News

Z Hotels gears up for London openings

3 Oct 2011 by BusinessTraveller

New hotel group Z Hotels will open its first property overlooking Cambridge Circus later this month, with a second hotel set to open near Victoria early next year.

Founded by Bev King, former COO of Thistle Hotels, the group is set to open the 85-room Z Hotels Soho week commencing October 17, and will be offering average room rates of around £85, and lead-in prices of just £60 according to the website.

The hotel takes up 12 connected townhouses located in a triangle between Charing Cross Road, Old Compton Street and Moor Street (where the main entrance will be situated overlooking the Palace Theatre, Cambridge Circus and Shaftesbury Avenue).

The property is a mixture of new and listed buildings, with the hotel rooms located in the new-build section (benefitting from double glazing), and several residential apartments housed within the older buildings.

According to the group’s press release the brand is designed for “short stay accommodation offering the highest quality, at an affordable price in prime city centre locations”.

This translates as cozy rooms (measuring from around 10sqm), with the latest in-room technology such as 40-inch Samsung Smart TVs allowing “PC-like web surfing” directly via the TV, and simple-to-use docking stations enabling content from iPhones and iPads to be displayed on the TV.

There’s no doubt that the room concept has taken elements of the offerings by established space-conscious brands such as Yotel, CitizenM and even Easyhotel, with under-the-bed luggage storage, hanging space instead of cupboards, a small desk and pouffe, and integrated wet rooms with walk-in showers.

Unlike Easyhotel however rooms come with all the extras included in the rate, such as free wifi and Sky Sports and Movies channels, as well as a complimentary bottle of water and tea/coffee facilities. Organic mattresses (there is a choice of standard four foot-six inch or five foot queen-size beds) are by Devon-based company Natural Mat, with 100 per cent wool duvets.

Rooms look out on to either the surrounding roads (with one top floor option including a balcony with views down onto Cambridge Circus) or the internal open courtyard, which will feature seating for guests and residents.

Like the Yotel and Easyhotel brands, public areas have been kept to a minimum, with no gym facilities or meeting space, although there will be a bar in the main lobby, where guests will also be able to check-in using self-service kiosks. Room doors are also equipped with RFID readers (similar to the technology used in Oyster travelcards) so in the future guests will be able to open them using compatible smartphones.

There will also be a hotel-run café to the back of the property with direct access from Old Compton Street and serving teas / coffees and light snacks to both guests and casual visitors, as well as alcoholic beverages (initially to guests only). Next year New York-based Mexican restaurant brand La Esquina will open its first London branch on Moor Street next to the hotel’s main entrance.

When I visited the property many of the finishing touches had still to be added, but King promised high quality décor such as black leather seating in the lobby, a pewter bar, stone tiling and a glass-clad staircase. Access to rooms across the four-floor building will be via outdoor covered walkways featuring cedar wood-clad walls and glass railings.

The hotel is scheduled to open for business in the week commencing October 17, with a full inventory of rooms available from the end of November.

Meanwhile work is progressing on the group’s second London property, a 106-room hotel housed within a former office block on Lower Belgrave Street close to Victoria station. The property is scheduled to open in the first quarter of next year, and will feature slightly larger rooms, although similar to the Yotel concept some interior options will not feature windows.

A third hotel is slated for Liverpool in the third quarter of next year, and King also has his eyes set on UK cities including Leeds, Newcastle, Manchester, Glasgow, Belfast and Cardiff.

For more information visit thezhotels.com.

Report by Mark Caswell

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