Please say it “Zed,” which rhymes with “bed.” Now that you’ve got that down, here’s the formula: extremely compact rooms but lots of room under the duvets, glassy sleek style, a thrilling location on a quiet side street near the south end of Leicester Square, and a perfume-smelling lobby that’s always abuzz with breakfast, coffee, or wine. Breakfast is particularly fun: top-shelf cheeses and honey served in the honeycomb. The formula works because the staff provides surprisingly strong service for the price, and there are design smarts where they count: Shower nozzles swivel the way you need them to, towels are plump and copious. They poured a lot of cash into the bedding and the 40-inch TVs but did without closets and drawers. Rooms in the cellar (which you reach by passing through a small, strange basement parking lot) have no windows and as a consequence save you £15. Note that if you share a room with a platonic friend, bathrooms are enclosed by panels of fogged glass. All in all, it’s a dream for the price and a most welcome addition to the budget hotel scene. The first Z Hotel is at the southeast edge of Soho (17 Moore St., W1; 020/3551-3701, rooms start at £85 but are usually £145–£195; Tube: Leicester Square), and although we like it and it has a roof deck, it’s noisier and the configuration is more unpredictable—try that one second.
- Jason Cochran