With my flight to London due to arrive at around 6:00 am local time, I knew there would be a bit of time before I could check into my hotel. Having visited the city numerous times before, I wasn’t worried about trying to see everything possible. Instead, I was more concerned about my lack of sleep from my red eye. I have tried day rates at airport hotels before, but they tend to be for eight hours and a bit expensive for what I need (The Hilton Gatwick has day rates). A friend told me how she stayed at the Yotel in Gatwick airport during a long layover, so I decided to check it out.
Yotel’s combine efficiency and technology to offer value-priced city center hotels and airport cabins in compact spaces. They are not somewhere you’d stay for a long time, but rather a quick in and out.
Once I knew I would be arriving early to London, I made a reservation on Yotel’s website. It was quick and easy and you are asked to pay in advance (rates are refundable within 24 hours of arrival). I booked a five hour slot and paid £49 for a standard cabin, which is 75 sq. feet (7 sq. meters) and includes a private single bed, toilet, shower, sink, TV, multiple power and charging ports and a work station. You can select whether you’d like an upper or lower berth for a couple extra pounds. You can also book a 110 sq. feet (10 sq. meters) premium cabin with a double bed or two twin beds (one upper berth) that will fit two people. There is a minimum of four hours needed for booking and prices start at £39.
My flight was a bit delayed, so I was almost an hour late to my check-in. The gentleman behind the desk recognized this and extended my reservation for an hour. It was not expected, but very much appreciated. He also offered me a free hot drink or bottled water, informed me a bit about the hotel, handed me my cabin key and directed me to my room.
The cabins have either two steps up or two steps down and beds that you either hop up or down on. There are “windows” to the hallway, which have blinds you can close. The image below is of a lower berth cabin.
My room was an upper berth cabin. It was compact, but did the job. I had enough room to store my bags and also walk around. The bed had a pull down step, and I’d recommend for my fellow short folks or those who have mobility challenges to pay the couple pounds for the lower berth. The bed was comfortable and there was a TV in the little sleep pod area. There was a table that could be folded down and a folding stool if you wanted to work in the cabin. There were three different types of lighting – purple mood lighting, a bathroom light and the full cabin light. The plugs and charging station were next to the bed.
In many pod-type hotels, you don’t have a bathroom or space to store your luggage. This bathroom was clean, modern and very functional. While I didn’t take a shower, it looked like a nice rain shower and had shower gel and towels included.
I didn’t really know what to expect from the pod cabins, but I was very pleased. The bed was comfortable, the room was clean (so clean you could smell it, which was a little much in a small space!) and I got a couple of hours of sleep, which was my main goal. I felt safe, appreciated the good service and had my stuff with me at all times. I would definitely stay again, although I’d probably book a lower berth.
As a side note, I was awoken in my pod by my phone informing me that Anthony Bourdain had died of suicide. This past year I’ve been chasing my dreams, seeing the world and telling stories. None of this would have happened without Anthony Bourdain (including staying in a pod cabin!) His books and TV shows inspired me and gave me the courage to experience the world. I’m sure there are many others like me. I wish he knew that.
Have you ever stayed in a pod, a hotel cabin or any other unique accommodation? Where was it? What did you think and would you recommend it?