The situation: you’re waylaid at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle (CDG) airport for hours or even half a day until your next flight. You didn’t/couldn’t sleep on the flight, and now you’re exhausted.
- Find a pricey hotel outside the airport meaning you’ll have to pass out and back through security and passport control. And claim and recheck your luggage.
- Find a public space (bench, chaise lounge, or baggage carousel) to sleep somewhere in the airport. Good luck with that.
- Sleep at YotelAir CDG — a short-term hotel located within the Paris airport.
Having read mixed reviews a la Google, Booking.com, and other sites, I decided a stay at YotelAir at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle (CDG) airport was the best option.
To clear up some confusion surrounding many of the reviews, some travelers (a) visit YotelAir solely for the lounge amenities, while others (b) use it as a short-term, by-the-hour hotel to enjoy a shower and proper snooze — in an actual bed — while in transit.
Straight up, I would not recommend YotelAir as a lounge. Just don’t. You’ll be sorely disappointed (more on this below), as there are much better lounges at CDG.
For this write-up, I’m strictly reviewing the property as a hotel.
Yotel CDG Review
The Skinny on Yotel CDG
In Yotel’s own words, Yotel Air Paris is:
… ideal for transit passengers with a long stopover in between flights or, those who want to freshen up before leaving the airport.
YOTELAIR is ideal for the ‘Smart’ traveller who checks in their hold luggage the night before an early flight so that they can be ready and wake up refreshed, just minutes away from their departure gate in the morning… more sleep? Yes please!
The Traveler’s Take
My Room at Yotel Air CDG
Yotel has built a brand on tiny, ultra-efficient hotel rooms with a bright, bold, modern decor. YotelAir at Paris’ CDG airport is no different. The rooms (called “cabins”) feel like a combination of a Japanese capsule hotel and Bruce Willis’ apartment in The Fifth Element.
My entry-level Premium Cabin was compact with only enough room for the bed and space to walk on one side. That walkway leads straight from the room door, past the bed, to the bathroom. At roughly 100 square feet, it’s a no-nonsense layout.
The only piece of furniture in the room is a soft couch that transforms into a bed with the touch of a button. I found the bed clean, plush, and very comfortable.
Opposite the bed is what Yotel calls the “Technowall” — a flat-screen TV with a half-dozen channels, plus a handful of international electrical outlets so no matter where you’re coming from, you shouldn’t have an issue topping off your devices. A fold-down panel at the bottom of the wall serves as a rudimentary desk though its position means it’s not comfortable or practical to use for any length of time.
There is no air-conditioning in the room, although a vent provides fresh air. (Some reviewers complain of foul fuel smells in their rooms, but I didn’t experience that in either room I stayed in.) Even with the thick, plush comforter pulled up over me, I found the temperature quite comfortable.
The bathroom is as narrow as you’d expect in a room this size. The shower is about the size of a typical American shower stall. The rain shower head was a nice touch that provided a steady flow of hot water. Space around the toilet was sufficient for my 5’5” frame. But, anyone six feet or taller would definitely feel cramped.
My main gripe with the room was the lack of acoustic insulation. I heard every last sound in the hallways and adjacent rooms: children screaming, toilets flushing, even the vibration of a cell phone in the room next door. If you’re a light sleeper like me, this may or may not be a deal-breaker. Bring earplugs (I made the rookie mistake of leaving mine in my checked luggage).
Location — Where to Find Yotel Air CDG
Yotel CDG is at the end of a long hallway in the airport’s Instant Lounge section. It can be difficult to find, particularly if you’re coming from a terminal other than 2E.
If you’re not arriving at terminal 2E, you may want to reconsider whether it’s worth it to book a stay at YotelAir CDG at all. Some reviewers report needing an hour to travel between their terminal and YotelAir.
If you are arriving at terminal 2, YotelAir is a piece of cake to find. Once you deplane, just follow the signs posted before you pass through passport and immigration control. You can also ask any Paris airport employee to direct you to the Instant Lounge.
Yotel CDG Lounge & Common Amenities
The Yotel website provides no illusions that this is a pared-down hotel.
The multi-room lounge area is the only real common amenity. It’s bright and relatively spacious but, since it accommodates both hotel guests and lounge club members (like those using Priority Pass and Loungebuddy), it’s usually overcrowded when the hotel is at or near capacity.
There’s a beverage vending machine (fee), a free coffee machine (with specialty coffee drinks and hot chocolate), and a free hot/cold water station.
A large vending machine similar to those seen in Japan peddles basic snacks like chips/crisps and breakfast bars. This last vending machine was out of order during both my visits and numerous reviewers report that this is the norm.
This section is fine if you’re planning on using the hotel as a hotel. I hardly bothered to leave my room. But, if you’re planning to only use the lounge, it’s not worth it.
The Staff at Yotel CDG
The surly staff is a common critique in most reviews of YotelAir Paris. I found the staff to be a little short but polite overall.
The automated check-in kiosk wasn’t working when I arrived during either stay, and the receptionist was quite happy to help. Other than that, YotelAir is designed to be a hands-off (read self-serve) experience so I had no other interactions with anyone there.
Pricing + Availability
Like any traditional hotel, rates vary depending on the season, time of day, and availability. I paid €115 (approximately USD $140 as of January 2018) for an 11-hour stay in a Premium Cabin.
For my purposes, YotelAir Paris did the job. The staff was fine, the room was clean, and I forgave the (lack of) common amenities since I spent the entire time in my cabin anyway.
In the face of a long layover at Paris’ CDG, there aren’t many options. In spite of the abundant ambient noise, I would stay at YotelAir again. Although, I would definitely bring ear plugs next time.
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