Archive for May, 2011

Gotta Go To Yo

Posted in Hot Places on May 5, 2011 by Bright Lights

Last night was the official launch party for Yotel New York.  For those of you who have never heard of Yotel, its a hotel brand from the UK which draws its inspiration from first class airline travel and Japanese capsule hotels.  I had the opportunity to tour the hotel and its amenities at the launch party, and I was nothing short of impressed.

First of all, Yotel’s decor, while ultra modern, has an informality about it which is welcoming.  From the moment that you enter the hotel to an area they call Ground Control and see the Yobot (a robot to store your luggage before check-in or after check-out), you are having fun.

After checking in at a kiosk, much like an airline kiosk, you take an elevator to the 4th Floor to an area they refer to as Mission Control.  The friendly staff will make you feel at home with their informal, yet stylish dress of jeans and white button down shirts.  With all this talk of Ground and Mission Control, you will be tempted to ask for Major Tom and I’m sure they won’t mind.

The 4th Floor houses most of the hotel’s entertainment options including the Dohyo Restaurant, The Club Lounge and Bar, private lounge cabins, and a terrace bar.  Yotel has one of the largest, if not the largest, outdoor terraces of all New York City hotels.  Note that all food and beverage service is provided by the renowned restaurateur Richard Sandoval who is the genius behind restaurants like Pampano, Zengo and Maya. He also is behind Pampano Taqueria which I wrote about last year.

I was both surprised and delighted to see that the rooms of Yotel do not seem cramped.  Technically, they are on the smaller side, but their efficiency and high quality finishes more than make up for the lost space.  According to Yotel, the average hotel room cost in New York City is $250 a night, and they are offering their cabins starting at $150 a night.  As you take a closer look at the room, you find that it has many interesting and useful features that other more expensive hotel chains do not have.  For instance, the bed can adjust to sit up (like British Airways first class) or it can be completely horizontal like a typical bed.  In addition, there are built in reading lamps over the bed and the bathroom has a heated towel rack.

The launch party included a truly inspirational speech by Simon Woodroffe where he discussed how and why he started the Yo! brand and Yotel in particular.  He talked about when he started the Yo! Sushi brand and how market research was useless when there is not an existing market for the product you are selling.

Woodroffe joked “how could I prove that people would enjoy eating sushi from a conveyor belt and drinks served by a robot when it had never been done before.”  I had the opportunity to speak with Woodroffe after his presentation, and he talked about how people are more likely to regret not taking risks to follow their dreams than they are to look back and say ‘i’m sorry I took that risk.’  He followed it up by talking about how the statistics of entrepreneurship don’t give the entire picture.  He spoke of how you can’t just look at the success ratio in a vacuum.  “How many of these people end up succeeding on their second go-around because they had the guts to follow their dreams?”

Yotel New York has done a marvelous job building out their hotel.  Rooms are expected to open to the public on June 1, 2011.

Several years ago, I flew first class on a business trip to London.  The first class flight experience was unique and exciting.  I believe that Yotel has captured that same essence and travelers to New York will soon be going out of their way to stay there.  With affordable prices, a high level of service, and a fun atmosphere, Yotel is a win, win, win.

Yotel New York is located at 510 Tenth Avenue in Manhattan.

Bright Lights, Big City.