For most people, the chance to experience all the perks and amenities of flying in first class to your next holiday destination can well be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. But what if you didn’t need to pay thousands of dollars for a first-class plane ticket, and could still have the chance to experience all the creature comforts of travelling in luxury and style? That’s the concept behind the YOTEL chain of hotels, which has just opened its first YOTEL Singapore branch in October 2017.
Modelled to look like a futuristic aircraft with many unusual touches of automation including an automated check-in/check-out process and autonomous robots that can make deliveries right to your room door on their own, many science fiction fans may even take things one step further and pretend they are on board a futuristic spaceship bound for the outer reaches of the galaxy!
YOTEL Singapore – Blasting Off From Mission Control
Getting to YOTEL Singapore is relatively easy. Nestled in a quiet corner of busy Orchard Road just behind International Building and right next to the Thai Embassy, it is centrally located near many public transport options, including Orchard MRT and the bus stops along Scotts Road and Orchard Road. Walking up to the lobby, you are immediately transported into another world as you step into Mission Control, which is what the hotel chain calls its reception and check-in area.
Decked out in a sleek and modern purple-and-white colour motif, Mission Control is easy to navigate as its name suggests. With much of the space taken up by alcove seats (complete with power sockets to charge your devices) for a quick rest or to put your luggage, the main automated check-in kiosks line one entire wall of the lobby. The best part is that there are quite a few of the kiosks, so you don’t have to wait very long to get checked in all on your own.
The check-in process itself is simple enough that nearly anyone can do it – each kiosk has a touch screen, a scanner, a credit card reader, and a slot to programme your room keycard. Just select whether you’re checking in or out, key in a few details and scan your identification documents (your passport), and you’re all set to make your own room keycard right at the terminal. It was so simple, we were done with the check-in process in less than five minutes – much faster than checking in the old-fashioned way.
But of course, if you need a bit of assistance, there’s nothing to worry about either, as the helpful YOTEL staff were standing by to help you out if you run into any difficulties, or if you just prefer to have someone help you with the process. Just let them know!
YOTEL Singapore – Lounging In First Class: The Cabin and Amenities
Apart from the very modern and futuristic look and feel, the other thing that struck us about YOTEL was its cheeky sense of humour and fun. There are cute little fun quotes everywhere, including on the room keycards, and as we were travelling up to the cabin in the elevator, they even had a very interesting choice of elevator music that anyone growing up watching Sesame Street would recognize. The elevator door opens up to a purple hue lobby that will take every ounce of your photography / filter skills to make the photo work.
Reaching the room itself, we are struck by how compact, cozy and modern the cabin is, with a very strong focus on and attention to design. Our cabin, a Premium Queen with View (although you can choose between anything from a standard Premium Queen room for 2, to the VIP Suite) is a sleek space that has pretty much everything you need in a hotel room, including a large flatscreen TV you can connect your own devices, a mini fridge, safe, hairdryer, iron and ironing board, as well as complimentary fast WiFi, bottled water and coffee/tea making facilities. Everything is designed to be tucked away and hidden, so we had a bit of fun prodding around the room to find out what was hidden in every nook and cranny.
The highlight of the cabin, however, was the hotel’s custom SmartBed. Equipped with a comfy Serta memory foam mattress and adjustable controls, the SmartBed doubles up not just as a place for you to sleep, but can also be a comfy sofa to relax on as you binge on Netflix!
The bathroom, which is fully integrated into the room, was equally well-designed and stocked up generously with toiletries from the Urban Skincare range and a rain shower, and also had full-length windows offering an amazing view of Orchard Road and its surroundings. But don’t worry – there are blinds that you can roll down to protect your modesty while you shower.
YOTEL Singapore – Hello Yoshi and Yolanda
Of course, we couldn’t check out without first checking out another of the hotel’s highlights – the two autonomous robots, cutely named Yoshi and Yolanda, who roam the halls of the hotel on their own, delivering items to guests that have requested them. Yoshi and Yolanda work because they are integrated well into the hotel, meaning that they can call the elevators, and can deliver anything from extra towels and bedroom slippers, to more bottled water for thirsty guests.
You don’t have to wait by the door for them either, as they can also call your room to let you know when they’re outside. Even better – they sing a little song to entertain guests after they’ve completed a delivery. So don’t be surprised to see them rolling down the halls on your next visit, or even riding the lift with you!
YOTEL Singapore – Conveniently Located, Good Facilities
Overall, YOTEL has a lot to offer. Being located right in Orchard Road means it is perfect for any tourist or business traveller looking for a decently priced and convenient location to stay. It has pretty much what you need to rest and relax, including a lap pool and gym.
There are food options aplenty, including the hotel’s own Grain and Hops restaurant, which offers the standard hotel breakfast buffet in the mornings and healthy rice bowls and craft beer the rest of the day, as well as other restaurants nearby, such as Hans im Gluck’s healthier German burgers.
So if you’re looking for a nice place with a flourish of futuristic touches to stay on your next trip or staycation, you can keep YOTEL Singapore in mind!
YOTEL Singapore – Book Your Next Staycation
YOTEL Singapore rooms are available from $164SGD (as of 15 Apr 2018, check hotel website or your preferred booking website or agent for latest rates). YOTELs can be found in 7 cities worldwide, including New York, Boston, Amsterdam, Paris and London. A second YOTEL will open in Singapore at Jewel Changi Airport in 2019.