travel ideas follow us on Twitter, join us on Facebook, subscribe to our RSS feed or sign up to receive our posts by email (in the light blue box at the top right of every SCS travel page).
A Review of the Priority Pass Program: Go First Class At The Airport (Even Flying Economy)
5 Luxurious Airport Hotels
3 Inexpensive—Yet Cool—Places to Stay in London
The 747 Jumbo Hostel: Stockholm’s Airplane Airport Hotel
The Interactive Pod Beds That Know Who You Are
Pop-Tarts Store Pops Up in NYC