Background Founded by Bev King, former COO of Thistle Hotels, Z Hotels opened its first London property in Soho last year (see online news October 3, 2011), followed by this second hotel close to Victoria station in July. A third property is also under development in Liverpool.
Referring to the brand as offering an “urbanite stay”, the group aims to provide “short stay accommodation offering the highest quality, at an affordable price in prime city centre locations”.
Rooms are cozy, ranging from 10-14sqm, but are well equipped with 40-inch flatscreen TVs and amenities including free wifi and complimentary premium Sky channels.
What’s it like? The Z Hotel Victoria is housed within a six-floor Victorian townhouse, previously serving as offices and now converted into a 106-room hotel. Guests enter via the combined lobby / lounge / bar / café area – the hotel has made the most of limited space, with the reception desk doubling up as the hotel’s bar, and staff were friendly and helpful.
There is a large flatscreen TV and sofas in one corner of this area, where several guests were watching the Olympics when we checked in on a Saturday afternoon.
The café is open to guests 24 hours a day, although I did find it amusing that the hotel advertises the following line on its menus: “A new concept in room service. We don’t come to your room, you come to ours”.
Also note that the hotel does not allow food or beverage to be charged to the room, so everything needs to be paid for at the time of purchase.
Where is it? On Lower Belgrave Street, a couple of minutes’ walk from London Victoria rail and underground terminus.
Room facilities The hotel offers five rooms categories: Z Double (10-12sqm), Z Queen (13-14sqm), Z Inside Double (10-12sqm), Z Inside Queen (12-14sqm), and Z Accessible (12-14sqm).
The cheapest room type is the Z Inside Double (with lead-in rates from £75), the “Inside” referring to the fact the rooms are windowless. This may not be to everyone’s taste, but aside from the lack of natural light and the choice of double or Queen beds, all room facilities are identical.
Guests get free wifi internet access, 40-inch HDTVs, complimentary access to Sky Sports and Sky Movies channels, tea and coffee facilities, a free jug of water and two glasses, a workdesk with UK and international sockets and a USB port allowing content to be played through the TV, a hairdryer, a reading lamp above the bed, and individually-controlled air conditioning.
Storage is limited, with a few hooks and hangers on the wall, but there is also space under the bed to store luggage.
Ensuite “wet rooms” have large, powerful walk-in showers and complimentary Thierry Mugler toiletries, but guests looking for privacy should note that the wet rooms are only separated from the bedroom area by a glass partition, with frosted glass only going up to about five foot.
Our Z Queen room on the sixth floor had views across to Google’s UK headquarters, with thick blackout curtains effective at keeping out the early morning light. Décor is simple, with dark wood flooring, white walls and white bed linen. Overall I found the room (just about) spacious enough for two people, although I did see one of the Z Inside rooms which felt quite a bit smaller.
Restaurants and bars Breakfast is served in the ground floor café area, and costs £8.50 for the continental option or £11 for continental plus full English – there is also an express option of tea/coffee and a pastry (£3.50).
The area is tastefully furnished, with a long wooden communal table, and several window booths (with plugs on the walls). Several complimentary newspapers were laid out on the coffee table by the TV.
I had the self-service continental breakfast option, which consisted of cereal choices, cold meats, sliced tomatoes, cheeses (cheddar, goats and brie), and a basket of pastries and croissants. There was also a bowl of apples on the communal table.
The hotel also offers guests complimentary wine and cheese between 5pm and 9pm daily, served in the café area.
Business and meeting facilities None
Leisure facilities None
Verdict A great location for access to Victoria mainline services including the Gatwick Express, and Victoria, District and Circle underground links. Room sizes and the windowless options may not tempt all travellers, but rooms are well equipped and complimentary amenities such as wifi and premium satellite channels are a bonus.
Price Internet rates for a fully flexible midweek stay in mid-October started from £138 for a Z Inside Double, £150 for a Z Inside Queen, £162 for a Z Double, and £174 for a Z Queen.
Contact The Z Hotel Victoria, 5 Lower Belgrave Street; London Sw1W 0NR, tel +44 (0)20 3551 3700; thezhotels.com