WHAT’S IT LIKE? This capsule hotel is neat, compact and futuristic, perfect for freshening up in before or after a flight and catching a few hours’ sleep. Unlike pod hotels in Japan, which consist of a space so small you have to crawl into it to sleep, Yotel offers proper rooms – albeit ones that are still very small (7 sqm to 10 sqm) and with no natural daylight. Corridors are also narrow and the doors look like those to industrial freezers. Don’t book a stay here if you are claustrophobic.
Guests check-in in the small entrance at one of two automated terminals, which asks for a booking reference number, credit card expiry date and CVV number, and a swipe of the card as well. You are then issued with a receipt and plastic keycard. There is a member of staff on duty at a reception desk/galley who can help with any problems and provide any items you might have forgotten. (I needed a bottle opener and they were happy to lend me one.)
WHERE IS IT? Landside at Heathrow airport Terminal 4. It’s a seven minute walk from the T4 underground station served by the Piccadilly line – guests need to follow the signs and go up to floor two in one lift, then walk along and down to floor one in another lift, from where it is a few paces away.
HOW MANY ROOMS? There are 32 rooms in four categories – Accessible, Twin, Standard and Premium.
ROOM FACILITIES The colour scheme throughout the rooms is grey, white and purple, in keeping with the Yotel logo, and next to each of the doorways of the Premium rooms is a window with a blind that can be pulled down across it. (Standard rooms have a small one in the door itself.) Don’t expect runway views, however, as they only look into the corridor, and if you are in the room you will want it shut anyway.
Standard rooms are 7 sqm, so there is not much in the way of floor space, and would be far too cramped for two people. To one side is a single bed that is sunk into a the wall, with a flatscreen TV screen at one end and a soft white pillow at he other. A glass-panelled wet room is almost within touching distance, and contains a toilet, sink, rainshower, heated mirror, towel and lavender shampoo/shower gel.
Every inch of space has been maximised, with a foldout table and stool, overhead luggage storage and hangers for a couple of items of clothing.
I stayed in a Premium room, which was worth every penny. It makes a real difference to have that bit of extra floor space as the comfy double bed, with cushions and a grey padded headboard and canopy, folds back electronically into a sofa, in front of which is a flatscreen TV set into the wall.
Rooms don’t have natural light or fresh air, but bedside control panels for lighting had options for “sunshine”, reading, showering and sleeping (total darkness), as well as a mauve – almost ultraviolet – choice. (The symbol for this was two pairs of feet, one set above the other but facing downwards – make of that what you will.) There was also air conditioning, two sets of EU and UK plugs under the TV, a foldout table and chair, full-length mirror, and a shelf by either side of the bed.
The bathroom is a little larger than in those in the Standard rooms and instead of a completely see-though glass wall, the lower half is frosted and there is a white curtain you can pull across the upper portion. There is a wall-size mirror and two showerheads – rain from the ceiling and a handheld one on the wall.
My only criticisms were that the shower should have been sunken slightly to stop the water flooding the whole floor, and a bath mat and hand towel would have been welcome. Although the bed was quite firm, I found it pretty comfy and the sheets were pristine white cotton. There was, however, quite a lot of bumping and clanking from adjacent rooms in the night despite there being signs saying not to make too much noise in the corridors.
Wifi/wired internet access is free. Twin and Accessible rooms have single bunk beds.
ROOM HIGHLIGHTS Free internet, clever design and use of space, full-length mirror, multiple plug sockets, mood lighting and contemporary technology and fittings.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS There are no restaurants or bars, but room service is 24 hours a day. I didn’t try any of the food or drink but items on the menu included an English breakfast panini and coffee (£5), chicken satay and noodles (£4.50, pizza margherita (£5), Real’s handmade potato crisps (70p), Beech Dean ice cream (£3), 275ml Becks (£3), 175ml wine (£3) and 50ml Smirnoff vodka (£3.50).
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES None.
LEISURE FACILTIES None.
VERDICT A really good option for short stays when you need to catch an early flight or freshen up before heading on to you next destination. The rooms are very small but offer everything you need and pricing is flexible. The location in T4 is convenient for any business traveller flying out of Heathrow.
PRICE Bookings are for stays of four hours or more and cost from £25 for a Standard cabin and £40 for a Twin or Premium room. Prices thereafter are from £6.50 per hour.
Internet rates for a midweek 12- to 24-hour stay in June started from £63 for a Standard cabin. A four-hour stay costs from £29 for a Standard cabin.
CONTACT Yotel London Heathrow airport, Terminal 4; tel +44 (0) 207 100 1100; yotel.com