When I first heard about Yotel, a few years back, I thought it was genius. Take a Japanese capsule hotel and bring it to a European travel audience. My next thought was “when will this reach North American shores?”
It appears that question has now been answered as Yotel announced this week they are opening their first North American location in New York City in 2011.
For those not familiar with the capsule hotel concept, it basically takes a room and makes it as small and simplistic as possible. A bed, shower, toilet and a sink, all in a layout that leaves enough room to walk between them. Just a bare-bones place to rest and freshen up.
Yotel currently operates three airport locations in Europe (London’s Heathrow and Gatwick, and Amsterdam’s Schiphol), where one can rent either for a full day or in 4-hour increments. At Heathrow, a full 24-hour standard cabin rental starts at £69 (US$104), compared to a regular airport hotel room that is generally 2-3 times that amount. With savings like that, it’s easy to see why the concept has really caught on.
What makes Yotel’s first U.S. foray different is this will not be an airport location. The New York City Yotel will be part of a new development at the 42nd Street and 10th Avenue, near Times Square, which will also include a theater and residences.
Each 170-sq-ft “cabin” (as Yotel is calling them) will have a a retractable bed with percale cotton sheets, a bathroom with shower, a flat-screen TV, free WiFi and the purple mood lighting for which the brand is known.
Though no prices or an exact opening date have been set for the new 663-cabin Yotel, I can easily see it booked full-time with budget travelers. After all, in a city like NYC, you really aren’t there to spend time in your room. So why spend for more than you need? Give me a bed and a working shower and that’s really all I need – especially if it saves me money.