Located near Times Square, YOTEL New York City is close to the tourist action, although its Hell’s Kitchen address makes it easier for something a bit edgier, as well. Walking the elevated High Line Park, eating your way through 9th Avenue’s cheap lunch specials or cycling around on a $3 bike rental provided by YOTEL’s partnership with MSC Customs are just a few ways to spend an afternoon — although the hotel website provides numerous other suggestions.
It’s hard to miss YOTEL, especially considering its neon purple sign attracted me like a moth to a flame — or a Jetson to a flying car. Walking into the lobby, I’m instantly transported to the year 2062, a touchscreen check-in Ground Control to my left and a giant porter to my right. Named YOBOT, it’s a giant metal arm that fills the entire room, taking your luggage and placing into storage drawers in the walls until you’re ready to retrieve it, useful for when you’re trivago magazineg out but aren’t ready to head to the airport. If you’d like human assistance, just look for the staff wearing “Calling Major Tom” shirts (get it?).
The YOTEL concept is inspired by first class travel, translating the language of luxury airline travel into a sleek compact hotel room with Japanese influences. Social and co-working spaces also strive for a sense of community, while the city center location makes it a prime point from which to begin your NYC exploration.
The fourth floor aptly named FOUR, is where most of the action happens: eating, drinking, shopping, working out and tour booking. Exiting the elevator, I’m again attracted to the light, this time a retail shop embedded into the Mission Control (reception) desk. Instead of selling cheesy “I Love New York” t-shirts and Statue of Liberty key chains, items mimic the hotel’s design, tech and environmentally-friendly ideals. Think vegan nail polishes, “I Lego NY” books featuring creative New York scenes crafted from Legos, stylish Marshall Headphones pouring out rich crisp sounds, international adapters, snazzy YOTEL mini leather pouches and re-useable YOTEL Bobble Water Bottles.
Head to the right of the desk and you’re in a warm-weather hot spot; Manhattan’s largest outdoor terrace — aptly named The Terrace — offering up views of Times Square and the NYC skyline paired with craft cocktails.
Tip: Order “The Paddington Punch” made with Appleton estate rum, orange marmalade, cinnamon and lime on the rocks for something your palate certainly won’t forget. The Terrace has dual personalities, acting as a sun-soaked expansion of the hotel’s restaurant East & West (complete with free hot drinks and muffins in the morning) and a social al fresco DJ’d lounge after dark.
Step indoors into the Green Lounge to play a game of pool and create a design on the Lego Wall, fun for creating Instagram-able works of art.
One of the most interesting spaces in the hotel is undoubtedly the East & West Restaurant, inspired by a business class airline lounge, as well as the intersection of travel and technology, and of eastern and western cuisines. Salivate over seared tuna burgers topped with pickled ginger and miso mayo, Chinese chicken gowned in toasted sesame dressing, and a tangy “Smokey Pear Margarita” blending Milagro Silver Tequila, benedictine, Asian pear and lime enhanced by a smoked sea salt rim. The venue features no walls, an open space spilling into the hotel itself with large windows outlining Manhattan views. There are communal tables with charging stations, a bar counter for solo diners, cozy banquettes and even private tables that become enclosed with translucent casing.
Probably the space you’re most curious about is the guest rooms, called “cabins” in YOTEL terminology. The property features 669 cabins in five categories, all complete with ‘Smartbeds’ — picture adjustable postures, flatbed-to-sofa conversion and an uber comfortable Serta mattress specifically designed for YOTEL. Moreover, there’s free high-strength Wi-Fi, bathrooms with monsoon showers and heated towel racks, and a shelf functioning as a Techno Wall, a shelving and charging unit and desk with flat screen TV that turns into a stereo (talk about multi functional!). While rooms aren’t huge, they use space in a way that you barely feel the lack of it.
Q&A From The YOTEL NYC Insiders
Q: So, what kind of traveler are they catering to?
A: “Everyone.” Says Jenn Williams, YOTEL’s Marketing & PR Manager, “The majority of our guests are coming from within the U.S., but we also receive a mix coming from Europe — especially the UK– and Canada. We appeal to a broad range of guests seeking great value, design and luxury at affordable prices.”
So what do you think? Would you give the YOTEL New York City a try?