Hello. Are you Lisa?” asks George, the guy sitting in “Mission Control” (aka the hotel reception desk) at the Yotel inside Heathrow Airport.
“Is this you?” he asks as he spins his computer screen in my direction revealing a photo of me at age four with my sweet companion, Pookie.
Wow. Working in the digital age is so cool and so bizarre. Someone can know so much about me before they even meet me. But I guess that’s my choice as I have chosen to blog about my adventures over the last 10 years in the public realm of the internet.
We chat a bit. Then George offers me a cold beverage or coffee (drinks are free!) and shows me to my cabin, er pod.
In the last decade, airport amenities have improved immensely all over the world. Some of the bigger airports offer all kinds of experiences from Yoga and swimming to movies and gaming.
We all know airport hotels – usually the ubiquitous chains surrounding airports and linked by a shuttle. Tonight I was staying at YotelAir right in the middle of the airport.
YotelAir Heathrow sits inside Terminal 4 at LHR. It’s on the mezzanine level between Departures and Arrivals and unless you are looking for it (best to take the elevator where there is a sign for it), you would never know it’s here.
And now that I’m sitting here in it, I feel very anonymous (as I do in many hotels) as if no one knows I am here either.
What is Yotel?
The owner, a Brit, was inspired by the “Pod Hotels” of Japan combined with first class airplane travel and the way you can have a luxury “bed” on a plane in a very small space.
It’s tiny, but I expected that. I feel like I’m either in a tiny ship cabin or a dorm room. It is also totally functional and quite comfy. And don’t be fooled by the size, I am in a standard room (the smallest) and believe it or not, still manage to do my 30-minute workout. Luckily today’s workout doesn’t have big strides or running around, but I am able to do side to side lunges! Let’s say that the “living space” floor is a little larger than a yoga mat and the same for the bathroom floor.
The bed feels like the bottom of a bunk and is about twin size, but honesty feels a little wider and is very comfy. There’s a flat screen TV on the wall at the foot above the bed. There’s even a pull down desk and a tiny chair that they keep out of the way, folded and on a hook on the back of the room door and free WiFi of course. A “monsoon” rain shower head tops the small shower and shares the space right next to a sink and toilet. There are little shelves all around for your things. Don’t expect extra toiletries, but the room does have that soap/shampoo combo and you can borrow a hair dryer from mission control.
You can choose a standard cabin if traveling by yourself or for more space get a premium cabin or premium triple bunk cabin.
Since you can book by the hour, people might be coming and going late and early for their flights but during my stay from the evening until the next morning, it is extremely quiet. Quieter actually than most hotels I have stayed in. There is a hushed feel about it so most know to walk through quietly. According to their website, the YotelAir is totally soundproofed from the airport. You can feel it in the door to your cabin…it’s an air tight fit. I love that.
I really like the feeling of YotelAir. I know it might sound bizarre after I just stayed in some castles in England, but there is something about the quiet and total privacy. I feel like I am truly escaping the world. In fact, when I go down to the terminal to scrounge for some dinner (not much choice there between a cafe and a convenience store), it is like a whole other world of traveler chaos. I love the contrast!
Other Yotels are at London Gatwick Airport, Amsterdam Schiphol Airport and New York City. New ones are in development for Changi Airport in Singapore, Paris’s Charles De Gaulle Airport, and city hotels in Singapore, Brooklyn, and San Francisco.
Disclosure: During my overnight stay, I was a guest of YotelAir. As always all opinions are my own.