Back in the day, if I’d have had a flight departing London at 6.30am, I would’ve taken the last train to Gatwick airport, scoped the area out for a suitable sleeping spot (FYI normally in the South terminal, overlooking the concourse between Departures and Arrivals), and settled down in an attempt to get a couple of hours of shuteye before being rudely awoken at about 3am by someone coughing loudly or playing all their ringtones in the seat opposite me. It’s a classic sitch, you guys. Following that I would’ve treated myself to a morning Costa and the knowledge that I wouldn’t be late to the gate, and upon arrival in whichever country I’m flying to, would smugly but exhaustedly drag myself around the streets of my chosen destination, happy to have saved £70 on a night in a hotel in which I would’ve only slept slightly longer than I did in the public space of the airport. However, I’ve come to realise that there are moments in life when you have to put sleep and comfort and general wellbeing above saving extra pennies, especially when lack of sleep and comfort and wellbeing could severely impact your enjoyment of your first few days away.
Yotel is a relatively new hotel chain with locations across the world, and the Yotel:Air at Gatwick Airport is a very genius kind of an option for anyone with an early flight or even a layover. I’d walked past the entrance to this mysterious space-age location many a time upon strolling through the South Terminal (weirdly I’ve spent what probably adds up to days of my life just hanging out in Gatwick airport, either waiting for planes or trains or cars to arrive), so when I booked an early morning flight to Bordeaux I got rather curious about what Yotel actually had to offer, and decided to book a room.
Related: What to do in Bordeaux
Located smack bang inside the South Terminal of Gatwick airport, the location of this place is full on PERFECT. A lift takes you down from outside Costa and the Arrivals, directly to the front door of the hotel. Meaning that it’s ideal for rolling out of bed and hopping straight onto your plane in mere minutes. Give or take a few.
The Yotel Air feels like a cross between an actual aeroplane and somewhere in Tokyo. Not that I’ve ever actually been to Tokyo. The corridors are lit exclusively in purple, and the ‘cabin’ doors leading off of them look like just that- a series of cabin doors, each with an individual window hatch complete with aeroplane-style blind to shut out the outside world with. I had a single cabin which although small and basic, is basically all you need for one night before you fly away from Blighty. The (very comfy) bed was reachable by climbing onto a step that folded away into the wall, there was also a foldable table by a mirror (again, folds into the wall), and the shower/bathroom is through a glass door within the same room. Obviously that could be a problem if you’re sharing with a pal or partner and aren’t really comfortable with using the loo or showering in front of each other. But for me it was just right, and the novelty of sleeping in a cabin on land didn’t wear off the whole time I was there. Bloody marvellous I tell you!
Whilst there are technically meals available to buy from the reception desk, I didn’t actually try any myself, mainly because there are restaurants and coffee shops directly above your head (ie on the next floor up), that I felt might offer something nicer. Soz, Yotel. I did however, make use of the free hot drinks that are available 24/7, also from the reception desk. Good one, that lass on reception.
Free, and very good WiFi, 24 hour check in and super duper customer service meant that I was well and truly charmed by this place. The best thing about it in my opinion however (in addition to its location), is that you can book it by the hour. So if you have a layover at Gatwick, it’s possible to book a cabin for a minimum of four hours just to have a decent kip in. What a full on marvellous idea. It was also the best value option for me out of all the hotels available nearby to the airport, so pals, if you’re ever stuck in need of a sleep and Yotel happens to be nearby, I’d say book away! And sweet dreams to you all.
- YotelAir currently has hotels in Amsterdam Schiphol, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Istanbul, and London Gatwick and Heathrow.
- To check it out…go here