Travel

Esquire (Singapore) - - Contents -

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.

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