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Review: the YOTEL Gatwick Airport hotel – what’s it like to stay in a windowless cabin?

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This is my review of the YOTEL hotel at London Gatwick Airport.

The YOTEL at Gatwick Airport opened about a decade ago and despite it being right inside the South Terminal, we’ve never paid much attention to it.  The idea of sleeping in a windowless tiny cabin seemed a bit odd – though it turned out to not be an issue at all.

YOTEL offered Head for Points a free stay in a Premium room to give it a try and as I had an early morning Vueling flight to Barcelona (that fun story will follow tomorrow), I checked in at the YOTEL Gatwick.

What is YOTEL?

Founded by Yo Sushi creator Simon Woodroffe, YOTEL is based on Japanese capsule hotels.  YOTELs have rather small rooms, called cabins, and are designed for short stays.  You can pay by the hour and stay as little as four hours.

The YOTEL brand consists of two different hotel concepts

  • YOTELAIR – airport hotels
  • YOTEL – city hotels

The YOTEL New York which opened in 2011 was the first city hotel offering small and functional rooms at an affordable price in a central location. With most people spending the majority of time in the city and not the hotel room, this concept does make sense for people who want a particular level of quality but are less concerned about space.

The airport hotels are a similar design but with less communal space.  Most guests will only want to book the rooms to sleep and take a shower.

They have a loyalty scheme – sort of ….

Club@YOTEL is the loyalty scheme for the chain, although it doesn’t offer much in the way of benefits.  Members get 10% off stays at the YOTEL New York, YOTEL Singapore and YOTEL Boston – and that’s it!

You can read more about Club@YOTEL and sign up here.

You can also Virgin Flying Club miles when you stay with YOTEL, as long as you are also a member of Club@YOTEL:

You can find out more about this on the Virgin Atlantic website here.

Club@YOTEL is also a partner with Flying Blue, the Air France / KLM frequent flyer scheme.

My night at YOTEL Gatwick

There is only one other hotel which is closer to the departure gates than the YOTEL and that is the BLOC hotel (which a reader reviewed for us here). The YOTEL is literally a 5 minute walk from the train station and around 7 minutes from airport security.

For clarity, YOTEL Gatwick is landside and not airside.  (BLOC is also landside – there are no airside hotels at any UK airport as far as I know, except for the ‘by the hour’ rooms at No 1 Lounge in Heathrow T3.)  If you are in transit through Gatwick, you will need to clear immigration and, the next day, pass back through security to get to your connecting flight.

YOTEL is in the Gatwick South Terminal which is used mainly by British Airways.  There is a free monorail linking the North and South Terminals so you shouldn’t be put off if your flight is from North.  Trains from London arrive at the South Terminal so you are likely to pass through it irrespective of where you are flying from.

Yotel Gatwick review

As you come out of the station you turn right, walk towards Costa and take the lift down. The YOTEL is next to the Regus Express business centre.

Yotel Gatwick review

Check in

Mission Control, the hotel’s reception, was to the right and as the hotel is very small and there was no one else waiting, check in was super quick.

I was offered a complimentary hot drink and asked if I needed a hairdryer as there were none in the rooms.

If you need anything from a coffee cup to pyjamas or a toothbrush, you can purchase it at Mission Control. You can also pre-order a quick breakfast for £6.95, buy a curry for £4.95 (ready in 15 minutes) or get a bottle of wine for £12.

Yotel Gatwick aiport review

The cabin

The cabins are along a hallway and it felt a bit like walking along the cabins on a cruise ship – probably, as I’ve never been on a cruise ….

Yotel Gatwick aiport review

The occupied cabins had the curtains closed and the empty ones didn’t which means you could look inside the cabin from the hallway.  I was in Premium cabin number 7:

Yotel hotel gatwick review

The pink light was a bit irritating but it only took me a minute to find the light control centre by the bed.

After I shut the curtains (you just pull them down) I turned the pink light off and the normal light on.  The bed was in sofa-mode by default:

Gatwick airport Yotel review

Next to the bed was the ‘bathroom’.  You could shut the curtains and there was a sliding door which needed to be closed when taking a shower as otherwise the smoke detector might apparently go off.

The shower was larger than average, which you might find surprising given the small size of the cabin overall.  There was a handheld shower head as well as a rainfall shower.

There was one bottle of combined bodywash and shampoo in the shower.  Whilst I’m not the biggest fan of these ‘2 in 1’ products, it was actually decent.

The design of the cabin is very clever I must admit.  A table and chair are stored within the wall storage unit (see below) which also had a TV and four UK sockets.

The table could be flipped up and when the bed was in sofa mode there was enough room to sit at the table.

Wifi was complimentary and didn’t need a password.

As most guests only stay for a few hours or overnight, there was no proper wardrobe.  There was one lonely hanger for a jacket or a shirt.

There was also some storage underneath the bed which should fit two cabin bags or one regular suitcase.

There was a button to turn the sofa into a full sized double bed.  The mattress was very comfortable and I slept well.

Conclusion

Due to its location inside the airport the YOTEL is a great choice for early morning flights or when landing very late.

I believe the most important things an airport hotel has to offer are a comfortable bed, a good shower and easy access to the airport itself.

