Yotel Hotel Review (New York)

Outside Yotel
Yotel Hotel Review
Times Square, New York  6/18/11

I recently stayed at the new Yotel Hotel at Times Square in New York City. Actually, the Yotel (10th and 42nd Street) is a few blocks from Times Square (7th and 42nd), but is less than a 10 minute walk. Its rooms are larger than those in capsule hotels but are very small relative to traditional hotel rooms.* It's marketed as high-tech at an affordable price.
A convenient map provided by the Yotel
It's still prime real estate, especially for the cost of a stay; starting at $150 a night. There's a 24-Hour CVS across the street, many restaurants (pizza, burgers, subs, etc.), and a Bus Station nearby. Right down the street on 42nd is Madame Tussaud's wax museum, Ripley's Museum and a movie theatre. Central Park is about a 30 minute walk or 5-minute subway ride. It's about a 35-45 minute taxi ride to LaGuardia Airport (about $35.00). The Yotel gives you a convenient, foldable map of Manhattan and subways.

Left to Right: Yotel Yobot, Yotel Check-In, Yotel Elevator pad

The outside of the Yotel and its logo looks Japanese high-tech. After all, Japan capsule hotels were its main influence. At night the building is beautifully illuminated by purple ambient lighting, which is a theme inside the rest of the hotel. The minute you are greeted by the staff dressed in techy uniforms and walk through the sensor-automated revolving doors, you know this is going to be a different kind of experience.

As you enter, the Yobot, a robot that puts away your luggage, is on your right. It's gimmicky, but cool technology. On the left, is the Check-In/Out station, consisting of a row of touchscreen computers. It's quick and easy--enter your name, the number of nights you'll be staying, and it produces your keycards. The staff is abundant, friendly, and always there to assist you.

Yotel "Launchpad" and Mission Control
Straight ahead are illuminated elevators that will only take you to the 4th floor, or Mission Control. Mission Control is the main floor, and Yotel's version of a concierge desk. Here you'll find the restaurant, meeting spaces, a bar/club area, access to the huge outdoor area with another bar, the gym (mostly cardiovascular equipment), computer terminals equipped with your choice of internet browsers and chat apps, and elevators to take you to your room's floor. Therefore, you always have to take two elevators to get to your floor.

Yotel Room: Bed, Desk, Bathroom, Toilet, Shower
I stayed in an economy room, or pod. It is small, but that was a given. There are storage areas built in to everything to ease some of the confined space issues. The bed electronically retracts to allow more space. The mirrors and window add a sense of depth. The styling and size of the room were equivalent to staying in an operable Ikea display unit for a night.

The room has free WIFI/internet connections, a high-definition TV with 30+ HD channels, a small desk with numerous outlets, and individual reading lights above the bed.

Some of the downfalls of the room: The beds could have used some cushioning, the bathroom is only separated from the main room by an adjustable curtain (the toilet area does have a sliding glass door), the shower is a tight space with no spots to put your own shampoos, conditioners or soaps (when everything else has an overabundance of storage), the organic soap the hotel supplies is all-purpose for washing your hands, body cleanser, and shampoo (smells like a pine tree), there's no mini-fridges, and the air conditioning is based on a sensor, so when you leave the room it shuts off automatically and the room may be warm when you return.

Yotel Galley (Shared Kitchen)
There's a Galley Room, semi-kitchen, on each floor that has a shared mini-fridge, microwave, pop machines, ice/water machine, and an automatic coffee machine, which is supposed to make mochas, espressos, hot chocolate, etc. However I visited 5 different floors and there were issues with each machine as if they weren't taken care of after the opening of the hotel.

The complimentary continental breakfast on Mission Control by the main bar left a lot to be desired. There were a few muffins, bananas, apples, and coffee. The bar and surrounding area are very fresh, modern, and spacious. One night, the cast of the Broadway show "Catch Me If You Can" had their after-party in the Mission Control's bar/club/outdoor space.

The crowd appeared artsy, techy, and young to middle-aged.

Yotel is very well-themed from their signage to technology
The interior is very well-themed and uniform. Everything from the carpet, lighting, furniture, appliances and signage appears modern and high-tech.

The consistent use of purple ambient lighting, colors/textures (steel/white/grays/purples), shapes (rounded hexagons, squares, and pixel-like rectangles), technology (the Yobot, touchscreen computers, phone-enable alarm clock, automatic revolving doors, multiple internet browsers, WIFI, iPod connectivity to the HDTV), uniforms (launch pad outfits, Gray New Balance shoes), naming (Cabin Crew, Mission Control, Galley, pods), music (experimental, remixes, techno, Asian, remakes) and location (Times Square, New York) all give the Yotel character and appeal; making it a complete experience.

The Yotel had some glitches/disadvantages when compared to a standard hotel, but with a great location, affordable pricing, modern appearance, and a unique experience it's definitely worth a visit. I would go back next time I stay in New York.

YOTEL NY HOTEL (official website)

* Duncan, Fiona (24 June 2009). "Yotel, Gatwick Airport: Hotel Guru". The Daily Telegraph (London). http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/hotels/ukhotels/5623428/Yotel-Gatwick-Airport-Hotel-Guru.html. Retrieved 20 July 2010.

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