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Paris CDG: New hotel, New design

Stuart Pannel

Author: Stuart Pannell

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The YOTEL brand is already well known for award winning design and innovation. Following the design success of our other airport hotels across Europe, YOTELAIR Paris CDG was an opportunity to develop the next generation of YOTELAIR cabins and open spaces, not only building on the learnings from operating the existing airport hotels and valuable guest feedback, but also from operating a 713-cabin hotel in the heart of Manhattan.

On 8th November 2016, our fourth YOTELAIR hotel opens at Paris, Charles de Gaulle airport - joining our existing airport hotels at London Heathrow, London Gatwick and Amsterdam Schiphol locations. YOTELAIR at CDG was the result of a partnership with Aéroport de Paris to build the only air-side hotel in the airport, located in the popular transit area of Terminal 2E that is home to the SkyTeam Alliance partners including Air France.

Combined with input from the airlines and teams at CDG, we designed the new hotel to include (for the first time) our signature Club Lounge concept which creates a sense of community with open spaces designed for work, rest and play and made several small detailed adjustments to our core cabin design.

YOTELAIR, next generation

Air-side at CDG we designed a floor plan layout that fits 80 rooms. Our 10sqm Premium Cabins (double rooms) represent 85% of the total number of rooms offering double occupancy. Demand has shown us that on the air-side there is a need to cater for small family groups, for which we have designed our 19sqm Family Cabins with bunk beds. In the Club Lounge, there will be a snug designed for small gatherings, chilling out and watching TV or hang out with friends. We have chosen furniture and spaces to suit all needs and even designed the co-working spaces with board games, making sure everyone gets to relax and play.

Cabins designed around the needs of a guest

 

Our airport guests do have different requirement than city centre ones. Travelling can be extremely stressful and exhausting. Guests that visit us can be in transit from one destination to another, coming off a long-haul flight or having to stay at the airport the night before an extremely early flight. Usually they’re jet-lagged, tired and hungry and just want to sleep and refresh as efficiently as possible. The average length of stay at a YOTELAIR is just 7 hours so guests want all the basics covered and to use the cabin intuitively to maximise the time they have to rest. Everything is designed around making every stay as comfortable as possible, with everything you need and nothing you don’t.

There are six key elements to the YOTELAIR Paris CDG experience

Bed: Our signature SmartBed™ with its aircraft inspired design! Rotating the bed 90 degrees, different from our existing airport hotel layout meant we could design in a larger motorised bed which adjusts to a sofa position when required. Our new Serta gel mattress ensures the most comfortable sleep.

Shower: Every guest expects a hot shower, but we’ve upgraded our sanitary fittings to provide a real monsoon shower experience in every cabin.

Blackout: Super important for airport guests who can be trying to adjust from different time zones, so much that we removed the cabin window to ensure the cabin is 100% blackout to improve sleep quality and help with recovery from jet lag. When they’re ready to wake up, coloured mood lighting rather than harsh spotlights help to create a soft wakeup.

Acoustic: Whilst always top on the priority list, this is vital for airport guests. Removing the cabin window means better noise insulation from corridors, airport hotels being busy with traffic almost 24/7. 

Temperature: Another characteristic we find that differs from city hotels is that airport guests require cooler in-room temperatures. This is because airport guests have normally been stuck in hot stuffy aircraft, also because our airport cabins are naturally hotter due to their location inside existing terminal buildings.

Connectivity: Along with the absolute ‘must have’ of free fast WiFi, we know that guests now travel with their own content and devices, rather than wanting to watch ours. Therefore, we have installed TeleAdapt units in each cabin allowing guests to wirelessly connect their devices to the TV to stream their music or connect via a cable to stream video content. USB charging is also very important too, along with international power sockets with UK, EU and US plugs featured. If you do feel like working in your cabin, there is a drop-down desk.

YOTEL’s warm and modern materials

YOTELAIR Paris CDG’s colour and material palette retains the white Corian, light oak and purple surfaces, along with white ceiling discs and unique carpet design featured in our other properties. Further enhancements have been made to introduce some warm, darker wood tones into the Club Lounge furniture pieces, add cork and blackboard wall surfaces into the Snug space and reintroduce the chain curtain with a new design which features YOTEL’s signature lozenge motif. The embossed lozenge design, also found in YOTEL New York and other airport hotels, is seen in Paris around Mission Control, coupled with our bespoke Shinpei artwork on the walls behind our check-in kiosks. The iconic YOTEL entrance arch stands over the doorway leading back into the hectic Terminal 2E transit area via the new Instant Paris transit area.

Club Lounge, a new space for people to hang out

The Club Lounge was very important to get right, as this is the first lounge environment in our airport hotels, it was crucial that we made the lounge feel relaxed, but also convenient for our guests. Every seat has access to either a conventional power or USB power socket to keep devices fully charged. For guests who wish to have a break from screens and want to resort to traditional methods of entertainment, we decided to introduce board games which are inset into the club lounge communal tables. Kids and adults can play a quick game of chess, draughts or snakes-and-ladders or a longer game of monopoly! And yes, it is the French version too!! For the food and drink offering, we wanted to be able to serve chilled or ambient foods in an interesting way, and we collaborated with Roesler in Germany to introduce a customised food vending machine. These larger vending machines were traditionally used to dispense farmers’ produce in rural communities. At YOTELAIR Paris CDG you just select what you want, pay using contactless payments and open the box of your choice to reveal the products. Try it next time you’re in CDG!

No design without challenges

We experienced several design challenges in developing the hotel. The biggest hurdle was due to developing a project in an air-side location, on a remote pier, in an airport where clearly security is of the utmost importance. All contractors, personnel, materials, everything had to pass through scanners and several security checkpoints before arriving on site. The site was regularly reclassified as international transit/air-side at multiple instances throughout the project, as there were other projects going on nearby at the same time. The site itself is also vast, measuring only 18m wide, but 155m long which for an 80-cabin hotel was a huge area to navigate throughout the maze of corridors, particularly when every room looked the same!

More YOTELs on the way

Next time you are visiting Paris, or transiting through, we invite you to visit the property and see our latest YOTELAIR property. We now turn our efforts to city hotels for 2017 where we open YOTEL Boston (326 cabins), YOTEL Singapore Orchard Road (610 cabins) and YOTEL San Francisco (202 cabins). The next YOTELAIR hotel will be in Singapore Changi airport (129 cabins) in early 2019.

 

Author: Stuart Pannell

Stuart heads up YOTEL's design division, focusing on developing and maintaining the brand's design standards across the future global pipeline. Stuart has worked on the YOTELAIR Paris CDG project since its design inception in Summer 2013.

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