The tech bed-and-rest hotel.
When airport microhotel chain, YOTEL, named Singapore as its first country in its Asian expansion plans, they decided to open… in Orchard? Well, according Brendan Daly, YOTEL’s General Manager, the address makes sense due to the foot traffic, but also caters to those on a short-stay vacation. There’s a huge “future is now” vibe going on at YOTEL Orchard. Enter the brilliantly white lobby and you’ll notice self-check-in kiosks to the left (if you need help, the staff are on stand-by) followed by a pair of robots to the side, male and female, of course—we humans have a tendency to gender-specify inanimate objects (or are they actually alive?). They don’t do the work of storing luggage like their robo-counterparts in New York, but these as-yet-nameless automatons can navigate the building to make deliveries to multiple cabins, while avoiding obstacles and people. So, think giant, smarter Roombas with a delivery system. A standard YOTEL room is 14sqm but the economical use of space sees ironing boards, electrical outlets and smart TVs concealed behind the walls; or if it needs to accommodate more people, there’s the option of bunk beds as well. The whole enterprise smacks of efficiency, and whether this might spell the beginning of the slow death of manpower in hospitality remains to be seen. Oh, and in a return to its roots, expect a second YOTEL outlet to open at Jewel Changi Airport in 2018.