Checking in: The Yotel at Heathrow T4

My pod in the Yotel at Heathrow T4. Yes, that's really all of it.
My pod in the Yotel at Heathrow T4. Yes, that's really all of it.

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 Β£69.

Check-in area at the Yotel in Heathrow T4
Check-in area at the Yotel in Heathrow T4

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.

My pod in the Yotel at Heathrow T4. Yes, that's really all of it.
My pod in the Yotel at Heathrow T4. Yes, that’s really all of it.

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 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.

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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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. I did it once and never will again. I am a notoriously light sleeper and people coming and going all night made sleep impossible. I just add a few bucks to the bill and head to Bath Road.

    1. I travel with ear plugs and the Yotel even provides some. I’ve had ambient noise issues in “real” hotels, too. Agreed that this one is probably a bit worse than most others but I didn’t find it devastatingly so.

      I also really didn’t want to add 20+ minutes to/from the terminal to my already short overnight timing.

  2. I remember when the T4 Yotel was the BF arrivals facility in the early days of CO at LHR (pre-Star)… a good spot for a shower and quick nap. It works reasonably well for this purpose, as well as a short overnight in a pinch, as you describe

  3. Even with all the noise described, I still want to try that sometime. Noise cancelling earbuds with something I can sleep to should take care of that. The lukewarm showers are the only part that sound really uncomfortable to me.

  4. I’ve stayed at Yotel LHR five times now and will have a sixth in July. Apparently I’m a pretty heavy sleeper because I never noticed the noise issue in any of the previous stays.

  5. I’ve spent more nights (and days too) at the Yotel LGW than I care to remember and always found them to be perfectly silent. Quieter than sleeping on an airplane for sure.

  6. An interesting post you made, and also the link therein about Tokyo pods.

    Don’t know that many people who have stayed at places like that, so was fun to read. Actually I had been considering “9 hours” at NRT next month; from what I’ve read, it like your LHR pod may have a noise issue for light sleepers like me. And now the travel times have changed just a little bit so I probably won’t use that capsule hotel, but much enjoyed your review out of Heathrow.

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