A staycation at futuristic YOTEL Singapore Orchard Road can give you a glimpse of what hospitality may be like in our near future.
We do love the comfort that big hotel chains offer, but by and large those lodging experiences tend to be rather vanilla. Seen one, seen them all, as some might say. And while they are best of class in many ways, traditional hotel chains lean towards familiarity instead of exploring new approaches towards hospitality.
Then there are innovative hotel brands like YOTEL. Founded by British serial entrepreneur Simon Woodroffe OBE – the man behind global conveyor belt sushi chain YO! Sushi – YOTEL instead reimagines a luxurious standard of capsule hotel living. The YOTEL approach essentially draws inspiration from airline travel – what you would expect from a first- or business-class seat on an airline – and interprets that for hotel accommodations. The result is luxurious trappings, but delivered in a smaller, more compact, but smarter space.
We got a sense of that future at YOTEL Singapore Orchard Road.
Stepping into the lobby of YOTEL Singapore Orchard Road was like entering the command deck of a spaceship. From automated checkout stations to a pair of concierge robots – YOLANDA and YOSHI are their names – the hotel moves away from anachronistic ideas of hospitality into a more high-tech one.
The experience translates into its rooms too. Our Premium Queen cabin comes in at a very cosy fit of 14 square metres, but comes packed with the amenities a tech-savvy, urban explorer would desire in a room. You’re looking at high-speed WiFi, a smart TV to plug your entertainment devices in, and enough power sockets to provide juice for all your gadgets.
The highlight of the room is definitely its adjustable SmartBed, a YOTEL signature. Aside from its ultra-comfortable Serta Gel mattress – complete with memory foam technology – the bed can be adjusted at a touch of a button from a sleeping to sitting position for maximum comfort whatever you’re doing on it.
But it’s not all positive.
However smart the room arrangement, the space remains chronically small. Which means a large piece of luggage would be an obstruction, and you’ll need careful manoeuvring so as not to bang shins and knees on corners. The biggest downside is the lack of a table for a laptop to work from; not all of us can work while lounging in bed. The flimsy side table next to the bed can’t hold much weight, and is awkward to work from anyway.
The idea here, of course, is for you to actually head down to Komyuniti. Komyuniti is the restaurant-bar-lounge of YOTEL Singapore Orchard Road, but it also acts as informal co-working space of sorts.
Yet working at the communal dining space has its downsides as well. It is comfortable, but distractions are aplenty. For one, you’ll be tempted by the boozy concoctions from Komyuniti’s bar where award-winning mixologist As’ad Isnin holds court. And that’s even if you opt for their alcohol-free cocktail options.
If you really need to work, you’re better off with the First Class Suite in their “Workation Package“; it’s pricier than our Premium Queen View Cabin for sure, but at 28 square metres – and a proper work desk for a laptop – it’s better suited if you’re looking to work from anywhere but home.
Komyuniti offers some eclectic modern Asian eats, but chances are you’ll want to take the opportunity to explore the vicinity when mealtime comes.
There are plenty of dining and drinking options in the vicinity; it is Orchard Road after all. More casual options within walking distance include recently-opened creperie French Fold Orchard at Palais Renaissance and casual Italian eatery LINO in Forum The Shopping Mall, while Caviar also at Palais Renaissance offers a more intimate dining experience for special occasions.
Verdict: YOTEL Singapore Orchard Road offers excellent staycation opportunities for the young urban digital nomad, where you can work from your room or at its communal dining space Komyuniti. It’s not suited for young families, but will work well for urban professionals or price-sensitive honeymooning young couples looking to explore this part of Orchard Road.
You can check out room rates for YOTEL Singapore Orchard Road here.