Stay in the UK: sleep in a student apartment this summer and you’ll save a small fortune
Staying in student camps during your summer vacation might not sound like that much. But with hotels jam-packed with many of us taking vacations instead of heading to the Mediterranean, drastic times can call for drastic measures.
Fortunately, help is at hand. In 17 UK cities, a new start-up called Zeni has secured the keys to student residences, where, until the students return in September, anyone can stay at surprisingly tempting prices – from £ 25 the night.
But I am skeptical. The memory of my own halls of residence in Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire in the 1990s thrills me: bars on the window, linoleum on the floor and a drawing that looked like it had been taken from the construction manual of a open prison.
Zeni’s prices are “surprisingly tempting”. In the table above, we compare its offers with three suppliers of budget hotels
It is therefore with great trepidation that I settle into the Hope Street Apartments in Liverpool, a modern complex used by both Liverpool and Liverpool students John Moores, in the city’s Georgian quarter.
First impressions aren’t great. The lobby looks a bit like a seedy Rotterdam backpacker hostel, with old sofas, concrete floors, and notice boards adorned with Zumba class announcements.
So far so regrettable.
Taking the industrial elevator to the third floor makes me feel even more moody. I gently turn the key in the lock. Inside, however, I’m in for a surprise.
Hope Street Apartments in Liverpool is a modern complex used by Liverpool and Liverpool students John Moores
No half-empty tobacco pouches, Blu Tacked posters from The Scream by Edvard Munch or scuffed paperbacks from The Doors Of Perception by Aldous Huxley or On The Road by Jack Kerouac. Instead, the room appears to have never been occupied. It has clearly been cleaned to Japanese ryokan standards.
Everything is brilliant white, and inside the space is a small double bed, a neat kitchenette, a tidy shower room, tons of storage space and – best of all – a view of the Modernist Catholic Cathedral (known to Liverpudlians as “Paddy’s Wigwam” due to its odd shape). What a revelation.
Zeni is the brainchild of businessman Raj Patel, who says: “There is prime real estate all over the country that sit empty for months during the summer when students are not around. .
In the photo, one of the bedrooms with its “shiny white” interiors and its neat kitchenette
“It seemed obvious to see if we could open it up to everyone rather than leaving it deserted for months.”
Of course, rooms are only available a few summer months each year. But even now, in the middle of summer, it is possible to book short-term.
There is no breakfast offered and if there are two of you the bed can be a bit tight – but may I remind you that a night here is cheaper than a drink in most pubs.
Revelation: The Victoria Gallery & Museum in Liverpool is within walking distance of the accommodation
Rooms with en-suite bathrooms at Hope Street Apartments from £ 35 per night (stay-zeni.com). Avanti West Coast offers direct trains from London Euston to Liverpool Lime Street from £ 59.60 return (avantiwestcoast.co.uk).
Across the road from my Zeni is The Philharmonic Dining Rooms, a Victorian pub palace famous for its Grade I listed marble urinals.
Within walking distance are the Three Graces buildings, the Tate Liverpool at the Royal Albert Dock, the Victoria Gallery & Museum and the cluster of wonderful vintage shops, secondhand bookstores and organic pizzerias on Bold Street.
‘Where are you staying?’ a friend texts me, expecting me to respond with my usual Liverpool haunts at Titanic Hotel or Malmaison – both typically more than double the Zeni price. Before arriving, I couldn’t help but smile a little at the pride of the name of my accommodation.
But now I answer confidently, “I’m staying in an apartment. Because, compared to the student digs in my day, that’s what this place on Hope Street looks like the most. There are much larger apartments in the same complex that can accommodate up to 14 people, and there’s even a gym and a rooftop terrace to enjoy.
As Airbnb prices skyrocket and guest houses post “no vacancies” signs across the UK during this bizarre summer holiday, a new way to see UK cities s ‘is discreetly open.
Expect great value, unbeatable locations and, at least until Freshers’ Week, no ashtrays, incense sticks, pizza crusts or piles of old laundry piled on top of them. sofas. Relive your student days. . . in the style!