In January, my mom and I decided to venture to our favourite city to celebrate her 50th birthday! I had recently been to London, and loved the location of Portman Square, because it was walking distance to Oxford Circus (my favourite store – Primark), Hyde Park, and on days I had extra energy, I could even walk along to Knightsbridge to my favourite store: Harrods! It was also close to the London Tube stations (Marble Arch being the closest). However I stayed at the Radisson Blu and was very dissatisfied with the rooms there, which is why we opted for Z Hotels – which was an apartment style accommodation.
When looking at staying in such a prime location, the main thing you have to remember is: Prime Location = Space at a Premium! Therefore with regards to the affordable hotels, you have to be willing to settle for less room space.
This was the case with Radisson Blu, which I stayed at in April 2017, it’s right next to the Z Hotel Gloucester Place apartments, the rooms were tiny, but also very damp, moldy and dark. It almost felt like I was staying in a hostel – but paying a very high price to do so.
This time around, I wanted the same location, didn’t mind having the same amount of space, but needed a cleaner and brighter room. I took a chance with Z Hotels, because I hadn’t stayed in an apartment hotel in London before.
To my surprise and delight – it was just perfect! I’ll start off by saying that London is my absolute favourite City of all time! It is the one City that I have traveled to more than any other, and it was also the very first overseas destination I ever went to! (At 6 years old – very blessed that my parents took us there when we were so little and traveling was so expensive then for a middle income family like ours had been in the year 2000!)
I don’t know what it is about the side walks, the doors, the little gates, the trees, the lamp posts, the phone booths and balconettes that just make walking through London streets so magical!
I have always envisioned myself living in London, so the fact that I got to call one of the apartments “home” for 5 days was everything I’d dreamed about!
The Neighborhood. Picture obtained from the Z Hotel Website.
Portman Square is a lovely little neighborhood which is walking distance to Hyde Park, Marble Arch, The London Tube stations (Marble Arch, Bond Street, Oxford Circus being the closest) and is filled with gorgeous London style apartments.
We had landed in London at 8a.m. after an overnight flight on Virgin Atlantic, direct from Johannesburg to Heathrow, so by the time we reached our hotel (which was nearly 10a.m.) we were still very far from check in time.
Luckily the hotel allowed us to keep our baggage in the hotel, and we had to walk around, and opted to go to Primark and do some shopping.
For thise of you who don’t know – Primark is probably the best shop ever made and the best store I have ever been to! Firstly it is super cheap. Secondly, you can get anything and everything there, from PJ’s to work clothes, to luggage cases, powerbanks, make up and swimwear, jewelry, shoes, coats and so much more! The bonus – they have the coolest and cutest unique lines which collaborate with Disney, Harry Potter, Lion King and more to bring the coolest lines of clothing and accessories! 60% of my wardrobe is probably from Primark – I swear by it when I’m in London!
Back to the hotel at 2 P.M. there was a narrow staircase, going up to each apartment floor – which I found so exciting because it made me feel like I was actually living in a London apartment! Luckily there was also an elevator (imagine carrying suitcases up the stairs!)
Upon walking into our room, we were taken by surprise – it was tiny! I felt slightly deceived as the pictures did make the queen room out to look a little bigger then it was. As you walked in the bed was on your right, the closet in front of you, and the bathroom to the left. The bed was pushed all the way against the window and touching both the front and back wall (so only one side of the bed was “open access”. I slept closest to the window so would have to climb over every time I wanted to get in bed or go to the bathroom.
I wasn’t expecting the bed to be pushed against 3 walls – but like I said, space is a premium. If you’re planning to stay at Z Hotels, definitely opt for the Z King or the Junior Suite. If you’re traveling solo, then the Z Queen might be fine, but for 2 adults, it was quite a tight squeeze.
Luckily the bathroom was surprisingly spacious, and bonus, had heated tiles! (Perfect for the January cold!!!)
The bonus is that, from the window I had London sidewalk views all day everyday!
I was not used to the London Winter temperatures at all! Luckily the room had tea and coffee facilities and they also had yummy hot chocolate which I got to have, all while cuddled in my Primark Harry Potter PJs overlooking Gloucester Place!
Not exaggerating at all about the bed being pushed right against the window! It was really cozy though.
My views before bed – I could really get used to this. I love London so so much that this was the perfect lullaby – London apartment buildings outside my window, lol.
This was a common area downstairs which had free cheese and wine on Monday’s (if I’m not mistaken). I don’t drink alcohol but I did love the cheese and crackers.
Overall it was a nice cozy stay, perfect for a short trip to London, or a solo trip to London, however I’m not sure if I would stay there again purely because it was just so cramped. I would love to try the junior suite, or a bigger room because (as youcan tell) I really loved the location and having the feeling of my own little London apartment.
I have stayed at the Pestana Chelsea Bridge Hotel before as well, and had tons of space, it’s just the location was further away from all the “action” – but with the London Tube being so easily accessible, is it worth the space compromise for prime locations?
I think, it might be better to stay slightly further, but still be close to Tube / Bus stations in order to have more living space!
Over all, I did enjoy my stay at Z Hotels, and would probably return if I could stay at one of the king rooms or junior suites!
What are your favourite London Hotels? Let me know in the comments below!