Our Stay at Yotel Heathrow via @TravelLatte.net

Our Stay at Yotel LHR

There comes a time in every traveler’s life when the prospect of sleeping in an airport loses its appeal. We appear to have found that time, and a convenient alternative!

Recently, we decided to splurge a few lots of frequent flier miles on business class flights to join some friends in France. As frequent fliers, of course, we were rewarded with all the perks of the less popular routes, which included an overnight in London on the return. That’s when we realized that we have reached that time in our lives. We are, after all, celebrating “pre-tirement.” Oh sure, we like adventure, but we also like a good night’s sleep and a bit of privacy.

On the other hand, we have no fondness for paying a whole night’s price for a hot shower and a few hours of comfy coziness. But those are your options, right? Sleep in the airport, maybe a lounge if you’re lucky, or book a night at a close-by hotel. Or…let’s try something different.

Our Stay at Yotel Heathrow via @TravelLatte.net

The Evolution of Airport Hotels

A few airports have seen short term hotels opening in recent years. The idea is simple: You get a quiet place for a lay-over nap and shower before your next flight, and only pay for the hours you are actually there. Depending on the area, the savings can be substantial.

There are trade-offs, of course. You’re not going to find a pool or spa. Restaurant options are out in the airport, or beyond. Amenities are lean, and rooms are small; at Japan’s NineHours Narita airport, they are literally single-sized capsules. But then, you’re there for some shut-eye, not a vacation experience.

Almost ten years ago, the slightly larger YotelAir opened in London at Gatwick and Heathrow airports. Espousing “compact luxury,” the rooms (46 at Gatwick, 32 at Heathrow) sleep up to three comfortably with a little room to spare. (And we mean that literally.) Our layover happened to be at Heathrow, so we checked into Yotel LHR on the land-side of Terminal 4. (We said we like adventure, right?) We booked a double cabin, and…we liked it!

Our Stay at Yotel Heathrow via @TravelLatte.net

The adventure begins at Mission Control, the front desk at Yotel.

Space Station Yotel?

The first thing we noticed is the more than passing resemblance to a hip space station or something from the Fifth Element: white walls, pink lights, porthole windows, and built-ins. Rooms are called Cabins, and the front desk is Mission Control. This could be the prototype for orbiting space hotels!

We later learned that the cabins were designed by aircraft designers and inspired by British Airways’ first class lounge. The goal is to merge first class air travel with a luxury hotel experience. What better place to showcase the design than an airport hotel?

We admired the efficient design, which whispered sweet nothings to our fondness for Tiny Home design. We marveled at the space-station-esque panel of controls for the lighting and sofa/bed. We even oohed at the “monsoon” shower head.

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Your Flight Crew for Today

What generally sets any property apart, though, is the staff. (Keeping with the space station theme, would that be flight crew?) Here, too, Yotel was a winner. Being first-timers, the desk agent, George, gave us a thorough check-in briefing, and handed us our supplies. By supplies, we mean he asked us if we would like extra towels, electrical adapters (dang this Yankee accent!), or a hair dryer, and provided them. Note: He asked us if we would like extra towels. We ask for that at every hotel we visit. This was the first time a hotel asked us! It’s also worth noting that he warned us that there was no bath mat, and we might want a towel for that, too.

Most importantly, George handed us the keys to the free Wi-Fi, and explained that we could stop by the front desk for complimentary tea, coffee drinks, or hot chocolate any time we wanted. Heck, he’d even bring them to our room, along with a select variety of foods for purchase. (Despite the temptation, we did not run amuck with the endless caffè lattes.)

Our Stay at Yotel Heathrow via @TravelLatte.net

YotelAir Premium cabin at London Heathrow (Photo: Yotel)

The Cabin Experience

The cabins come in three sizes: Standard (for one), Premium (for a couple or a solo who likes more space), and Premium Triple (could sleep up to four). This is where Yotel innovation shines. Similar to Tiny Home design, almost everything is made to tuck away or do double duty. There is a table – for work or dining – which folds into the wall, and a single folding chair which also has a dedicated storage spot on the wall. The bed is your second seat, and it reclines at the touch of a button. Slide it halfway out, and you have a comfy spot to watch some TV. All the way out and it’s a double-sized bed. Getting around the cabin, though, becomes a challenge.

As you might expect, Yotel is clearly not designed for long stays. There is no closet, no luggage rack, no drawer space. There is a cavernous space under the bed for luggage (our roll-aboard and backpacks fit nicely) with a couple more nooks for baggage. There is a single hook for anything that needs to hang, in front of the full-length mirror. And there is shelf space molded into the wall, both in the room and the bathroom. Helpful, as there is no counter space in the bathroom.

Speaking of the bathroom…

If anyone is going to have an issue with Yotel, that’s probably where it will be. It is separated from the sleeping area by a glass wall, partly frosted, and a privacy drape. Being one space with sink, toilet, and shower, it’s hard for two to get ready at the same time. Making it even harder, the shower is divided from the facilities by a partial wall and, because of the monsoon shower and its placement, water tends to splash about. A lot. George’s advice to have a bath mat was spot on.

