Why Zeni’s High-End Student Accommodation is Perfect for a UK Staycation
By Richard Jones
Whether you were stuck in grotty halls of residence, or a private shared house with an unscrupulous landlord, most people’s memories of university digs aren’t great.
However, this has changed in recent years, with squalid properties like the one featured in 1980s comedy The Young Ones thankfully making way for modern, and comparatively luxury, accommodation.
But what happens to these plush city centre properties during the holidays, when the students have completed their studies and gone home?
That is where Zeni comes in. Founded by former lawyer Raj Patel and co-founder Elena Lopez, they are making higher end student digs available for people to book for short breaks, rather than them sitting empty.
With such huge demand for staycations this year, the self-contained flats and apartments are brilliant if you’re looking for somewhere affordable and suitable for a group of friends or family.
Starting at just £25 per night, they feature between five and eight bedrooms – all with queen sized beds, en-suite facilities, desks, speedy wi-fi and their own kitchen and living area.
All buildings are staffed 24 hours, while cleaners are on site daily, and guests have access to other facilities including parking, bike storage, gym, laundry and even cinema rooms and karaoke lounges.
Plus, the locations are slap-bang in the middle of the city centre meaning guests are close to shops, restaurants, bars and public transport.
So if you are keen to book a UK staycation or city break this summer but can’t find anything that isn’t eye-wateringly expensive, then look no further than Zeni’s collection of flats and apartments.
They have sites in 15 cities in England – Birmingham, Cambridge, Cardiff, Chester, Colchester, Coventry, Exeter, Huddersfield, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Oxford, Plymouth, Sheffield and Southampton – as well as Dublin in Ireland.
Here, we look at five top English city break destinations, from where you can use one of Zeni’s perfectly situated properties as a base.
Nestled in the north west of England, Chester makes for one of country’s loveliest city breaks. Get your comfy walking shoes on for a circuit of the city walls, you’ll pass under the ornate Eastgate Clock, England’s second-most-photographed clock, beaten only by Big Ben. There are plenty remnants of Chester’s Roman history around too, including Britain’s largest Roman Amphitheatre and fragments from the old Baths in the Roman Gardens. Chester’s most imposing building – the cathedral – started life as an abbey, and you can climb the tower for one of the best views of the city. Boat trips on the River Dee depart once an hour from The Groves and take you upstream under the Queen’s Park suspension bridge, past Grosvenor Park and through the meadows. And don’t forget Chester Zoo, which is home to over 20,000 animals.
Zeni offers 3 nights from £558 at Zeni Apartments in Central Chester staying in a five-bed apartment (sleeping up to 10) on a self-catering basis, travelling August 2021.
A small ancient city which packs a big punch, Exeter is vibrant, attractive, and historically interesting with a huge array of attractions, entertainment, eateries and hotels. Sitting alongside the River Exe in Devon, the city has a Gothic cathedral, a castle, gardens, museums and underground tunnels. Walk or cycle the historic quayside along the canal to Topsham, or hire a canoe, stand-up paddleboard or kayak along the Exe. If you want to recharge your batteries, then a visit the Ren Spa nestled within the walled garden of Hotel Du Vin on Magdalen Street. Just 15 minutes outside the city centre is Haldon Forest Park in Kennford, with 3,500 acres to explore with walking and cycle trains, the high-wire adventure course Go Ape, archery sessions and Segway tours.
Zeni offers four nights from £1,223 at The Printworks, Exeter, staying in a six-bed apartment (sleeping up to 12).
Recently named by Which? as its favourite large UK city to visit, Liverpool is a medley of culture, shopping and good food. The refurbishment of Royal Albert Dock in 2004 triggered a sprucing up of the city. Its industrial and waterfront buildings were reborn as galleries, creative quarters and eateries, and the city’s musical heritage is celebrated in the Cavern Quarter. The Mersey Ferries Terminal itself is now home to The Beatles Story, which takes you on a journey into the life, times and culture of the Fab Four. The Albert Dock has a Discovery Zone with interactive activities for kids including playing a Beatles tune on a giant floor piano. The city is home to two major football clubs: Liverpool and Everton, both of which offer stadium tours. Non-football fanatics might like to see the city from a rather different angle, on one of the Shiverpool Ghost Tours.
Zeni offers three nights from £1,143 at Hope Street Apartments, Liverpool, staying in a seven-bed apartment (sleeping up to 14).
There are few more cosmopolitan cities on earth than London. The range of restaurants, bars, theatres, sports, pop-ups, performance art and large-scale events is astounding. You can see the city from above on the London Eye, admire the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London, walk up high across Tower Bridge, touch the clouds at the View from the Shard, marvel at the heritage in Westminster Abbey, visit London’s best-known icon: Big Ben, travel through time at The British Museum, be wowed at the National Gallery & National Portrait Gallery, watch amazing theatre shows in the West End and relive your top movie moments on the Warner Bros Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter.
Zeni offers four nights from £228 at Zeni Studio in Central London, staying in a one-bed en-suite apartment (sleeps two).
For generations, Southampton was a destination to travel to before boarding one of the massive cruise liners. However, it is making a name for itself as a city break location following £2billion of investment. Take a short walk from the cruise port to find the recently restored Tudor House, dating back to the 15th century. The SeaCity Museum explores Southampton’s connection with the sea, and in 1912 the Titanic set sail from the port with most of its crew coming from the area. A poignant street map on the floor marks each person lost with a red dot. Southampton is a gateway to the beautiful Hampshire countryside and the New Forest, and at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard you can visit some of Britain’s most historic ships including HMS Victory and the Mary Rose.
Zeni offers four nights from £1,355 at The Crossings, Southampton, staying in a six-bed apartment (sleeping up to 12).
For more information on Zeni’s centrally located summer rental apartments, go to stay-zeni.com
To learn more about short breaks in England’s cities, visit: visitengland.com
All images: Host Student (@host-student)