Pod Castaways: Yotel’s New Airport Pod Hotels a Haven for Single Travelers
By Gretchen Kelly
I’m an experienced, unflappable business traveler with millions of miles under my belt but if there’s anything that daunts me it’s the prospect of sleeping overnight in an airport. I was once dumped by an airline quite unceremoniously at the Brussels Airport overnight with no option for a free hotel and spent the hours curled up in the leather seat of a video game. Not only did I come out with my head twisted under my arm but my ears were ringing with “play again!” for days afterward.
So I truly appreciate the fact that you can now get a hotel “pod” room at London‘s Heathrow and Gatwick airports and at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport and pay by the hour if need be.
Yotel’s new pod hotels in these locations were created by London Sushi baron Simon Woodroffe (founder of the Yo!Sushi restaurant chain) as an antidote to airport hotels that are sometimes miles from the main terminals. All of the Yotel locations are in the terminals themselves, so there’s no last minute dash to the gate.
For $50 you get four hours in a 23 square foot standard cabin which includes private shower, desk and chair and free wi-fi. Woodroofe and company have added perks like high thread count sheets and a hand-layered, organic cotton mattress that is “the star of the show,” according to marketing director Jo Berrington. “When you want to get sleep in an airport, the most important thing is the bed.”
The news will come as manna from heaven for single women travelers who often have no option but to travel through darkened parking lots in the middle of the night to get to airport accommodations. (I once stayed at a Comfort Inn where I had to walk through a pitch black football sized parking lot where the airport bus dropped me off to get to the hotel entrance at one in the morning–not fun.) Yotels are manned 24 hours and you can always get food (like hot noodles) delivered to your pod so there’s no need to go out and scrounge around half empty post-midninght airports for sustenance.
“The goal is to have a Yotel in every major airport all over the world,” says Berrington, who also points out that many airport’s only options for in-terminal snoozing are “sleeping rooms” with minimal security. Airport seats, too, are not designed for sleeping so exhausted passengers are often seen trying to get their “z’s” on terminal floors, not fun for anyone but particularly unpleasant for solo female travelers in unfamiliar surroundings.
If Yotel has their way, even these sleeping rooms will be Yo-sized. Plans are in the offing for backpacker-type lodgings at budget prices on the same concept as the existing communal sleeping rooms but with extras like clean showers and with a lot more comfort, cleanliness and security than is currently on offer.
All of which sound better than the inside of a terminal video game.
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