The YOTEL Gatwick does tick all three boxes and I can see myself booking a cabin again in the future. The only downside could be storage as with two people and more than two suitcases in the cabin, it could feel a bit cramped.

For stays longer than a few hours, do shop around.  The Hampton by Hilton inside the North Terminal is a ‘proper’ hotel which I reviewed here.  You’re unlikely to beat the YOTEL pricing if all you are doing is passing the time during a long stopover or arriving late for an early flight the next day.

Thanks to the YOTEL team for arranging my stay.  You can find out more, and book, on the YOTEL website here.

You can read our full series of London airport hotel reviews here.

This HfP article tells you how Club@YOTEL, the YOTEL membership scheme, works and what the benefits are if you are planning a stay.


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Comments (58)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Claire says:

    I booked a regular cabin and it was truly awful. So tiny once my case was in I struggled to manoeuvre around it. Book a premium cabin if you really want to.

  • Jamesay says:

    They must be struggling if they’re handing out freebies this long into their game.
    I’ve done the LHR “arrivals” YOTEL experience via Delta Business Class – believe me it’s ATROCIOUS! what you were in was like a palatial suite compared to the airless and windowless pods at LHR.
    Tiny cramped no AC so after a shower in a tiny pod with no air and no ac and no windows I was sweating profusely and hotter than I was before the shower. Staff were grumpy both the nesbibfif it ( gave them second chance a year later) but it’s something that I’d never recommend. Even to an enemy (if I had one).
    Yuktel!

  • Phillip Stockburn says:

    Seems expensive to me. Travelodge price around £45-£65 for the night IN A FULL SIZE ROOM

    • David says:

      You’re paying for the location though. I don’t know where the Travelodge is, but if you’re sleeping at the Yotel you could set your alarm for 20 mins before bag drop closes for your flight.

      • Rob says:

        …. and I paid £20 for a 4am Uber from the Crowne Plaza at Heathrow last year to the terminals, and that is nearer than the Travelodge is to Gatwick North ….

        • john says:

          I got an uber from there one time. Took about half an hour to arrive with one driver accepting the job but then after about 10mins of not moving, not turning up. I think they don’t like the short airport hotel -> terminal hops. Not tried the local cab companies but they might be better?

        • Charlie says:

          The Crowne Plaza will happily book a taxi from there, which will arrive unlike the Uber trick above which I’ve also suffered. Taxi was £18 fixed rate.

  • Kerry Kenton-Clarke says:

    I actually stayed at this Yotel some time back prior to an early flight out of LGW. I got a really good rate at the time (can’t remember exactly how much but I’m certain it was below £50.00). I must have had a premium room based on the descriptions – regardless, I found the room to be more than acceptable and at 6’3″ I found the double bed comfortable and thought that the wet room was excellent given the size of the overall ‘pod’. I guess the best thing is the ability to walk straight through to the check-in area.

  • Leo says:

    How big is the bed – is it a double?

  • Nick says:

    Thanks Anika, good to see something a bit different. I agree a full hotel isn’t always necessary for a quick airport visit. One question… Is it noisy from any air conditioning (etc) units? I’ve stayed in capsules before and it’s been overwhelming.

  • Russell Gowers says:

    That looks God awful. Like somewhere between second class sleeper train travel, a hospital bed, and an open prison.

    Things I would rather do than stay there include:

    – Staying in the nearby Hilton
    – Staying in the nearby Hampton by Hilton
    – Staying at home and getting up early and driving
    – Unicycling to the terminal
    – Crawling, barefoot, with an “I Love Donald Trump” sign attached to my back
    – Sacking off the flight altogether

    Seriously, what have we come to when that place is considered an acceptable way to spend the night?!

    • sunguy says:

      Despite what I say below, I have actually stayed in a Yotel(and other equivilants)….but never landside…..and they are actually pretty good when you take everything into account – especially being beyond security.

      The problem here at LGW is that it is not, and its not all that cheap either……the quote from their website is as follows:

      Premium (2 people): Daytime from £52 for 4 hours or more. Overnight from £85
      Premium Twin (2 people): Daytime from £52 for 4 hours or more. Overnight from £85

      £52 isnt too bad, but thats still only 4 hours…..

    • Lady London says:

      so @sunguy other than that, you’re quite impressed with the Yotel then?

  • sunguy says:

    Maybe Im just Hilton Centric, but, I would generally always book the Hilton or the Hampton – both of which are so close to the airport you can “touch” it….(Hilton is connected to the car park and the LGW have been absolutely stupid recently and blocked the entrance to the car park from the hotel meaning you have to wander down a very long sloping corridor and then take a lift back up to the same level the hotel is on to enter the airport). The Hampton is physically connected to the terminal and is super easy to get into. Oddly, the Hilton is often cheaper (both points and money wise) than the Hampton.

    There is also a Courtyard by Marriott which is within the airport grounds and is very walkable to the terminal building.

    I think Yotel and LGW missed a trick by not having the hotel airside – just like similar schemes at AMS, DFW and others. If it was airside, I would book that every time, but even for 4 hours, its often cheaper at other onsite hotels.

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