New York’s Yotel Shows Smart Use of Space

I’m staying in perhaps the smallest hotel room I have ever been inside. And I really like it.

I’m usually a bigger is better kind of guy, at least when it comes to hotel rooms. When I’m on the road, I use my hotel room as my home base and frequently spend a few hours working there each day. Too often I find myself in big cities with tiny hotel rooms. I end up climbing over the bed to get to the desk and propping up every pillow I can find to turn the bed into a lounge chair. It’s not fun.

So when I read recently about the Yotel in New York City, I decided to give it a try. It’s located near Times Square at 42nd and 10th Ave. The rooms are much smaller than what I see in even the most cramped hotels. However, the layout maximizes the use of space. The bed retracts slightly to turn it into what the hotel calls a sofa. It’s comfy enough to sit on, but I’d call it more like a wide lounge chair. Regardless, it’s much more comfortable than sitting on a standard bed with a pile of pillows to work.

There’s a desk which is quite small, but very functional. And there are no lamps, desk phones, or other items to consume the limited surface space. All of those things are in the wall adjacent to the desk.

Instead of closets, there are a few hanging rods out in the open. This works fine, although it does make the room look a little messy since you can’t hide your shirts and suits from view. There is, however, plenty of storage space. There’s room under the bed — a novelty for most hotels these days. There are also convenient little shelves strategically placed around the room to give plenty of space for gadgets, wallet, and more.

One of my biggest beefs with hotels is bad HVAC. I hate being stuck in a room that’s too hot. Fortunately, the Yotel has individual climate control in the room that works just as advertised. There’s also a window that opens slightly. In my case, the window had a view right down to the new Freedom Tower at the southern tip of Manhattan.

The bathroom is compact, but gets the job done. The layout allows easy movement, unlike the hotel room I was in a couple of days ago where you had to shut the door to even look into the tub/shower. The Yotel offers no tub, just a rainfall shower, but that’s fine by me. The bathroom is great if you are solo, but if you are sharing a room, you best be very comfortable with them since the bathroom wall is glass. There’s a curtain to draw across that side of the room, but it’s not quite the same as having a real door.

Finally, the Yotel has some fun with technology. When you arrive in the lobby, there are airport style kiosks that you use to check in. I found them to be quick and easy to use. My only complaint is that I had to swipe my credit card twice. Once to retrieve the reservation and a second time to use it for payment. It seems like it could have been a single swipe instead and perhaps just ask me if I want to keep the charges on that card instead.

There’s also a fancy robotic luggage storage system to one side. I didn’t use it upon checkin because my room was ready, and I’ll be leaving without the need to store luggage tomorrow. I did see some folks using it — and taking pictures, of course!

Bottom line: the Yotel is worth checking out on your next visit to New York if you’re looking for a reasonably-priced, efficient hotel.


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