Last week I stayed at Zedwell Hotel in Piccadilly, London. I booked in on a whim, in an effort to avoid disrupted travel due to the on-going train strikes. I’d visited the Zedwell Piccadilly building before, having been to a number of yoga classes at CHALK W1 in the hotel’s basement, and decided to treat myself. Unfortunately, my visit wasn’t as expected.
Zedwell Hotel: A Sustainable London Hotel?
As a sustainability advocate and writer of over 10 years, I try to be as sustainable as I can when travelling. Zedwell was listed on Booking.com* in their Sustainable Hotels section, and having previously found to Conscious Hotels Amsterdam through the same program, I was excited. Zedwell promises ‘a whole new level of relaxation’ as well as playing a role in ‘environmental protection’, which covers everything from insulation technology to refillable toiletries. The hotel itself is windowless, and this helps to keep the heat in. Zedwell chooses sustainable and recycled components, although I later discovered bedding is Egyptian cotton, and the wooden structures seen throughout the rooms are oak. From a sustainability standpoint, it seemed the hotel was sustainable as a byproduct of other motivators, rather than prioritising this alongside their business needs.
Friendly Staff & Check-In
Upon arrival, I spoke to front desk, who kindly checked me in and even upgraded my single room (called Cocoon for 1) to a room with four double beds (Cocoon for 8). They also provided a late checkout for 11am, as opposed to their usual 10am checkout. I was pleasantly surprised and thankful for the upgrade, and excitedly headed to the lifts to find my room.
A Disappointing Room
@curiouslyconscious I don’t normally do negative reviews but had to share 😔 #zedwell #londonhotelreview ♬ original sound – Besma | Curiously Conscious
Zedwell Piccadilly is a very large hotel, with hundreds of rooms. Their website and social posts hide this quite well, making their offering look like a boutique hotel similar to Beyond Apartments, but I wasn’t too put-off by this. Once I’d found my room, I slipped my shoes off and realised there was nowhere to put my case but the floor. Some kind of stand, wardrobe, or other storage would have been nice, but there was none. In fact, there was nothing apart from four double beds (arranged as bunks), two towels per bed, and a bathroom.
As you first walk in the room, there is a thermostat where you can control the temperature and fan speed in the room. I kept it set to 21°C – like I do at home – and turned the fan off. But to my surprise, there was a second extractor fan in the bathroom that continued to blare. For this fan, there was no control. It didn’t turn off with the lights, nor via the thermostat. It stayed on for the duration of my stay, and ironically made it harder for me to fall asleep.
As a hotel that emulates a peaceful bubble just off the bustling square of Piccadilly Circus, I was disappointed. I found it hard to shake off the outer chaos and relax into the room, and decided to take a shower. The rainfall shower was lovely, and shampoo and shower gel are provided, although they weren’t Malin + Goetz as advertised. Once I had washed and dressed, I realised that there was no kettle, nor cups or glasses. I ended up having to leave the room to get water (despite being promised refillable water stations, I had no receptacle to use, and didn’t spot a refill station anywhere).
When it finally came to bedtime, I decided to enjoy the novelty of double bed bunks and sleep in a top bunk. This was a mistake. Alongside the blaring bathroom fan, I also had to block out the green glow of the smoke alarm, which I ended up doing with a pillow pushed against the wooden railings.
In the morning, I woke up to a pitch black room, which was quite disorienting. I knew I would be in a windowless room, but for a hotel that offers “ambient mood lighting”, I had expected some kind of programmable light to coincide with waking up, similar to a Lumie alarm. Instead, I found two of the four beds had dimmer switches, but nothing else.
My Overall Rating of Zedwell Hotel Piccadilly: 5/10
Overall, I felt let down by the Zedwell Hotel. I didn’t sleep any better than I would do on a normal night, and found my sleep was disrupted by the bathroom fan, smoke alarm light, and made worse by the lack of windows. I also felt like the basics were missing – there should be a place to put luggage, hangers to hang clothes, and glasses to drink water, as a minimum.
Upon checkout, I asked if the hotel had a bag storage area, which they do, but they charge £10 per bag. I needed to check my bag for less than two hours, and decided for that fee it wasn’t worth it.
With rooms going for £140+ per night, and even more on weekends, I found Zedwell worse than I’ve experienced at cheaper stays at London hotels like Selina or even Travelodge.
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