Asia’s first Yotel, a capsule hotel meets airline lounge concept, has opened in a plum spot along the Orchard Road shopping belt. Rachel AJ Lee finds out if the hotel lives up to its tagline of offering “everything I need, and nothing I don’t”
Yotel’s third city hotel stands in the heart of the bustling Orchard district. Within a 10-minute-walk radius is the underground Orchard MRT Station, and shopping centres such as Shaw Centre, Scotts Square, Wheelock Place and Ion Orchard.
Rooms come in seven configurations, and from the 13m2 Premium Queen up to the 52m2 VIP View Suite. My room was a 13m2 Premium Queen View, and it was perched on the 23rd storey.
The room was compact, and has been designed to be a cross between a Japanese capsule hotel and a first-class airline lounge. Neutral colours such as grey and white dominate, with pops of purple thrown into the mix.
The floor-to-ceiling windows in the bathroom allowed an abundance of natural daylight to stream into the room, and afforded a view of the surrounding skyline. Toiletries were from Australian brand Urban Skincare, but instead of tiny bottles, they are in dispensers attached to the walls.
As there was no way the toilet and the shower could be used separately, and the frosted glass left little to imagination, one downside is that friends travelling together might need to stay in separate rooms. And unless you are extremely comfortable with having your body on display, remember to draw the blinds when you shower or use the toilet.
What I loved was the clever and functional design that maximised every available space. For instance, a panel just below the 40-inch flatscreen TV opens up to reveal another power socket and two USB ports. Just beside it are two other cabinets that concealed an umbrella and ironing board, as well as three wall pegs that could be pulled out for use.
In one corner of the room was a bedside table that comprised a pull-out desk, and held coffee- and tea-making facilities, as well as a safe, fridge, and folding chair. Note that travellers with more than two large suitcases may find it a challenge to find enough storage space.
Personally, even when the adjustable bed was fully extended (it was originally in a sofa position), there was more than enough space for two to manoeuvre about the room. The mattress was extremely comfortable as well, and I woke up refreshed having slept really well.
Like the rooms, the spotless and brightly-lit lobby – aka Mission Control – also oozed a futuristic vibe, and every time I walked through it, I felt as if I was boarding a spaceship. There was also a signature floral scent that was diffused throughout the property.
There is only one restaurant, Grain & Hops, on the premises.
My stay included breakfast, and the spread that morning was modest. There were several hot dishes – samosas, sunny-side ups, chicken sausages, grilled tomatoes and fried rice – as well as congee, three types of salads, bread, pastries, coffee and juices.
In the afternoon and evenings, the hotel offers nine varieties of rice bowls topped with proteins such as miso-salmon fish, or a roasted Kurobuta pork collar. There are also salads, and sharing platters comprising skewers, grains and dips. The drinks menu features various cocktails, and the hotel’s eponymous pale ale.
If breakfast is not included in your stay, don’t fret. There are numerous brunch places such as Cedele at Wheelock, or Wild Honey at Scotts Square nearby.
Aside from the restaurant, also located on the 10th storey are a gym with basic equipment, a 20m-long lap pool, and a co-working space.
I didn’t get many opportunities to interact with members of staff as I was able to check myself in and out using the touchscreen computers that came with easy-to-follow prompts. I even made my own key card!
Both the restaurant server and the staff who verifed my identification were friendly and courteous.
Yotel Singapore’s location is unbeatable, and will make for an affordable and practical stay for several nights.
No. of rooms 610
Rates From S$229 (US$169)
Tel: (65) 6866-8000