Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Yotel is a European hotel chain that cleverly combines the teeny-tiny quality of pod hotels with hip and even luxurious amenities, such as fluffy duvets and pillows, hip lounge and dining spaces, and slick, modern decor. The Hell’s Kitchen location at 42nd Street and 10th Avenue opened in 2011 as the company’s first stateside endeavor, as well as its first foray outside of airport terminals. Nonetheless, the aero-based theme lives on, with airport-style touch-screen check-in machines, furnishings reminiscent of a Virgin America upper class cabin, and Trekkie-style staff uniforms. Don’t miss the lobby’s most exciting attraction, Yobot. Though gimmicky in every sense of the word, the robot luggage handler (think Space Odyssey’s HAL meets silent bellhop) is a thrill you won’t find elsewhere.
For the technologically timid, there is always a real live human being or two on hand in the lobby to assist with check-in, as well as on the Fourth Floor, which -- at 18,000 square feet -- is the hub of activity at the hotel. Here, guests will find several lounges (including two on one of the city’s largest hotel terraces), a Latin-Asian small plates restaurant, a small game room, a fitness center, free Internet stations, and a small shop. Eye popping decor dominates: bright purple couches in the Club Lounge, colorful murals featuring sumo wrestlers in the restaurant, and cool illuminated walls and accents throughout.
The hotel’s 669 rooms are equally striking, taking the itty-bitty capsule style to clever new levels with glass-enclosed bathrooms (allowing for a brighter, more open feel), motorized beds that fold upright when not in use (providing more space to move around), and a hip, modern aesthetic. Even the windows, which at similar hotels would normally amount to the size of a cereal box, are impressive, with slender floor-to-ceiling dimensions that provide expansive views of the West side and Hudson River.
All the colorful lighting and cutesy aero-inspired concepts aside, Yotel manages to succeed as one of the most appealing hotels in its price category. It's hard to find hotels in this neighborhood for a reasonable rate, and Yotel delivers impressive value in a small but sleek package.
On the quiet edge of Midtown West, about a 10-minute walk outside the flashing heart of Times Square
Though located on West 42nd Street -- the same street that includes the bustling heart of Times Square (about a 10-minute walk east) -- Yotel feels a bit cut off from the restaurants, attractions, parks, and people that make Midtown West an exciting place to visit. Set in Hell's Kitchen, a former slum transformed by luxury condo developments over the last decade, the neighborhood continues to feel as though it is in transition. Expansive parking lots, warehouses, and whirring cabs traveling to and from the Westside Highway make up most of the immediate stimuli; however, excellent restaurants and bars can be found along 9th Avenue. The neighborhood is safe, especially given the nearby police station, but at night the streets feel somewhat barren, which might alarm some visitors.
Light-flooded rooms feature nice views of the city, comfy adjustable beds, slick mod furniture, free Wi-Fi -- but see-through showers offer little privacy and closet space is virtually non-existent.
Most of Yotels 669 rooms are tiny cabins, which clock in at just 170 square feet. Though they're larger than those at the Hudson Hotel, they're still a bit small, even by New York standards (the average room size in New York is around 200 square feet).
Unlike at many "pod" hotels, all rooms come standard with private bathrooms. Even better is the sexy mod design, which features crisp white walls and linens, blonde wood accents, and funky colored accent lighting. The motorized beds fold up for more floor room, and glass-enclosed bathrooms help create a more open floor plan. Even the occasional luxury can be found, such as massive rainfall showerheads, extra fluffy feather duvets, and noise-canceling windows.
Missing, however, is storage. There is no proper closet to speak of, but rather a couple of open wardrobes with a handful of hangers. There are no drawers to speak of, and the only option for stowing luggage is under the bed. Additionally, the bathrooms are not exactly private; though curtains cover up what sliding glass doors can’t, the bathroom is still just inches from the bed.
A Latin-Asian small plates restaurant and a bevy of unique cocktails at four different bars
The Club Lounge is traditional and simple: entrees such as chicken and pasta, sirloin steak, and hamburgers. At night, the scene is that of a trendy bar, with “private cabins” serving as party rooms with bottle service. The party continues on the huge terrace, which features two bars and amazing views of the city.
European chain Yotel is known for its hip atmosphere and affordable rates. This Midtown West outpost is certainly hip, featuring three bars (including two on an enormous rooftop terrace), a Latin-Asian fusion restaurant, and funky, outer space design. And it's usually affordable, at least for the area. Rooms are tiny, and the location on quiet 10th avenue is a bit out of the way, but the cool factor will make this a worthwhile option for a young, well-heeled hipster set. Dream and Hudson Hotel are similar in price, room size (small), and trendiness, so it's worth weighing your options.