Wanderings

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YOTEL Heathrow

Sometimes the best creative design solutions are born of challenging restrictions and limitations. We may know this better than most because of the thought that goes into designing our functional, lightweight, handsome travel bags, which end up being shoved into very small overhead compartments. But we remain impressed by our design peers who carve elegant and functional environments out of the tiniest spaces. Case in point: YOTEL Heathrow, the brainchild of Renaissance man Simon Woodroffe.

The Wisecrackers recently checked into the YOTEL Heathrow because of a forced overnight connection on a flight from Lisbon back to California. The hotel is tucked into a hard-to-find corner of Terminal 4. Check in at the compact reception desk/canteen is all quite efficient, and you can order Thai noodle salad or a bottle of decent Sauvignon Blanc from Bordeaux for your “cabin.” Everything about the place is hushed; the low-level cobalt ambient lighting is vaguely clublike. The rooms are oriented along a narrow corridor just like a Pullman train car. Each cabin has a single window facing the center aisle, a detail that seems a bit superfluous since the shades are always drawn.   It all feels very North by Northwest. “Quiet Please” placards are posted everywhere. This is, remember, a place to sleep.

Our “Premium Cabin,” the largest available, measured a mere 107 square feet including the bathroom. The space resembles a first-class sky suite on one of those Middle Eastern airlines … minus the garish gilded flourishes. YOTEL’s more subdued palette is charcoal and midnight blue with more of that sexy cobalt/violet lighting. By touching a button the couch morphs into a comfortable, very well made up double bed. This is not your mother’s sleeper sofa. Starched and pressed percale sheets, a crisp duvet and decent pillows top a mattress layered with organic coir, latex and lambswool … a proper British bed to be sure. The whole place is tricked out with controls that dim plinth and recessed lighting, work the flat-screen TV and let the “passenger” order from the cabin service menu. There are clever niches and crannies for storing luggage and discreet hooks for coats; a desk folds out of the “techno wall.” The bathroom is separated from the sleeping area by a wall of thick glass, frosted from the waist down for modest types. It is fitted with high-end European fixtures, heated mirrors and an overhead monsoon shower that regrettably left our room slightly flooded after two of us had showered.

Our pod was nearly perfect for the eight hours we occupied it. “Tight” is an understatement, but the YOTEL Heathrow is efficient and designed with tons of style and luxe airline cabin panache. We sprawled on the best bed around, sipped sparkling wine, watched British TV, fiddled with each button and switch to see what it did, slept dreamily and, of course, kept our window shade down.

The takeaway: Imaginative style and luxury come in many shapes and sizes. Sometimes small is great.

Comments

Trackback from jordan
Time June 13, 2014 at 1:24 am

karlis@chevalier.shackles” rel=”nofollow”>.…

good info!…

Trackback from Ross
Time June 13, 2014 at 5:48 am

nolens@surrendering.cuddleback” rel=”nofollow”>.…

tnx for info!!…

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