The long awaited YOTEL concept is set to change the hospitality industry, and will be developed throughout the world in prime city centre and airport locations. A third hotel is planned to open in central London in 2007 while international sites are also under negotiation.
At London Heathrow, a 40 cabin YOTEL will open within Terminal 4 and at London Gatwick, a 50 cabin YOTEL will open within the South Terminal building, both in mid 2006 following an agreement with British Airport Authorities (BAA). YOTEL was founded by Yo! Founder Simon Woodroffe and YOTEL CEO Gerard Greene, who were seeking to develop a product that offered low cost luxury accommodation. Indeed, the idea for YOTEL was conceived by Simon, who on one occasion was lucky enough to be upgraded into first-class on a flight.
He decided to translate the language of luxury airline travel into a small capsule-style hotel and over the past three years, Gerard has evolved the vision into today's reality. Gerard and Simon, who after three years of development are pleased to finally announce the first sites, have searched for what they call the holy grail of retail, namely 'the delivery of aspirational luxury at a low cost', which they say requires a quantum leap in thinking and design. According to Simon: 'Ask a focus group if they would like to sleep in a 10sq metre room with no natural light and you won't get many takers - walk into the YOTEL room and you want it'.
'We are extremely excited by the recent investment by IFA Hotels & Resorts which will facilitate our global expansion plans and with our agreement with BAA, one of the leading airport operators in the world. These agreements with major international corporations create a solid foundation for the future of YOTEL,' says Gerard. Abdulwahab Ahmad Al-Nakib, Chairman, Univest Group noted, 'At Univest Group we thoroughly believe in innovation which is why this new relationship represents a unique repositioning opportunity.
YOTEL is one of the most groundbreaking projects to take place within the hotel industry in recent years and we look forward to maximizing the value of the investment with our partners.' Duncan Bonfield, Corporate Communications Director, BAA said: 'Heathrow and Gatwick are the country's busiest airports, handling in excess of 95m passengers every year. Our priority is to provide a world-class experience for passengers, and in order to achieve this, we need to be creative in how we use the limited space available.
The arrival of YOTEL inside our airport terminals will demonstrate our willingness to embrace innovation, whilst giving passengers what they want - where they want it.' Talal Jassim Al-Bahar, IFA Hotels & Resort's Chairman and Managing Director, stated 'IFA Hotels & Resort's mission is to provide a truly outstanding international network of tourism opportunities to global consumers, beyond our existing presence in South Africa, Zanzibar and The Middle East, this latest development is another example of our commitment to ensure superior quality through partnering with other industry innovators.'
About YOTEL www.yotel.com With the signature YO! formula of innovation and entertainment, the YOTEL concept uses the language of airline travel and offers a business class experience for less than £80 a night. Designed by Priestman Goode, who have helped Airbus define the interior of the double deck aircraft of the future, the 'cabins' are 10m² and feature rotating double beds, techno walls, sophisticated lighting, pull down desks, monsoon shower, flat screen TV and wi-fi access. Cabins will be bookable in blocks of four hours enabling delayed and transfer passengers to relax privately in a hotel environment. In addition, passengers leaving on those early morning flights can stay the night before to catch some extras hours sleep in the morning and check in online from the comfort of their rooms safe in the knowledge that they are just a casual stroll for their next morning's departure.
Early arriving passengers may also check-in for a few hours before going to a meeting. However, the truly revolutionary element of YOTEL is its windows, which will face onto the corridor creating a 'street', while at the same time providing complete light and sound privacy at the guest's wishes. This will allow YOTEL to open in tricky central city locations, airports, rail hubs and even underground. Reduced land costs add to YOTEL's ability to provide affordable prices. IFA Hotels & Resorts is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kuwait's International Financial Advisors (IFA), and is widely recognised as one of the world's leading international companies engaged in the development of premier integrated and mixed-use hotel and tourism resort projects throughout Europe, the Middle East, the Indian Ocean and Africa.
IFA Hotels & Resorts is also the force behind the super-premium Sheraton Algarve Hotel and Pine Cliffs Resort in Portugal. Throughout the world, IFA Hotels & Resorts aims to link its resorts in Dubai, South Africa, Zanzibar, Lebanon and Portugal to new parts of the globe, such as Mauritius, Eastern Europe and the Far East. This will offer residential investors and tourist visitors alike, to follow IFA Hotels & Resorts throughout a unique network of world-class hotels, residential resorts, vacation and residence club destinations. IFA Hotels & Resorts programme of brand acquisition and developer partnerships will continue into the future and is evidenced by the ever growing strength of product range unique to a single company within the hospitality real estate industry.
About Univest www.univestgroup.com Univest Group is a Paris based financial consulting firm that specializes in unique global investments. Its mission is to utilize its expanding relationships with its global partners, affiliates and investors towards sourcing, structuring and offering unique investment opportunities in international markets. Univest's financial activities primarily services our group of high net worth individuals and institutions while providing them professional global support. Univest's services and investment activities include hedge funds, private equity, venture capital, real estate, structured and discretionary asset management and other value-added financial services to high net worth individuals and institutional investors. Univest Group office's are in Kuwait, New York, Paris and the Cayman Islands.
About BAA www.baa.co.uk BAA is the world's leading airport company, at the heart of the world's transport network. The airports are the gateways to the cities and countries they serve. BAA own and operate seven UK airports, including Heathrow and Gatwick, through which over 95m passengers travel each year. Their success in UK airport management has allowed the company to expand internationally and BAA have management contracts or stakes in 11 airports outside of the UK. In addition, BAA is the world's leading airport retailer grown due to their unrivalled knowledge of airports and the people who use them. Shops and other services are integrated into terminals in a way that supports efficient airport operation and enhances traveller experience. For further information please contact: Manager: Public Relations IFA Hotels & Resorts Melanie Maier Tel: +971 50 640 4674 Fax: +971 4 366 4644 Orient Planet PR & Marketing Communications PO Box 23345, Dubai, UAE Tel : +971 4 3988901 Fax : +971 4 3988941 Website: www.orientplanet.com Alice Swinhoe / Andrea Wait Amanda Gore Booth ZFL PRCo Tel: 020 7259 1100