FEATURE: Japanese capsule hotel-inspired YOTEL launched at London airport.

July 20, 2007

LONDON, June 30 Kyodo

A revolutionary ''cabin'' hotel, inspired by Japanese capsule hotels and luxury airline travel, has been launched at London's GatwickAirport to provide ''stylish yet affordable'' accommodation for travelers.

The YOTEL was conceived by Simon Woodroffe, the founder of the YO! brand and the person commonly credited with bringing conveyor belt-style sushi restaurants to Britain, and elsewhere, from Japan with his popular YO! Sushi chain.

As the first hotel to be located actually inside a British airport terminal, the YOTEL is designed to ''provide the ideal solution toearly morning flights and long, scheduled transfers, as well as unexpected flight delays and cancellations,'' with cabins that can be booked by the hour or for whole nights.

''Traveling can be a painful experience so we are looking to makeit as pleasurable as possible. In the 21st century, luxury will be available to everybody at the right cost and this is a taste of thatfuture,'' Woodroffe explained.

And with features including mood lighting and luxury bedding to ''induce relaxation,'' high-end bathroom fittings, and access to freedigital television, radio and Wi-Fi Internet, the cabins certainly exude a level of comfort not previously associated with the average airport hotel.

Adding to the exclusivity, YOTEL has partnered with various othercompanies to provide benefits for its guests at Gatwick, including a car transfer service and the opportunity to purchase travel and cosmetic accessories and stationary on site from Japanese concept living store Muji.

Gatwick's Managing Director Andy Flower is pleased with the addition to the airport, stating, ''YOTEL is a fresh hotel concept and weare delighted to welcome this innovative new experience...it is always exciting to launch a new service which brings more choice for travelers.''

For Woodroffe and his CEO Gerard Greene the concept does not stopat just one hotel however: the plans are for expansion -- quickly, and on a large scale -- with a second YOTEL to be opened in the coming months at the world's third busiest airport, Heathrow, before other major international cities and airports are targeted.

''We expect this radical approach to be extremely popular with a range of consumers and are looking to expand globally,'' Woodroffe stated, expressing hope that his hotels will be as successful as his other Japanese-inspired import, of sushi restaurants.

The first wave of 46 cabins at Gatwick Airport's South Terminal -just a stroll from departures -- can be booked now with prices ranging from 25 pounds (approximately $50) for four hours and from 55 pounds overnight for a standard cabin and from 40 pounds for four hours and from 80 pounds overnight for a premium cabin.