Yotel cabin fever takes off at Gatwick

The first Yotel – the hotel capsule concept by Yo! Sushi founder Simon Woodroffe – is to open its doors on Sunday at Gatwick Airport.

The hotel will offer 46 premium or standard ‘cabins’. Both classes of accommodation have enough room for two, mood lighting, luxury bedding, ‘techno wall’ entertainment systems and room service, but only premium customers get en-suite bathrooms.

The concept was created by Priestman Goode, with design by Conran & Partners and implementation by architect The Manser Practice.

Woodroffe, who came up with the original idea when he was upgraded on a British Airways flight, says, ‘Although we have done several Yo! projects, this is really our second thing. It is like having a second album – if you don’t get it right, you are a one-hit wonder. The project aims to represent friendliness because travelling can be a lonely experience.’

Aiming to offer a flexible and convenient hotel experience at affordable prices, the designers built on the technology and advanced use of space seen in business class airline cabins and luxury yachts to create the three-tier Yotel system.

Conran & Partners created standard cabins which interlock to make best use of space, and devised the concept for the premium-class bed, which has an electronic mechanism to turn it into a sofa at the touch of a button.

Director Sebastian Conran says, ‘Simon [Woodroffe] wanted it to be like a Virgin Atlantic upper-class seat, so we tried to stay close to that idea. We have done a lot of work on boats and private jets, so small spaces are familiar territory [to us].’

‘We were trying to give it a sense of wonder and quality,’ Priestman Goode director Nigel Goode says of the original concept. ‘With our experience of aircraft interiors we were able to bring a sense of customisation and make the space work.’

Yotel will also open at London Heathrow Airport in September, and other city and airport locations are planned.

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