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So the shower was one issue. The air was another. Yotel is entirely indoors, meaning there are no outside windows. Ventilation could be an issue, save for the constantly circulating air. There is a control to make it warmer or cooler, but you cannot turn it off. We also could not really tell that the air got significantly warmer or cooler. To be fair, we were warned that it could take about 30 minutes before you could feel the change, and we probably fell asleep before that point. Also, we completely forgot which way to turn the nob to warm things up. (Labeling could be better.) It was not uncomfortable, but just a bit cooler than we prefer.

Our Stay at Yotel Heathrow via @TravelLatte.net

The Yotel Premium Cabin bathroom with privacy curtain closed and open, and the shower area (before the Monsoon).


Our Stay at Yotel Heathrow via @TravelLatte.net

Mood lighting throughout adds to the Space Odyssey meets Austin Powers feel. Yeah, baby!

That’s it? Two soft strikes? For us, yes. We love the concept, and the execution is good. Yotel bills it as “compact luxury” and, while nothing seemed truly luxurious to us, it was far from a bare bones budget hotel. The cabins are comfortable, and the staff was great. Would we stay there again? You bet! We do love luxurious hotel vacations but, when practicality is what you need – and you only need it for a few hours – Yotel is a winner.

Where: We stayed at the Heathrow airport location in Terminal 4. There are YotelAir hotels at London Gatwick, Amsterdam Schiphol, and Paris Charles de Gaulle airports. There are also a full-service Yotels in midtown Manhattan, Boston, and Singapore. Yotel San Francisco promises to open in 2018. (Yotel being the company name, YotelAir distinguishing airport locations.)

Amenities: Complimentary bottled water and hot beverages (coffee, tea, hot chocolate); free Wi-Fi; business center.

Check-in/out: At YotelAir, you pay by the hour (four hour minimum) so there are no set check-in or out times. Reserve the time you want.

Ratings: Yotel at Heathrow has a 4.5-star TripAdvisor rating.

More cabin photos from YotelAir at LHR

Our Stay at Yotel Heathrow via @TravelLatte.net

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Your Turn

If you’ve stayed at a YotelAir, or any pod or micro-hotel, we’d love to hear how your experience was! If not, would you? What are your thoughts about these smaller airport hotels with by-the-hour options? Let us know in the comments.

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Disclaimers & Details: TravelLatte enjoyed a media rate at Yotel LHR. As always, all views are our own, and are based on our experiences.

32 comments on “Our Stay at Yotel LHR

    • Hi Jen! We were pretty intrigued with it, too. It’s definitely not something you want for an every day hotel experience, but we are glad we tried it out. In the right circumstance, it’s the way to go! Thanks for your comment!

  1. Very interesting concept and I can see the similarity of the design of the room to first class. I’ve stayed in quite a few airport hotels and also done plenty of airport sleeping. I flew out of Heathrow recently and the Yotel LHR looks like somewhere I would enjoy staying. I will have to check it out next time I use the airport.

    • Hey Barry! I think Yotel’s idea is a good cross of “airport sleeping” and traditional hotels. If you do check in, I hope you find it as comfy as we did. I have to say, I’m eager to try one of the Standard cabins – small, but perfect when you’re playing bachelor. 😉 Thanks for your comment!

  2. I eagerly read this post because when I fly to Borneo next month, due to flight times I have no option but to sleep in Kuala Lumpur airport! So I have two choices, find a space on the floor (which I have done before … airports are noisy with tannoy announcements repeatedly!) or sleep in a cube and so, after reading this, I will definitely be opting for the latter. This sounds like a comfortable and convenient way of grabbing some shut eye so thank you for sharing with us!

    • Hi Angie, thanks for visiting the blog! I did see Snooze XL at Kuala Lumpur when researching. Those look even smaller, but I still love the idea. I’m glad this put you at least a little at ease. We’ll be interested to hear about your experience! Sweet dreams! 😉

  3. This is fantastic! I love the concept and have always hated the check in times of hotels and the fact I may only need a short layover sleep.
    I hope this rolls out to many other locations. Thank you for such an informative post !

    • Hey Sam – We are with you! Don’t mind spending on a hotel…just hate having to do it when we don’t need to. We are a little surprised at the enthusiasm everyone is showing! That’s a good sign – maybe the micro-hotel concept will keep growing! Thanks for your comment.

  4. Ever since I dined at the Yotel in NYC, I’ve wondered what it would be like to stay in one of their hotel rooms. I think it would be too cramped of quarters for me to stay in such a small room during a trip, but for a nap and shower during a layover it’s probably just right. I really enjoyed reading this post. You provided so many details that I feel like I know exactly what to expect during a stay at Yotel. I also appreciate that you were asked if you needed extra towels at check-in and were forewarned about the lack of a bathmat. I wish that kind of customer service existed everywhere! #WeekendWanderlust

    • Hi Erin! I haven’t been in, but I do think the Yotel NYC rooms are bigger. But…I love the luggage robot! We really appreciated the staff’s attention to detail and to our experience. That goes a long way! You are right about the rooms being too small for a longer stay, but then, when you’re paying by the hour, it turns out to be MORE expensive than a tradition hotel when you stay a full day. Thanks for your kind words, and for stopping by the blog!

