I spent the night in a tiny, $226 hotel room tucked away in Singapore's Changi Airport to see if it's a good deal for staycationers or travelers on layovers — take a look

·6 min read
In the tiniest hotel room in Singapore.
In the tiniest hotel room in Singapore.Marielle Descalsota/Insider
  • I spent a night in Yotelair, a chain known for its transit hotels.

  • Yotelair Changi Airport's Premium Queen Cabin is one of the tiniest hotel rooms in Singapore.

  • At $225 a night, I found it was a cramped, expensive stay.

Changi Airport is Singapore's main airport. It was crowned the best airport in the world for eight consecutive years.

Changi Airport, Singapore.
Changi Airport, Singapore.Nicole Descalsota

Changi Airport, located in eastern Singapore, has long been the city-state's crown jewel. From 2012 to 2020, it was ranked the world's best airport by UK airport and airline consultancy firm Skytrax.

The airport served over 68 million people in 2019, making it one of the busiest airports in Asia.

In 2019, an extension to the airport, a neo-futuristic mall named Jewel, was officially opened. It cost around $1.25 billion to build. Today, the mall is known for having the world's tallest indoor waterfall.

Tucked away in one of the far corners of Jewel is Yotelair, a chain known for its transit-style hotels.

Yotelair Singapore Changi Airport.
Yotelair Singapore Changi Airport.Marielle Descalsota/Insider

Yotelair is one of three brands owned by Yotel, a UK-based hotel group. Yotelair hotels are located specifically in airports, and are inspired by air travel, a Singapore-based representative told me. The chain launched its Changi Airport location in 2019.

"The Yotel concept came about when the founder was on a first-class flight and saw how it was possible to achieve a comfort feel in a compact space through the use of clever design and technology," the representative said.

The hotel has two types of rooms: Premium Queen Cabin and Premium Family Cabin. The rooms' designs are inspired by an airplane cabin, like their names suggest.

But the entry-level Premium Queen Cabin is only 10 square meters (107 square feet) in size, making it one of tiniest hotel rooms in Singapore with an en-suite bathroom.

I've stayed in tiny places before, including in a capsule hotel and a bunk-bed pod. Even so, I was curious to explore the small space, especially considering that it's furnished will all the basics, and not just a bed.

On a recent weekend, I booked an entry-level room for 316 Singapore dollars, or $225, for a one-night stay. Insider paid for my stay in full.

The mall was bustling on a Saturday night, so I was surprised to find the lobby mostly empty. There was only a handful of people hanging around.

Lobby of Yotelair Changi Airport.
Lobby of Yotelair Changi Airport.Marielle Descalsota/Insider

Unlike most hotel lobbies, Yotelair barely had any seats.

Housekeeping robots were parked to the side and didn't seem to be in use the night I checked in. There were two small counters, where I made my payment and was assigned my room.

While Yotelair is known for its airplane-themed motifs, the elevators were decked out in space decals.

Space-themed elevators.
Space-themed elevators.Marielle Descalsota/Insider

It reminded me of my stay at Singapore's space-themed hostel, where astronauts were painted on the walls of the building.

Getting to my room was like navigating a maze: There are 130 cabins spaced out between two floors.

Hallway of Yotelair Changi Airport.
Hallway of Yotelair Changi Airport.Marielle Descalsota/Insider

The hotel was one of the most secure I've been to, with several key-access doors guarding each section of the rooms. The hallways were impeccably clean and had minimal decor.

Most of the hotel's guests are transit passengers and locals looking for a staycation, Yotelair's representative told me.

The room was bigger than I had anticipated. It had a queen-sized bed, a flat-screen TV, and a bathroom. The bed functioned like a hospital bed and could be adjusted or reclined into different seating positions.

The entry-level room.
The entry-level room.Marielle Descalsota/Insider

There were also different modes of room lighting, including a neon purple option.

The room reminded me of a college dorm room, with minimal furnishing. I'm only 5'1", so I can make do with limited space, but a taller person might encounter some trouble.

What the room looks like.
What the room looks like.Marielle Descalsota/Insider

The room had all basics, but it wasn't high-tech or anything special.

The bed was extremely comfortable, with plush pillows and a soft mattress — I had a great night's sleep. And because it could be adjusted into a seating position, it was also well-suited for lounging about.

But the fact of the room's size simply can't be overlooked.

Once I set my bags on the floor, it was hard to move around the rom. Travelers with luggage might find the room too cramped.

The room was clean, but some small flies kept finding their way into the sleeping area, which was right next to the bathroom door. A hotel representative told me they raised my feedback to the housekeeping team and said cabins undergo pest control treatment on a regular basis.




The bathroom, in comparison to the bedroom, was huge. It took up a third of the room.

The bathroom.
The bathroom.Marielle Descalsota/Insider

Like the sleeping area, it had all the necessities. Basic soaps were provided, alongside dental kits. There was also a large mirror, which gave the illusion that the room was more spacious than it actually was.

That said, the sink was the smallest I have ever seen. The actual inset was two-thirds the size of a 1.5-liter bottle of water.

The tiniest hotel room sink ever.
The tiniest hotel room sink ever.Marielle Descalsota/Insider

Washing my face and brushing my teeth proved a bit challenging.

Although the lounge afforded an amazing view of Changi's indoor waterfall, the room left much to be desired, especially for its price tag.

The lounge at the hotel.
The lounge at the hotel.Marielle Descalsota/Insider

The hotel doesn't serve breakfast or meals, but it does offer coffee and tea at the lounge. Because the hotel is located in one of Singapore's most popular malls, there are plenty of dining options to choose from nearby.

The hotel isn't that flexible when it comes to late checkout — extending an hour past 11 a.m. (the standard check out time) costs $10 an hour.

The only circumstance under which I think the room is worth its SG$316 price tag is if you're a traveler on a short layover. For anything longer than a couple hours of sleep, the room is just too tiny to be practical.

As for staycationers, the room doesn't offer room to lounge about, and there's no view, so I think there are better deals to be found for a similar price tag.

As a Singapore local, I can say there are many hotels around Changi and even nearby towns like Pasir Ris that are better value, even for transit passengers.

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