Pod Hotel Brand Yotel to Make U.S. Debut

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Yotel announced it will open its first location in the U.S. this June with a 667-room structure in New York City's Times Square. Currently, the brand has locations at London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports, and at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport.

So, why is this interesting? Let's count the ways. First, Yotel is an almost fully automated hotel. Guests check in via self-service kiosks, though there is staff on hand to assist. Then there's something called Yobot, which is an automated luggage storage system operated by a robot (well, a Yobot).

Rooms are generally small, which is not at all unique for New York, but they're laid out with a bit more concern for human comfort than your average Big Apple broom-closet hotel room.

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Basic rooms start at around 170 square feet, and come with a queen bed and, in some cases, a suspended single bunk bed. The rooms are done up in a modern style, and come equipped with a "technowall," which has a flat-screen TV, music player, and power for computers and other gadgets. More expensive rooms are larger and add small seating areas.

Speaking of "expensive," you're probably saying to yourself, "OK, sounds interesting, but it had better be cheap." Yotel says introductory rates will start at $149 per night, with lower rates available to customers who sign up on Facebook.

$149 is a pretty good price for a Midtown hotel, especially a new one. Consider that it's only $40 more than a double at the Hotel Carter—a repeat winner of TripAdvisor's Dirtiest Hotels awards—for an early June weekend. But introductory prices are just that, and the real value of Yotel will depend on its day-to-day rates after the promotions end.

Readers, would you stay at Yotel? How small is too small?

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