I was super excited to be having a 12 hour layover in London on my way home from Italy.
|image via TravelandLeisure.com
I had all these fantastic plans to check my bags and take the tube into town and go hit my old neighborhood.
I figured I would have time to hit the Kings Road and Knightsbridge, Kensington High Street and Notting Hill – being that I didn’t need to actually buy anything I could just walk and walk the streets and neighborhoods where my career started and where I kicked off my wild 20’s. Hell, I would even have time to swing over to Camden town. It was going to be perfect!
Right up until I actually looked at my ticket and saw that my 12 hour layover was from 10 pm until 10 am.
So now I had to figure out how to play it in one of the most expensive cities on earth. A cab ride and a hotel could be super expensive, but I wasn’t about to sit at Heathrow Terminal 5 for 12 hours.
Some international airports that have long layovers have hotels that you book by the hour, inside the terminal. So I decided to check out that option in case Heathrow did, and low and behold I found that they have one in Terminal 4.
Yotel is a fantastic concept for the long distance traveler. Instead of large hotel rooms that you book by the day, these are more like the berth on a ship or a large overnight train cabin. It’s a micro-hotel and it is everything the weary long distance traveler needs.
A Yotel room is super streamlined, pristine and very modern. You have a bed with a big fluffy duvet and a flat screen TV, a slither of a bathroom with a monsoon shower, a desk and a chair.
Everything you need to freshen up, get a few hours sleep and catch your next flight without dealing with traffic and a commute.
Your suitcase has checked through to your final destination, so it’s just you, your carry on, a hot shower and a good night’s sleep.
|image via yotel.com
You book and pay online ahead of time so check in and check out are extra quick. From walking through the main entrance to walking into my room was maybe 5 minutes. No standing around in lines, no waiting for elevators and walking through mammoth hallways in a hotel with hundreds of rooms.
Yotel is relatively small. I’m not sure how many rooms they have, but am guessing it is fewer than 100.
Yotel Heathrow is outside the terminal so you do have to go back through security before your flight, unlike the terminal hotels at Singapore’s Changi, which are enclosed inside the terminal.
Had Yotel been inside Terminal 5 I would still own all my travel makeup, haircare and toiletries – can you tell I am still irritated at their version of TSA confiscating my things???
Regardless, Yotel was a fantastic experience.
I had my room for 7 hours and it cost 72 Pounds Sterling, so a little over $US120. It was worth every penny.
One word of advice, book your Yotel as quickly as possible. While I was there it was fully booked, and the young man who checked me in said they are almost always at 100% occupancy.
The chances of you rolling up and being able to secure a room last minute are slim to none.