Is an apartment better than a hotel for a stay in London? Zed Rooms review

Look at that bed. Couldn’t you just hole up and sleep in there forever? I’ll admit, it was this bed that drew me in when I was first introduced to the Zed Rooms, but the joy doesn’t stop there. This entire apartment is so cool you will feel like hosting an upscale party the minute you step through the door. Once you’re settled in though, it’s likely that you’ll become very possessive of this space, and never want to leave. Let me show you:


The Zed Rooms are a collaboration between Cuckooz and mattress brand Simba. As a Simba ambassador, I was one of the first to be invited to experience the apartment free of charge, in return for my honest review here. All opinion is my own, as is imagery, unless otherwise credited.

A review of the Zed Rooms in London’s hip Shoreditch

The Zed Rooms comprises three boutique apartments, right in the heart of busy Shoreditch. When you say Shoreditch to my husband, his eyes light up with the prospect of time spent in cool bars, mopping up wonderful gastro experiences, or sauntering around markets full of stuff we’ve just GOT to have! (Spitalfield’s market is a 2 minute walk away, and very easy to spend time in, whether you’re hungry, or in the mood for buying quirky gifts; we found exactly what my 11 year old never knew he needed for his bedroom walls – vintage DC Superheroes magazine covers turned into wallpaper kits. Who knew?)

But this is an overnight resting place that you’re going to want to spend actual time in, rather than using as a simple base. It’s kind of a home-from-home, but way more gorgeous (unless you’re Kelly Hoppen, in which case, please invite me to stay). Using independent designers, Cuckooz and Simba have created bespoke and destinctive spaces designed to help you settle in and relax, right from the first moment. Everything here is focused on wellbeing and – not-surprisingly – sleep. I could see me wanting to stay here on a business trip, to relax properly into my evenings after a hectic day, just as much as I did on my weekend spending quality time with my son.

This is the loom room. I’d brought just Evan, my youngest, into London with me for an overnight escape. We rarely spend a lot of time together, as he shares most of his interests with his dad (cars, football, Marvel and DC!), and I wanted to redress the balance. As we lay on this bed and stared at the linen canopies, trying to decide which bedroom we’d each take, it was easy to put hands up to the designers on the relaxation front – we almost fell asleep right there! Cunningly, there’s a trapeze in there too, so if you’re an early rising gymnast, you could get your exercises out of the way before anyone else wakes up!

The apartment is controlled by Google Home, which was such a novelty for us both, that we spent a good half hour just wandering around telling her to switch the lights on and off. In the kitchen-diner-living room we bickered over getting just the exact shade of peach and blue in the lights required to perfect both our moods. Then we told Google to turn up the heating – again, and again, just for the fun of it. (I know! We are total noobs, but like I said – so cool).

The apartment is strewn with books for all ages designed to encourage relaxation, as well as yoga mats to use alongside the meditation tracks on the built-in Calm app; and there’s even a pack of recipe cards aimed at delicious but optimal health if you decide to cook.

If I’d been on my own I would absolutely have done the mindfulness, but I’d promised my boy some fun, so we had a small jaunt around east London, starting at Ludgate Hill and St Paul’s with a cheeky purchase from Hardy’s – one of those old fashioned sweet shops that sells peanut brittle, cinder toffee and every kind of bonbon. We gossipped as we went, and I caught up a bit on what makes him tick – turns out owning a boy isn’t that complicated after all, and if you spend enough time together he will be forced to tell you his dreams and worries eventually. Then we learned how to ride a bus (how have I never been on a London bus before? They take contactless now!) and headed over towards Shoreditch, our base for the night.

My own boy is a big foodie, and a particular fan of Thai food, so after a mooch round Shoreditche’s Box Park (if you’re looking for a quirky gift, or something to wear that’s a little bit different from the high street, this eclectic collection of designer popups is a great place to start), we headed straight for Busaba, where he consumed his body weight in chicken appetisers. There are fun food options at Box Park too, as well as pretty much any kind of cuisine you could want along the High Street.

Fully fed, we walked the short distance to check in at the Zed Rooms. We were greeted by Valentina, who showed us around, then left us to it! Which is when the mother-son bonding really began. You might consider it a travesty, but we eschewed all that Shoreditch has to offer, in favour of curling up on the sofa with the sheepskin rugs and getting stuck into Evan’s Xbox, which we’d brough with us. He quickly connected it to the smart TV, and proceeded to teach me how to find my way around his beloved Fortnite. It’s the one thing he does that none of us really joins in with, and he’d decided it would be fun to let me into his world. And so we gamed – pausing only to order in Deliveroo – until I knew how to tackle an opponent (but still couldn’t do it with any measure of success). He was patient, I was terrible, but we chatted as we took turns, and stole cold chips from each other’s plates all evening. Now there’s a scene you can’t replicate in a hotel!

Image credit: Billy Bolton

We never did get to the bottom of who was going to take the loom room – we both loved the woom room (top image) too much to leave it, so in the end we just climbed into bed together. Both rooms are fully equipped with Simba bedding, to continue with the theme of setting you up for a great night’s sleep. I’m a Simba ambassador, so I’ve waxed lyrical about our Simba mattress before in my video review, and I’m such a big fan of my Simba pillow that I even pack it when I go away. But we don’t have the Simba duvet, and I was a bit concerned that it was too lightweight to keep us warm. I needn’t have worried. Within minutes of telling Google goodnight (she immediately switched off the lights) we were toasty and ready to drift off in our lavender-scented haven. Google even put some music on that reminded me of crickets and night frogs in Barbados! (Don’t worry, if you tell her to turn it off she will be silent until you let her know that you’re up for the day, at which point she’ll summarise the weather, and give you the day’s news headlines!)

The bathrooms at the Zed Rooms are smart and elegant, as you’d expect, with rainfall showers and Neom products. So after a refreshing start, and proper coffee from the cafetière (bring your own, or make purchases from the convenience stores right downstairs), we headed out for an incredible brunch at The Blues Kitchen on the way to Hoxton – amazing juices, and Eggs Benedict – on crabcakes!

As we ate, I resolved to make time alone with each of my kids a regular thing – even if it’s only a lunch one-on-one, that downtime together, away from the to-do lists and the tasks back at home is an invaluable chance to catch up and get to know your child, all over again each time. Next time I’m taking my youngest on a full-blown photowalk – just look at these skills!

This Pink Panther is by @ante_ltd on Instagram and is in Shoreditch near the citizenM hotel.

Good to know:

A 2-bedroom apartment at the Zed Rooms costs £330 per night and sleeps 4, in two Bedrooms, with kingsize, or double beds. Beds have SIMBA mattresses, duvet and pillows

The apartment has two Bathrooms with rainfall showers and Neom bathroom amenities. Also included:

  • 2 Sets of Towels per Bedroom
  • Hair Dryer
  • Iron and Ironing Board
  • Fully Equipped Kitchen
  • Washer-Dryer
  • Dishwasher, Oven, Microwave, Fridge/Freezer, Kettle, Cafetière and Toaster
  • High Speed Fibre-Optic Wi-Fi, Flat Screen TV, Google Chromecast, Google Mini
  • Underfloor Heating, Dyson Cooling Tower
  • Private Garden (some apartments

The Zed Rooms are a collaboration between Simba and design-led, serviced apartments Cuckooz aiming to tackle ‘first night effect’ – when your brain struggles to switch off in a new place. If you’re thinking of ordering a new mattress, see our video review of the super-comfy Simba hybrid mattress, or read the full review here.

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