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Yotel Known as the iPod of Hotels Clears Hurdle in Hell's Kitchen

By DNAinfo Staff on October 13, 2010 2:47pm  | Updated on October 14, 2010 6:42am

By Tara Kyle

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

HELL'S KITCHEN — A European hotelier known for Japanese-style "pod" rooms is one step closing to launching its flagship property on 42nd Street next spring.

Yotel, which currently runs hotels at airports in Amsterdam and London, hopes to operate an indoor/outdoor social space on the fourth floor of 570 Tenth Ave.

While Yotel's request to serve alcohol on its terrace until 3 a.m. falls beyond the timeframe Community Board 4 normally approves of, the board's liquor licensing committee nonetheless gave its conditional support to the application. Support from neighbors — a rarity at such meetings — helped.

"We're not talking about a peaceful, bucolic place that's going to be intruded on," Joan Castagnone, secretary of the tenants association at the Manhattan Plaza residential tower, said of West 42nd Street at the board meeting Tuesday night.

Because the thoroughfare is the noisiest spot in Manhattan, according to an acoustics expert on hand for the meeting, much of the background music and conversation emanating from the Yotel terrace will be masked.

Castagnone and other residents praised Yotel for bringing business and jobs to the neighborhood, allowing them access to the terrace social space, and inviting them inside the property for a recent tour.

"We want to be good neighbors," said Nigel Buchanan, operations director for Yotel. "We sell sleep. It does not serve us to have a noisy environment."

Calling Yotel "the iPod of the hotel industry," Buchanan described the brand's philosophy as one of small-scale luxury.

The hotel's 669 rooms, called "cabins," provide space to do little more than sleep. That drives home the importance of the fourth floor social space, which will include a "Studyo" space for yoga, stretching and movie watching, and a "Doh-Yo" resturant featuring a global tapas menu, with plates costing an average of $9.

In order to maintain the support of CB4's liquor license committee, Yotel must keep the doors separating its indoor space from the terrace closed after midnight Sundays through Wednesdays, and 1 a.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. Keeping the door closed is intended to limit the flow of noise outdoors.

They must also submit a security plan and additional soundproofing details before appearing at CB4's next full board meeting, scheduled for Nov. 3.