I can’t really put my finger on it, but when I first read about the plans for the Yotel New York City, it caught my attention and fed my imagination like nothing else I can remember in recent history. While I like the aesthetic of several other concept creators and the service delivery standards set by a handful of other hoteliers, Yotel just resonated as something fresh, fun, not too cool, and creative.
After reviewing the images and doing interviews with the Yotel conceptual and operational teams, I had to have the experience and was able to snag a room there earlier this month just as the first 40 rooms were coming on line. I was not disappointed and felt my own creativity was given a boost by this unique hotel experience.
For those of you not aware, the concept is inspired by the first-class cabins of airliners and a bit by the ?pod? hotels of Japan. The ?cabins? at Yotel are smaller than most standard rooms, but the price point starting at US$200 a night in New York City matches the expectation. Yes, the rooms are small, but they are smart and I did not feel as though I was missing a thing. The sofa that folds down into a bed with a flip of a switch a la Austin Powers was comfortable because the sheets and pillows were of finer quality. The rain shower was acceptable. I had free Wi-Fi and a nice flat screen with plug-ins for my hardware if I wanted. I was completely content with the room as I was there mostly to sleep during a busy business trip and connectivity, a flat screen and decent shower was all I needed. I was on my own, not for an extended stay and the brand?s fresh approach made me a happy traveler.
But what really caught my fancy was FOUR. The fourth floor of the Yotel in New York City is where the action is ? the restaurant, bars, meeting spaces and huge outdoor space, all of which are purposefully flexible to meet the demands of FITs or groups. It had a cool to it, to be sure, but I didn?t feel as though it was overly designed to the point where this 50-something felt uncomfortable. The restaurant menu items I tried were delicious and, overall, I saw the Yotel as an incredible value. With 669 rooms, this accessible, quirky and somewhat mod hotel with a bit of a funky British vibe is bound to be a huge hit.
IFA Investments out of Kuwait now has full ownership and plans to grow the concept at airport locations with its original, smaller concept, and in city centers with its more deluxe version similar to New York City.
Keep an eye on this brand.