What’s red, green, blue, purple, and every Na’vi’s dream come true? The answer – Jewel Changi’s HSBC Rain Vortex. The 40-metre indoor waterfall has garnered over 25,000 Instagram posts in a fortnight and continues to generate international interest as their central attraction.
So imagine living just footsteps away from the raging attraction and seeing it when the crowds have long gone home. I did – at least for two nights – at the newly-opened micro-hotel YotelAIR, at Jewel Changi Airport, Singapore.
That Yotel Welcome
Those familiar with the Yotel brand will know that they are known for their tech-oriented, futuristic designs. Because it’s so spanking new, the robots that usually dot the lobby and room corridors have not arrived yet, but you will still enjoy that glowing welcome.
The check-in process can be done in two ways. The first is via the self-service kiosks at the lobby, or you can approach the staff to assist you. My booking needed some clarifications so I needed some help to complete it, which took about 15 minutes.
The 130 rooms of the hotel are spread over two levels. I was instructed to take the elevator to the second floor, 4M.
The doors opened up to part of the lounge. I tapped my card on the wall to activate a security door. The corridors curved around but my room happened to be the first so I entered to place my things.
Entering The Cabin
YotelAIR names their rooms as cabins, and that’s a very apt way to describe it. Drawing heavy inspiration from luxury flight travel, the room is very much like a private sleeping space on a plane. Translated: it’s small but functional.
The first thing I noticed was the signature purple light – and for those wondering, no, it doesn’t change. I had to take a selfie in this atmospheric lighting. Trippy!
The room comes with regular lighting, of course, and the bathroom is also brightly lit.
The smart bed doubles up as an adjustable reclining sofa. Also, a shelving unit at the side has a fold-up table and a foldable chair. It is perfect for guests wanting to do their work in the privacy of the room. Draw the curtains and you’re shielded from the bathroom.
The space with its double-bed can accommodate up to two adults, but even with the luggage storage below the bed, I suspect larger folks might find themselves a little constrained. Otherwise, for the solo traveller, the cabin is very comfortable and great for some quiet time.
There are three options available right now: the Premium Queen, the Premium Queen with accessibility, and the Family Cabin. So for those of you needing space, you’ll need to pick the last option.
Heading out, I wandered the halls and found the space to be like a maze. I was grateful for the cubic signs that were readily visible and led me back to the lobby.
A Space To Hang Out
KOMYUNITI is YotelAIR’s respite to the cabins (and my favourite spaces in the hotel) and the 64-seater lounge is divided into two sections. The first is by the 4M lift landing.
This section is not completely finished yet, but visitors in May can expect a co-working space with modular seating arrangements. For now, enjoy the cheeky local artwork by Kampong Creative which features some of our favourite slang, and kick back with a book and some tea perhaps.
The other section of the lounge is down a flight of stairs and opens up to a view into the Jewel Changi Airport and, most importantly, the Rain Vortex.
This is where one can grab some snacks from the bar, including the occasional fruits, some muffins, freshly-brewed coffee, a selection of teas (including an organic house blend for Yotel) and juices.
Facilities For The Urban Traveller
I really looked forward to bringing my laptop out for some work, but I was curious about the other two facilities in the hotel.
Other than the options to book a room for a night or an initial block of two hours, tourists who need to have a serious freshening-up can rent the shower capsules from the hotels. Not only did I think this was a great idea, as I knew how much a shower could make a difference after a flight, but users can also enjoy gym and lounge access along with the other guests.
Exploring Jewel Changi
The greatest thing about staying at YotelAIR is the ability it gives you to roam Jewel Changi at ease. And we know there’s plenty to see and do there. From the snaking lines for burger giants Shake Shack and A&W, to retail stalwarts Muji and Uniqlo, this is one ecosystem you can easily live in for a week.
Writing about Jewel Changi Airport’s food and shops will require another time, but I highly recommend dining at the fifth floor, where the natural light comes in during the day and the nearby roar of the waterfall is nature’s orchestra.
And of course, with one light show per hour starting from 7.30pm, stay for the last show when most of the crowds are gone, and enjoy the 12.30am performance at the Jewel Changi Airport waterfall (almost) all to yourself.
With the Rain Vortex asleep, I wandered around the mall a few more rounds, weaving in between steps and shrubs, before heading back for a night’s rest at YotelAIR Changi Airport.
The Morning After
I have to say, the bed and windowless room did a double-whammy on me. Waking up was hard! But that’s a good problem to have, I suppose.
Breakfast was included in my booking so I trudged down to check out the selection. I have to say, waking up to the Rain Vortex is quite an invigorating experience! If only every morning were like this.
That said, breakfast was a little underwhelming. On top of the usual snack layout, the only additions I saw were some bread slices for toasting, chocolate pastries, croissants, and packed cheese and butter. They told me that the selection was meant for travellers on the go to quickly satisfy their morning, but I would then think a better presentation would make the offering look not as empty. Luckily, I wasn’t a big eater so I ended up with a light one.
Even though the selection wasn’t great, the view more than made up for it and feeling inspired, I sat down and got a nice amount of work done at KOMYUNITI.
And all too soon, it was time to check-out. This time the process went through effortlessly and I made my way to the indoor waterfall for one last look.
YotelAIR is designed for transit travellers no doubt. The option to book with just a minimum of 4 hours serves this purpose well. But with the promotional rates they are having right now, it’s definitely a good deal even for Singaporeans. Locals can use this as a staycation choice for a more leisurely time at Jewel Changi. And with those beds, it’s an amazing retreat for the insomniac.
With minor tweaks still being made, I can see the appeal of this option to both locals and tourists alike, especially with the unique combination of lush urban park and sprawling retail mall merged into one.