Sunday, October 21, 2012
Review: Yotel New York
From the moment you arrive at Yotel in New York, it's obvious you're in for a different kind of hotel experience. The bright façade (white during the day, lit purple at night) stands out from the rest of the local decor. But it's not just a surface difference; Yotel is probably unlike any hotel you've stayed at.
Check-in at Yotel is entirely automated, though there are lobby employees on hand to help you if you struggle with the process. I found it was incredibly easy to get my room key and get checked in, though the hotel could've made it more clear that the lobby elevators led to a landing floor where you had to take a second set of elevators to the room floors.
The rooms themselves are small for the price, but designed with efficiency in mind. There's a wall-mounted flat screen TV, a bed/couch (in some rooms it's actually convertible by power switch, in others it just serves a dual purpose) a tiny desk and a small, open drawer/closet combo. If you're staying here for more than just a few days, you may find that there's actually not enough space to unpack your entire suitcase. There is under-bed storage space, but it's something to keep in mind if you're planning a longer stay.
The convertible bed is convenient, but it's not exactly comfortable. In fact, it's probably the stiffest hotel bed I've ever slept on. If you like a harder bed, you'll be fine. I don't. I wasn't. By my third night there, I was dying for a better mattress.
As part of its whole "dedication to efficiency", Yotel doesn't have room service. It does have a restaurant/lounge on the fourth floor. I'd love to tell you how it was, but every night of my stay it was reserved for a private event. Given that the in-house menu described it as a Latin/Asian fusion style, I probably would've passed anyway. Besides, it's New York. There are literally hundreds of better places to eat than a hotel restaurant. There are multiple pizza places, sports bars and steakhouses within a two-block walk of Yotel, so it's not like you're lacking for options. If you want to stock up your room with snacks and drinks, there's a CVS right across the street (there's also a Subway, but if you're in New York, don't eat at a fast food chain).
For those traveling specifically for New York Comic Con, keep in mind that Yotel isn't on the show's shuttle route. It is within walking distance of the Javits Center, but "walking distance" can shrink when you're carrying big swag bags or heavy piles of comics. So keep that in mind when booking. It's also within walking distance of Port Authority and a short cab ride from Grand Central and Penn Station, which makes it a good choice for non-airline travelers.
Overall, Yotel is a solid hotel, and a decent stay for the price, but the bed was a definite negative. It's not a dealbreaker, but I think I might look elsewhere for NYCC 2013.