With business travel increasing, as the economies recover, the airports have started handling more passengers. With economies in the eastern part of the world doing much better than other geographies, it is inviting more business travelers from the west than ever before. It involves long flights, complicated connections and sometimes lengthy layovers. The airports are upgrading and the airport lounges are fairly comfortable almost everywhere. But you can’t possibly kill six hours in an airport lounge, take the last leg of your flight and expect to drive directly to a business meeting from the airport. But then six hours is not enough time for you to drive to town and check in to a hotel for some rest and be back to the airport in time to catch your connecting flight. You need to be at the airport and at the same time you need some rest.
Simon Woodroffe provides the answer with his Yotel. Simon was determined to create a premium hotel experience on a micro level aimed at layover passengers and those with unexpected airport delays. At Heathrow the Yotel is located in Terminal 4. It is a 32 cabin block that hides behind a very modern glass face. The space at the airport is at a premium so the cabins are squeezed in a minimal space. The standard cabin is a one-room layout of integrated toilet and glass-enclosed shower opposite sleeping quarters with wall-mounted televisions and beds ideal for one person. Though, it is big enough for a cozy couple to squeeze in. The service is also simple and functional. The check in is done ATM style through a kiosk in Terminal 4.
There are some Premium cabins as well which have larger beds and the walls boast of wood veneer. They have an expanded entertainment console. They must be given credit for making the optimum use of the space. The monsoon shower has better styling than most of the four star hotels in London. The company is already working on a concept hotel in New York. They would not be located in the airport but just outside and if they keep to the schedule they should be open sometime this year. Yotel had launched first at London Gatwick. Their Heathrow branch came up in late 2007 and in Amsterdam Schiphol in 2008. Sheraton has the largest presence in the European airport hubs, including Frankfurt am Main. The Starwood owned chain has historically maintained a monopoly on several of the top European airports. At Frankfurt they operate the Sheraton Frankfurt Hotel & Towers which is attached directly to the airport’s Terminal 1. The hotel has been designed with the business traveler in mind. The rooms will impress you immediately with their LCD flat screen televisions and rooms with views of the runway. These rooms are great for those who love watching airplanes. The hotels directly attached to the airports have an inherent advantage of a captive market of passengers traveling through the airport and even with hourly rates they boast of high occupancy through the year.