Background Yotel’s first three properties at London Gatwick, Heathrow and Amsterdam Schiphol airports were based on the idea of short stays before flights, with capsule-style Standard cabins measuring about 7 sqm, and slightly larger Premium rooms with double beds that convert into sofas. (Reviews of the Gatwick and Heathrow properties can be read at www.businesstraveller.com/tags/yotel)
For the brand’s first foray into the city centre market, it has had to adapt its model. The New York branch, which opened in June, is far larger than Yotel’s previous properties, at 669 rooms, and the size of the cabins have also increased, with Premium ones (the lowest category) starting from 15.5 sqm. There are also more facilities, including a gym, restaurant, meeting space and a large outdoor terrace.
What’s it like? The 27-storey new-build stands next to a 64-floor residential skyscraper by the same developers. Guests enter via the ground floor, where there are several self-service check-in machines for collecting your key card. This white-walled, minimalist area also features a digital ticker tape, along with “the Yobot”, a huge robotic arm that can take your luggage and deposit it into a locker at the press of a button if you don’t wish to take it to your room. At present this is a free service, although an attendant told me they may charge in future.
Unfortunately, my details weren’t recognised by the self-service machine (my surname had been spelt wrongly on the reservation), but there is also the option to check in with an attendant. You then take the lift to the fourth floor, which houses the public areas and the concierge-style “Mission Control”, from where you catch another lift to the room floors.
Where is it? The Times Square suffix to the hotel name is perhaps a slight stretch of the truth, as the property is about ten minutes’ walk from it, on the corner of Tenth Avenue and West 42nd Street, but it’s a great location for anyone looking to be based in Manhattan.
Room facilities Regular Yotel guests will be pleasantly surprised by the larger rooms and the existence of windows, but they will immediately recognise the brand’s DNA – predominantly white décor, purple carpet, double beds that convert into sofas, and good technology including free wifi and the ability to link MP3 players to the flatscreen TVs.
There is storage space beneath the bed, shelving around the TV, a luggage rack with two drawers underneath, an open hanging rack, a small workdesk with two US power sockets, a phone and built-in digital alarm clock, air conditioning and two large mirrors. The bathroom area has curtains that can be pulled across to separate it from the bedroom, and features a large rainshower, two shaving points, a safe and hairdryer. The window is also in the bathroom, and has blackout blinds. Everything feels well designed and solid.
My entry-level Premium cabin on the 20th floor had great views of Midtown. Other room types include Premium Corner cabins (25.5 sqm), First cabins (30 sqm) – half with terraces and hot tubs – and three VIP two-cabin suites with a living room, pool table and wrap-around terrace.
Restaurants and bars The outdoor terrace is on the fourth floor and has angular furniture and a cocktail bar. There is also an indoor bar in the breakfast area – here, guests have a choice of a free continental offering (coffee, tea and pastries), or paid-for options including omelettes and yoghurt. Looking out on to the terrace is the Green Lounge, and past this is Japanese restaurant Dohyo, with tables that sink into the ground.
Business and meeting facilities The fourth floor also features eight Club cabins – glass-walled private rooms with tables and flatscreen TVs that accommodate six to 12 people. The Studiyo is a trendy, flexible space with bright furniture and pool tables that convert into dining tables.
Leisure facilities The modest 24-hour workout room has Technogym equipment.
Verdict A world away from Yotel’s existing properties, with a trendy, modern feel and central location. Rooms are small but well thought-out with facilities that will suit business travellers.
HOW MANY ROOMS There are 669, including 19 First cabins and three VIP suites.
ROOM HIGHLIGHTS The free wifi access, large walk-in showers, electronically converting beds/sofas, and great views from the higher floors.
PRICE Internet rates for a midweek stay in September started from US$373 for a Premium cabin.
CONTACT Yotel New York at Times Square West, 570 Tenth Avenue; tel +1 646 4497 700; www.yotel.com