The Yotel Gatwick opened in 2007 and was the first from the capsule hotel chain set up by Yo Sushi founder Simon Woodroffe. Since then, properties have opened at London Heathrow, Amsterdam Schiphol airport, Paris Charles de Gaulle, and New York Times Square.
In a bid to differentiate Yotel’s airport proposition from its bigger city centre hotels, it rebranded the former as Yotel Air earlier in July. (Read our stories on the Yotel worldwide expansion plan and unveiling of Yotel Air.)
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
Arrival at the Yotel Air is at a small, low-key check-in area with a couple of computer terminals and a reception desk. A member of staff issued my key and made me a cup of mint tea to take to my room. After booking and paying in advance online, this was easy and hassle-free. There are signs in the corridors reminding people to keep quiet.
The receptionist showed me to my room and pointed out how to control the lights. Cabins all have solid, fridge-style white doors with windows in them (guests can pull blinds down for privacy) and illumination comes in Yotel’s signature purple.
Stays can be booked overnight or for as little as four hours for a quick nip and freshen up. If you have forgotten your toothbrush, you can buy a £4.50 wash kit at reception. Alarm clocks, extra towels, pillows, shower caps, earplugs and hair dryers can also be provided.
WHERE IS IT?
The Yotel Air is in Gatwick airport’s South Terminal, one level below the landside Arrival’s area. (Take the lift just beyond WH Smith down one floor.)
One-person Standard cabins are 7 sqm, so pretty snug (don’t book one of these if you are claustrophobic). They have a bunk-style single bed with an in-built TV screen, as well as space to hang cloths, well-positioned charging points and a glass-walled wet room with a toilet, sink, mirror and shower. Premium Twins are 23 sqm and have two single bunk beds.
Premium cabins are 10 sqm. Each has a retractable double bed made up with squishy pillows and good quality, white cotton sheets. This also slides in to create a couch to allow for more floor space. (The “couch” is a bit high for sitting on comfortably, though, so is better extended as a bed.) Underneath there is room to store luggage and a table folds out of the wall.
All rooms come with flatscreen televisions, free wifi, bedside panels that control the lighting, which comes in a variety of hues, en suite bathrooms with rainshowers, towels, shampoo and air conditioning.
Upon arrival in my Premium cabin I found the room to be a bit stuffy, and yet the temperature was set to “cold”. I went back to reception to ask if anything could be done and the man came back to the room with me, unscrewed the circular disc beneath the ceiling vent and placed it on the floor. This allowed cool air to rush into the room, which was much better, but not really a practical solution on a day-to-day basis.
I slept well but definitely felt confused waking up in a room with no daylight (there are no windows in any rooms). The design of the tiny spaces is clever – there are handy nooks and shelves integrated for placing your washbag on in the bathroom and valuables by the bed. Interiors were spotlessly clean.
If you are sharing with your partner, note that although there is a curtain that can be pulled across the glass walls of the bathroom, there isn’t much privacy. My room was at the end of a corridor, which meant there was less footfall, but a vacuum cleaner had been left outside by the fire exit, which didn’t seem sensible.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS
The Yotel Air doesn’t have its own restaurant or bar but the airport has an M&S, a Costa Coffee and a Cornish pasty outlet in the station.
Alternatively, you can get free hot drinks and water at reception (aka Mission Control), as well as paid-for snacks such as paninis (£3.95), Singapore noodles (£5.95) and Chicago Town pizza (£6.95).
Breakfast can be pre-ordered the night before for £6.95 – this will include an Eat Natural bar, an apple, a Fair-Trade apple juice, a croissant, fruit yoghurt and a hot drink.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES
This airport capsule concept is ideal for short overnight stays before an early-morning flight. I would find the Standard cabins a bit too claustrophobic so a better choice is a Premium cabin. Given the minimal real-estate, though, they are very well designed and the coloured lighting a good touch.
HOW MANY ROOMS? 46 across three categories – Standard (36), Premium (eight) and Premium Twins (two).
HIGHLIGHTS Free wifi, hot drinks and water, good use of a small amount of space and mood lighting.
PRICE Internet rates for a midweek one-night stay in August started from £62 for a Standard cabin.