  5. I have been to the Yotel in Midtown Manhattan but just for brunch. It is a crazy out of control party scene, but oh so much fun. Totally different from what you describe. If I had a long layover, I would definitely be open to trying a Yotel.

    • Hello Anisa! We’re looking forward to a stay at the “regular” Yotel. The YotelAir was fun, but not so crazy. Good thing when you really need a nap. 😉 Thanks for your comment!

    • Ooh…at 6’5″, I’m thinking he might not be such a happy camper. I’m under 6′ and fit okay, but not with a bunch of room to spare. My feet were already at the end of the bed if I kept it at an incline. But, fully flat and maybe at an angle…you could probably wedge him in there. 😉 Thanks for stopping by!

  6. I think it’s a great concept. It would be nice to have options like this at the more airports. Sometimes your layover is just too long. Thanks for sharing will definitely keep it in mind.

    • You are right, Lisa. In talking with the staff at Yotel Heathrow, they did say the company is opening several more. So there is hope! I’m sure the other, similar companies will too, as it catches on. Thanks for your comment!

  7. Wow that looks far more stylish and with better service than I would expect at a pay-by-the-hour airport hotel. I’m genuinely impressed. Realistically, all you need is a bed, bathroom and a power socket so everything else is just extra. Really worth keeping in mind I reckon, especially if they’re at multiple airports.

    • Hi David – that’s what we thought, too. It turned out to be nicer than expected, and very practical. I don’t know that we would change travel plans to go through an airport with a Yotel (or similar) – but it would really weigh in the decision. Thanks for your comment!

  8. It looks like they have covered everything for a hotel airport (possibly space is a liitle TOO tight). We have stayed airside at the airport once before and wished we had discovered this option earlier.
    It is a great alternative if you have a late connection and rather than arriving at your hotel (for which you have paid full price) in the wee hours of the morning. Pay half the price and stay in transit, catch the early morning flight, then arrive at your destination refreshed late the next morning.

    • Hi Sally – We were pretty comfortable, really. However, I wouldn’t want to be in that small of a space with another person for too long! 😉 Thanks for your comment.

  9. Have to say the hotel looks very futuristic! I can’t believe how pink it is (I like girly girl places). I am glad this was a good night sleep. I wouldn’t pay a full night in a hotel with all the amenities if I only need to rest for the night. #WeekendWanderlust

    • Hi Ruth – We loved the futuristic look. It made things a little more fun and, apparently, the pink lights are not as disruptive to circadian rhythms as other colors. Meaning it’s easier to get some rest, day or night. I think that’s especially helpful given the free caffe lattes. 😉 Thanks for your comment!

  10. Thank you for such an informative post. This is really exciting and I hope that as time passes more and more of this type of hotel pops at airports all around the world! I hate paying for a room if we are only going to use it for a few hours. And it looks great love the compactness!

    • Us too, Kelly! It makes a lot of sense, we think. We did really like the compact size and efficiency. We have been contemplating tiny homes and RVs – probably not very different than living on a boat, in terms of size – so this was interesting for us. Everyone came out alive and happy, so that’s a good sign! 😉 Thanks for your comment!

  11. Love your Yotel Hotel stay at Heathrow. I will definitely keep that in mind next time I fly through and need a few hours of shut eye. Love the Mission Control center and paying by the hour. In Korea I have stayed at Love Motels where you paid by the hour but these are so much nicer. No frills, like the extra towels, coffee and hot chocolate. Great Idea & photos! Thanks for Sharing 🙂 I am pinning this for later 🙂

    • Thanks Stephanie! The free coffee was a definite plus for us. It was great to have a private, comfortable place to unwind and rest for a while, especially when you’re in the middle of a long trip. Meanwhile, Love Motels by the hour? Uhm… 😉 Thanks for stopping by!

  12. I wasn’t aware that this type of hotel exists. We recently looked for plane tickets and we ended up paying more just because we didn’t want to sleep 2 hours and then take a taxi to the airport. I would definitely try this hotel when I have my flight early in the morning. Thank you for sharing this with us!

    • We had heard of the “pod” hotels in Japan, but this was great. Not a full-sized hotel room with all the amenities, but then sometimes you just need a nap and a shower! And being right at the airport…#winning! 😉 Thanks for stopping by the blog!

  13. I am totally obsessed with this! Just last month my husband and I were talking about how every major airport should have something like this for people who just need a quick in-and-out place to stay. We often fly out of Denver, which is a 4 hour drive from where we live, which oftentimes means we need a place to crash for the night. Sometimes a hotel just really isn’t necessary though… this would be so much more practical for us! I really hope to see more and more of these start to pop up!

    • Exactly!! I love the convenience of being right at the airport, and the economy of paying only for the few hours you’re there. I know several airports have on-terminal hotels – the Westin at Detroit Metropolitan is one of my favorites – but they’re still traditional hotels. I hate paying for a whole night when I get in at 9pm or later, and I’m out before 6am! (Granted, that doesn’t happen really often anymore. Thankfully!) We’ll have to keep our fingers crossed for more. Thanks for your comment!

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