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, etc… 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 rain shower, sink, toilet, soap/shampoo dispensers and lovely, large towels.

What I liked:

  • 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 an enormous 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.