Simon Woodroffe is the man behind the Yotel idea. The man is obsessed with an efficient value delivery system. He first made his entrepreneurial mark back in 1997 with his first Yo! Sushi restaurant. His restaurants serve meals via conveyor belt and drinks poured by robots. The idea for his next venture came to him while he was flying back to London from Kuwait and he was upgraded to First Class. He knew it would be the hotel business as he was inspired by the pioneering capsule style hotels that had become popular in Japan. He wasn’t convinced that it could be replicated successfully in the west but on that flight to London he got the answer he was looking for. He would give a first class cabin experience at a reasonable price. He calls it affordable luxury.
He and his team focused on making the optimum use of space and making first class luxury affordable in their new hotel concept. The first three Yotels he built were all at airports in Europe. It was perfect for stranded or transit passengers looking for a few hours rest in between flights. Yotel gave them a place for a minimum of four hours for just $50 and provided top of the line comfort and technology for work or entertainment. He crossed the Atlantic but instead of going in for an airport Yotel he has set up the first city based version in New York, the 669-room hotel at 42nd Street and 10th Avenue.
We don’t normally associate small with luxury but in this hotel we get diminutive luxury at $149 a night. The first surprise you get in the lobby is the Robot bell boy called Yobot. It is basically a multi-jointed white metal arm that hauls and stores suitcases in a big wall of lockers. The 10 by 17 feet rooms look bigger than they are because they all have floor to ceiling window. They not only give a sense of space but provide fantastic views of Manhattan. The handmade beds are motorized for optimum comfort and are covered in fine snow white linen. There is a full bath with a glass wall. Every room has a flat-screen TV. There are heated towel racks, “monsoon” showerhead, fluffy towels and a safe big enough to hold a 19-inch laptop. How much more can you ask for $149. Check it out for yourself when the hotel opens for the public on 7th June.