Teleporting for the First Time to Dohyo in the Yotel Hotel
When I heard about a sumo-themed restaurant in a futuristic hotel in Hell's Kitchen, my initial response was, "So what?" I knew that theme restaurants often let the food lag, since they know the theme will be the draw. Boy, was I wrong.
Despite the Japanese-sounding name, and a few other Japanese flourishes to the concept and the premises, Yotel is an English hotel chain. The gimmick is that consumers will want to save money by putting up with a smaller rooms (under 200 square feet), in a hotel package that offers, instead of gyms and pools, a pseudo-hip ambiance in which you find yourself in a sci-fi landscape. Actually, this landscape feels more like you're stuck in The Jetsons or Lost in Space, thrall to a cartoon futurism that sputtered out in the '60s.
Upon entering the hotel, you see a bank of computers allowing you to check yourself into the hotel, where the rooms are known as "cabins." On the opposite side of the lobby, a robot called Yobot will take your suitcase and stash it in a designated squirrel hole. There's nothing picturesque or interesting about the robot -- it's all armature, like something installed in a car factory. Some tourists are easily impressed.