After a most unfortunate flight cancellation out of Gatwick Airport last week I scrambled to get rebooked and repositioned to not lose too much of my trip. That meant a 7a departure from Heathrow the following morning and a desire to be close to the terminal for a short night of sleep. I was also looking to stick to a relatively tight budget for the last-minute expense. I wasn’t sure if my other, non-refundable rate for that night would be recovered and, while I know EU rules require the offending airline to pay for my hotel, I was booking it directly and Norwegian has a habit of fighting such requests. So I booked a 7 hour stay at the Yotel in Heathrow Terminal 4 for £69.
Finding the hotel was relatively easy once at T4 and the arrivals process was easy. Unlimited coffee, tea, hot chocolate and bottled water are included in the rate so I grabbed a couple drinks at the front desk and headed to my bunk/pod. It is most definitely a cozy experience.
It was also pretty much all I needed for the night. The bed space was sufficient and eventually I was able to arrange my bags sufficiently out of the way so that I could get to the toilet without tripping on anything. In that context and combined with the cheap price it was a solid proposition.
But it was also more noisy than I expected, even with light occupancy that night. The stacked bunks/pods transmit sound more than they probably should, especially of toilets flushing. And apparently I’m not the only one who feels that way.
I've tried Yotel at LHR a couple of times, but the ambient noise was too disruptive
— Nick Piggott 🇪🇺 (@nickpiggott) February 23, 2017
I also had some troubles with the shower at 4:45 in the morning, unable to get hot water flowing. Eventually it got sufficiently close to room temperature that I was willing to go for a quick rinse without shrieking from the cold but that wasn’t a great moment. Maybe I was first up and the hot water in the pipes had cooled too much and I didn’t wait long enough. But it was still annoying and I had a plane to catch.
Short version: Decent bed, lukewarm shower, free hot chocolate, great staff.
— Seth Miller (@WandrMe) February 23, 2017
A couple weeks ago I got to see the airside Yotel at Charles de Gaulle airport. That’s the first built in the company’s new design and it is significantly nicer than the Heathrow version, particularly for the single bunks. The LHR option is showing its age and is a tighter squeeze for the singles, but it is still a reasonable enough option.
Also worth noting that this is not my first stay in a pod/capsule-style hotel. I’ve done it in Tokyo a few times and it mostly meets my needs for quick trips. Between those experiences and the preview I got at CDG I mostly knew what I was getting in to when I showed up to that tiny space.
Overall, were I stuck land-side at Heathrow again and in need of a last-minute booking I’d consider it again. Not my first choice, necessarily, but the rates were reasonable as a walk-up guest and I was able to get to T5 quickly enough for my morning departure.
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