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 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.
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!
Thank you 🙂
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
Relatively inexpensive. For London, that is.
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!
I agree, a comfortable bed and a bathroom is mostly all I need as well.
What an amazing thing! this is the best idea ever. Yotel is something i will consider from now on.
Glad to hear it.
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.
Something about getting up at 3 or 4. Unnatural.
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.
Not sure how this would work outside of an airport. Would be interesting to see if it looked the same…
This is awesome. I never would’ve thought of looking for a capsule type hotel outside of Japan.
Small world 🙂
This is a brilliant idea especially for an airport like Heathrow where you might have a 6-12 hour layover.
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 :-).
Also depends on which terminal one is at, I think, since it’s quite a long distance between them.
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.
I think the premium cabins might have a different style bed, so perhaps that might work better for the long-legged amongst us.
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!
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!
I do like trying new and unusual accommodations.