Yotel. I’m still not sure whether I like it or loathe it.
True, it’s convenient. Any closer to the airport and you’d be sleeping on a runway.
True, it’s much nicer than Rest & Fly at Arlanda in Stockholm. But then again, sleeping on a bench at Arlanda is frequently nicer than Rest & Fly.
The rooms, or rather – cabins, as they call them, are tiny, but they’re all equipped with flat screen TVs, have private showers, nice beds and free wireless access. The shower cubicle is actually wider than 18 inches, so a normal size person can fit in there. The shower is designed in such a way that it only floods the bathroom compartment and not the floor of the cabin.
The colors are cool, and so is the lighting. Green and purple, which somehow brings to mind a very futuristic vampire crypt, or a train carriage pretending to be a spaceship.
Yet all the cool design in the world can’t change the fact that the deluxe cabin with a queen size bed is the biggest rip-off. Ever. The space is simply too small to accommodate a big bed. To make it possible, the bed folds down. When the bed folds down, there is no room for anything else, including the unfortunate schmucks who stupidly booked the cabin. In other words – us. Fortunately, being the hardened veterans of New York (and Tokyo) studio apartments, we knew how to deal with it. Still, the experience was not pleasant.
Cabins with two bunks beds are much better value. True, you won’t sleep next to your dearly beloved, he or she will be either below or above you, but at least you won’t have to be an experienced contortionist when you decide to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. We were told that it wasn’t possible to switch from a deluxe crypt to one with bunk beds after the guests checked in. Oh well.
The wireless connection was fast and stable. The place was spotlessly clean. You have to ask for a hairdryer at the reception desk, but still, at least they have them. No plug adapters, though.
You can make your booking either on the internet or over the phone ahead of time, or just show up and hope there will be a cabin available. On the night we stayed there, the place was packed. It felt like a very busy space ship (or a vampire crypt).
When you make your booking you get a booking number and you use it to check in at a self-check-in station. Make sure you have with you the same credit card you used to make the reservation, otherwise things will get really complicated.
There is a person sitting at the reception desk, but they are unable to check you in manually. Just so you know.
What else? There’s a menu available, but we haven’t tried it. There are plenty of eating options available upstairs in the terminal, we liked The Village Inn.
You pay by the hour with a four-hour minimum. Prices start at £24.50 for four hours in a standard cabin (at Gatwick), for a 10-hour stay we paid 80 something pounds. Ouch.
But hey, you pay for the location, location, location.
There are Yotels at Gatwick, Heathrow and Schiphol. We stayed at Gatwick.