Inside a sleep and wellness hotel that rents out minimalist ‘cocoons’

February 25, 2020, 12:00 PM UTC
With the tagline 'Your key to calm in the heart of London’s busy Piccadilly,' Zedwell has been built entirely with sleep and wellness in mind.
Courtesy of Criterion Hospitality

London may be an enchanting city to many: charming urban sprawl with busy streets, tall glass buildings, and thriving nightlife. But relaxing? That’s a word rarely if ever used to describe the British capital.   

Hotel group Criterion Hospitality hopes to change that perception slightly with the launch of Zedwell Piccadilly later this month: a hotel with 700 rooms, or “cocoons,” across 10 floors, starting at $142 for a cocoon for one to $384 for a larger cocoon with multiple beds that sleeps up to eight people.

Designed by Shanghai-based architects Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu, whose architectural practice neri&hu eschews any one formulaic style in favor of what it calls a “dynamic interaction of detail, material, form, and light,” Zedwell Picadilly is a study in contrasts. The building’s exterior is aged concrete and glass, but the interior is a mix of soothing earthy tones, sustainable oak, and lush shades of green. And while the hotel hews to a clean, minimal aesthetic, the furniture favors sharper, squared-off angles.

The Zedwell was designed to serve as a cocoon, shutting out city noise.
Courtesy of Criterion Hospitality

Each cocoon offers a high degree of soundproofing to keep the noise out and employs luxe touches like solid oak, soft mood lighting, Egyptian cotton sheets, and a bathroom chock-full of Malin+Goetz toiletries nestled next to a rain shower. Likewise, air purifiers make sure there’s always gentle circulation of fresh air.

What travelers won’t find? Clutter of any kind: TVs, telephones, or even windows. By keeping harsh light, noise, and outside distractions to a minimum, Criterion Hospitality contends it has created a small anxiety-free zone that’s ideal for individuals, families, and groups of friends to rest.

“Our dream was to not just create a hotel but to encourage a new way of thinking for the modern-day traveler, whereby through the removal of unnecessary clutter and distraction, we create a cleaner, purer space where peace, balance, and calm can be achieved,” says Darija Aziz, head of interior design for Zedwell.

Rooms are designed to minimize anxiety and distractions through soundproofing and gentle circulation of filtered air.
Courtesy of Criterion Hospitality

While each cocoon appears tranquil, they’re also space-conscious. The hotel would not disclose how large its rooms are, but a cocoon for four or eight people looks like a tight fit, with bunk-bed-type situations that appear more optimized for square footage than for comfort and individual space. In other words, larger groups shouldn’t expect to spend much time in their cocoons outside of sleeping or getting ready. 

But when travelers aren’t resting, they can avail themselves of the hotel’s gym and studio space for yoga, Pilates, and group meditation classes. And for the professional road warrior, a lounge and coworking space offers a quiet place to work. Likewise, the hotel’s rooftop bar and restaurant are expected to host up to 1,000 people at any given time when they finally open this summer. Zedwell Piccadilly is the first of four Zedwell hotels planned, with additional Zedwell locations set to open in Marble Arch, Tottenham Court Road, and Greenwich later this year.

In the end, the hotel’s decidedly minimal and space-conscious aesthetic may not appeal to every traveler. But at the very least, they’ll likely be able to say they managed a good night’s sleep.

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