A spacy stay at Heathrow

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 Heathrow review

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.

Yotel, shower head

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 practicals

  • 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.

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23 Responses to “A spacy stay at Heathrow”

  1. Jackie Smith 23 November 2013 1952 #

    This is a most helpful post! We will keep this in mind on one of our longer layovers there. Thanks for including the price range – that is always useful!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 25 November 2013 0726 #

      Thank you 🙂

  2. Mette 24 November 2013 1623 #

    What a brilliant idea. There’s always a need for somewhere to sleep at intercont airports. Though I am not sure I’d call it inexpensive

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 25 November 2013 0726 #

      Relatively inexpensive. For London, that is.

  3. Megan 24 November 2013 2046 #

    id love to crash somewhere like this. it’s so perfect when airports offer accommodation like this….there would have been so many times i would use it (although never have been overnight in london that i can recall…)

    i saw a yotel in the middle of NYC when i was there and never knew this was the concept! im kind of intrigued now! i hate hotels that offer more than what i need. i just like the basics….i very rarely am in the room anyways when im traveling!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 25 November 2013 0727 #

      I agree, a comfortable bed and a bathroom is mostly all I need as well.

  4. Jeff 25 November 2013 0811 #

    What an amazing thing! this is the best idea ever. Yotel is something i will consider from now on.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 3 December 2013 1129 #

      Glad to hear it.

  5. Mellisa Turner 26 November 2013 0837 #

    Very useful post, Anne ! I am also lazy to wake up early in the morning, even if it is the case of an important flight.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 3 December 2013 1130 #

      Something about getting up at 3 or 4. Unnatural.

  6. Marcia 27 November 2013 1332 #

    Interesting, didn’t realize they had one at Heathrow. Very convenient, especially for those crazy early morning flights.

    There’s a Yotel near Times Square that one of my clients stayed at recently. She didn’t care for it much but it was very convenient to where we needed to do business.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 3 December 2013 1132 #

      Not sure how this would work outside of an airport. Would be interesting to see if it looked the same…

  7. Kathryn 30 November 2013 1613 #

    This is awesome. I never would’ve thought of looking for a capsule type hotel outside of Japan.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 3 December 2013 1133 #

      Small world 🙂

  8. Leigh 1 December 2013 1715 #

    This is a brilliant idea especially for an airport like Heathrow where you might have a 6-12 hour layover.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 3 December 2013 1133 #

      Brilliant indeed.

  9. Sand In My Suitcase 1 December 2013 1838 #

    We’ve stayed at the Heathrow Yotel (when flying in from North America and before connecting on to some other flight) – highly recommend it! These yotels are great ideas, especially if you only have a few hours’ layover (maybe during the day) but you badly need some sleep and a shower. Now, we’d prefer to stay at the Sofitel at the Heathrow Airport – but hey, when you can’t afford that, the Yotel is a pretty good substitute :-).

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 3 December 2013 1135 #

      Also depends on which terminal one is at, I think, since it’s quite a long distance between them.

  10. Michele {Malaysian Meanders} 3 December 2013 0247 #

    After reading this, I’m kind of hoping for a long layover sometime at Heathrow just for the novelty of trying this out. I wonder if my tall hubby could squeeze into one of the beds or if he’d have to curl up.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 3 December 2013 1136 #

      I think the premium cabins might have a different style bed, so perhaps that might work better for the long-legged amongst us.

  11. Adam 9 December 2013 0406 #

    Jealous that you stayed here! I didn’t think about it until it was too late, but I had such an early flight out of London one morning it definitely would’ve made sense to stay at a pod hotel at the airport rather than another night’s accommodation in central London!

  12. Marysia @ My Travel Affairs 1 January 2014 2340 #

    I have seen those couple of times and though about how cool it would be to check it out! I have seen somewhere, not sure where now, just one sleeping box you could rent right now but putting your credit card in the door. Too cool!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 2 January 2014 1539 #

      I do like trying new and unusual accommodations.

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