Finally the missing piece of shot-term real estate’s gig economy.
After being on the road for four months, we found ourselves in a disastrous AirBnB. The staircase and door knobs were just about ready to fall apart. No coffee or coffee machine, no shower soap, scratched teflon pans, and an overgrown, buggy “Zen Garden”. The squatters next door were going in and out, at all hours of the night with zero subtlety and our host was M.I.A. until the next morning. We had to get out of there.
George found Zeus a few days prior, while searching for AirBnB/VRBO alternatives. It was looking more attractive by the minute.
What is Zeus?
Zeus Living is the corporate housing version of AirBnB, but with a twist. The units are professionally designed by Zeus’ in-house design team and come fully furnished, with a minimum 1 month commitment. Sounds like a great fit for us, temporary nomads in search of a new place to call home.
We were a little iffy about trying it because, unlike AirBnB, there’s no reviews. You have to take the website’s word for it. They do offer an interactive virtual tour online, but it’s always hard to know the knitty gritty from professional real-estate pictures. That said, we were desperate for a respite. The variance in quality of AirBnB/VRBO units was taking a toll on us. So, we called.
The unit we were looking at in Venice was no longer available but the support team immediately helped us find another unit that would suit our needs in downtown LA. We were not allowed to tour the property before moving in, even if it was vacant. Still hesitant about committing for a month, we booked a tour of the apartment building in which the Zeus unit was located. Impressed (and thoroughly relieved), we applied.
It was already late in the afternoon and we were exhausted both physically and mentally. We sent in our application. It was very straightforward, just a credit check. The verification process was quick and we had confirmation within a couple of hours to move into a unit the same day. We signed the rental agreement online and we were set.
We leapt to our feet, packed our belongings as fast as we could, and left the crumbling AirBnB unit for downtown. We could not leave fast enough. When we got to the building, the concierge had our keys ready and gave us instructions to find the parking space assigned to us. That was a lot easier than we expected! No extra paperwork or move-in inspections, or any other cumbersome steps. We borrowed a cart and unloaded our things.
Note: The Zeus team followed up the day after our check-in to make sure everything was in order.
As we opened the door to the unit, the sun was starting to set. We were greeted with a bright, uncluttered, modern, fully furnished apartment. The contrast with our last AirBnB experience was so stark we almost cried tears of joy.
Unlike many AirBnBs, the Zeus Living unit comes with standardized supplies for your basic needs: dish soap, kitchen towels, toiletries, linens, towels, etc. There were also a few snacks, a bottle of wine and some swag. Now that’s more like it.
Aaah. We could finally relax for a little bit. We plopped down on the tufted sofa, and poured ourselves some of that wine. There were countless sighs of relief, and eventually giggles as we reflected on the last month and a half’s worth of short-term rentals in California.
Focused on Experience
What truly sets Zeus apart is the attention to quality and consistency they can provide thanks to their more involved approach. The owner of the unit is removed from the day-to-day operations. That means we don’t have to worry about an owner trying to cut corners and not providing some of the basics, or cleaning the unit themselves instead of having a professional team. Instead, Zeus does it all with process, high standards, and a quality experience in mind.
Some of the thoughtful details we loved are the charger stations on both sides of the bed for our phones, the toiletry bags, a vacuum cleaner, and enough spare garbage bags to last the month. We also had new sponges and kitchen towels. Everything was where you would expect it to be. Whether you are in-between homes or traveling for work, you wouldn’t have to worry about the minutiae of moving into a new place or do a Target run because the place is running low on soap. The unit has all the basics you’ll need to hit the ground running. THAT, my friend, is the ticket.
If you wanted to invite your new colleagues over for a get-together, it would be no problem. There are plates, silverware, bowls, glasses for at least 15-20 people in there! Cooking utensils are somewhat limited, but they are quality items and in good shape (read: like new).
The unit was generally clean, spotless compared to most AirBnBs. I wish it came with a Swiffer Wet or something similar to clean the floors with, but I suppose most people would be happy with just the vacuum cleaner.
On the design front, everything was high end, or at least good quality. The decor was minimalistic, in a good way. It made the unit feel spacious and inviting, complementing the great view of downtown LA that spread across the large windows.
The furniture was mostly contemporary/industrial style. There were sets of drawers in the walk-in closets for easy storage and ample space in the hallway closet for our luggage. The bedding looked new, had high thread count and was very comfortable.
One thing that we felt was missing was a working/writing desk. Especially for a corporate housing unit, it seemed like that would be a priority. There was a large TV but no desk. We ended up buying one from IKEA and placed it behind the sofa, by the window. It was the perfect spot for a desk that was otherwise just empty space anyway.
There’s definitely something to be said about having a conducive environment for working. The uncluttered apartment with sweeping views of the city was a joy to wake up to every morning. We felt inspired to do our best work, and we couldn’t wait to get started. If this isn’t a testament to successfully catering to corporate clients, I don’t know what is! Having our little makeshift studio set up made us feel so energized, we wrote a new song and a bunch of other music in no time!
We appreciated the fact that all cleaning products supplied were eco-friendly. All the soaps and toiletries came from Public Goods*, which has nice sleek packaging, but is also gentle on the planet and the wallet. In fact, I signed up for Public Goods and ordered some more products to try.
*This is an affiliate link. If you click on it and make an annual commitment, I will receive a small commission.
Again, the process was amazingly smooth. All we had to do was return the key to the front desk after clearing out the apartment and the mailbox.
Would we recommend Zeus Living? Based on our experience, that would be a resounding YES!
If you are looking for short-term rentals for 1 month or longer, we would absolutely recommend Zeus Living over AirBnB/VRBO. It ends up being cheaper anyway. We’ve also had some experience with traditional corporate housing, and we’d say that Zeus was easily comparable, probably better, and possibly cheaper.
After we moved out of Zeus, I was inspired by their design and decided to research the brands they used in the unit. While doing so, I noticed a little blurb encouraging us to meet the local team for lunch. So we did! We met at their Venice office and offered them our feedback on our experience and learned a bit more about the company. It’s incredible how a company barely 5 years old has managed to achieve such a great level of service quality. We wish them well.