Tired of getting up at 3 am to reach that early morning flight? I know I am. So when on a recent journey, I had yet another very early flight leaving from London’s Heathrow airport, I thought I might give Yotel a go. As a bonus, I got a chance to indulge in one of my little travel hobbies, wonderfully weird sleeping quarters.
Yotel, you ask? A hip-hop hotel, is it? Well, maybe not hip-hop, but certainly fun to try.
The Yotel concept was thought up by Simon Woodcroffe of Yo! (you know, Yo! Sushi, Yo! Home, Yo! Zone) – and Dragon’s Den fame (for you American readers, that’s the UK equivalent of Shark Tank). Woodcroffe’s idea was to provide a flexible and convenient hotel experience at affordable prices. His inspiration?
I was lucky enough to get an upgrade to the sleeper bed in British Airways first class. I went to sleep with the conundrum of how to make a Japanese capsule hotel acceptable in the west and woke up realising the solution was around me: all I needed to do was find the designer of the BA first class cabin and ask them to help me design a hotel….
Yotel in short: Cleverly designed cabins are available in the airport terminal for all sorts of fun things that you might want privacy for: taking a shower, working, eating, sleeping… The compact cabins come in Standard (single) or Premium (double or twin), and can be booked for just a few hours, or for the night. Check-out times are completely flexible.
Yotel Heathrow review
At check-in, I normally would have punched my reservation number into the machine at the entrance – just like checking in for flights. This night, the machine malfunctions. No worries, though – the friendly staff at Mission Control takes care of everything and tells me all I need to know.
As I wander along the corridor to my designated space, the purple lighting adds to the feel of being on MIR.
Inside my cabin is a capsule bed with a TV, a fold-away table, a folding chair, and, not least, plenty of power outlets suitable for both UK and standard European plugs. The ensuite bathroom has all I need; a delicious rain shower, sink, toilet, soap/shampoo dispensers and lovely, large towels.
What I liked:
- The monsoon rain shower
- The comfortable bed, crawling into a cosy cubbyhole to watch TV
- The free wifi
- No electrical adapters required
- Complimentary water and hot drinks brought to the cabin 24/7
- A decent selection of meals and snacks available through room service, at affordable prices.
Room for improvement:
Yotel pretty much lived up to my expectations: a small, functional area for a night’s (or a few hours’) rest before a flight. The space was generally well used. I would have preferred an extra coat hanger, or at least another hook or two (e.g. on the door) to hang clothes. Easy enough to fix.
Also, Heathrow is a huge airport; the bus between e.g. terminals 4 and 5 takes 15 – 20 minutes. Unless you’re leaving from terminal 4, you do lose some of the convenience.
- Yotel at LHR is located in Terminal 4, in the public area at the mezzanine level – signposted and easy to find.
- Prices: From GBP 50 for 4 hrs/GBP 65 for 8 hours for a standard cabin. This is essentially a single cabin, or at most for one adult and one small child. Premium (double bed) or twin (two bunk beds) cabins cost GBP 67 for 4 hrs/GBP 91 for 8 hours.
Disclosure: I paid a reduced rate at Yotel for review purposes. All opinions are mine, as ever.