The Cool Hotel Guide: Z City, London EC4

Opposite the Royal Courts of Justice in a prime spot on Fleet Street, Z City is a new budget hotel with 109 rooms and a bit of pizzazz. Through automatic electric doors that open outwards (best not to enter in a hurry), you come to a reception with shiny metal wall art and a passage leading to a bright breakfast room and bar decorated in cartoons poking fun at the court process; many lawyers are expected to stay at the hotel.

In a nutshell
Z City is part of the Z Hotel chain established four years ago by Bev King, an entrepreneur with years of hospitality experience, including a spell as the manager of the Cumberland Hotel near Marble Arch. His first Z Hotel opened in Soho in what he once carefully described as a former “Soho type of hotel for people who did not necessarily stay the night”. Now there are eight hotels in the chain, with six in the capital and properties in Glasgow and Liverpool. The formula is simple: cheap, comfortable but smart little rooms at about the £60 to £150-a-night mark. The Victorian building housing Z City at 24 Fleet Street was once owned by William Lund, a cutler and dressing case maker.

What are the rooms like?
They’re small — although staff prefer to say “compact”. Some overlook Fleet Street, while others face a courtyard and a few have cityscape views. Some have no windows at all. As on a cruise ship, you can opt for an “inside” room. These crash pads are from £59 (breakfast is £12.50pp). The joy of Z City is that the chain seems to have perfected the art of making the most of a reduced space: frosted glass sliding doors lead to bathrooms with decent-sized showers; double beds may be tucked against walls but mattresses and linen are good quality; hooks with hangers are neatly positioned. Clever family rooms come with two large bunks (from £79 to £180).

Which is the best room?
Rooms 408, 501 and 508 have the best city views (from £69 to £160); the best Fleet Street views are in rooms 405, 503 and 505 (from £69 to £160).

So what’s the food like?
A café is to open in a fortnight, serving snacks including a “lobster wrap”. In the meantime there’s the breakfast room/bar, where cheese with chutneys, crackers, olives, little tubs of rum-and-raisin ice cream and wine are offered free to guests from 5pm to 8pm. It’s a jolly affair overseen by friendly staff. In the morning, breakfast includes smoked salmon, hard-boiled eggs, pastries, muesli, sliced fruit, fresh bread, good coffee and bacon sandwiches. For an evening bite to eat try the pies and fish’n’chips at Ye Olde Cock Tavern next door, where Samuel Pepys, Charles Dickens and Dr Johnson enjoyed a tipple (; or there’s El Vino ( or Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese.

Who goes there?
Expect to see lawyers and City types.

What else is there to do?
Covent Garden is a ten-minute walk away.

The highs, the lows, the verdict
Eight out of ten
This is excellent value and lively, but remember that rooms are quite cramped, rates can go up during the week and the cheapest prices quoted here are for Sundays.

Gryphon Property Partners negotiated the terms with Z-Hotels on behalf of their client Barts Charity. 
If you are interested in office space in EC4 call Gryphon Property Partners on 0203 440 9800 or click on the following link - City