I absolutely love staying in hostels. Not all my experiences have been entirely positive, but as someone in their early 20s, I feel like now is the time in your life to backpack around Europe and share a dorm with strangers. Without the financial means to book hotels in every city you travel to, hostels are a good alternative, especially for those solo-travellers who want to find a travel companion to explore the city with. Below are my thoughts on some of the hostels I’ve stayed in, both the good and the bad. To find out more information on each hostel, click on the pictures below!
Generator London/Berlin Mitte
Located in respectively in Central London and Berlin’s Mitte district, Generator London and Berlin Mitte are two of many Generator hostels situated in numerous European major cities. As a modern boutique hostel, the Generator chain emphasizes a luxury shared room experience without breaking the bank. My stays in both the London and Berlin hostels were very similar, all the rooms looked gorgeously colourful, equipped with a bathroom and were exceptionally clean.
• Reliable wi-fi
• Vibrant bar, lounge & café area
• 24 hour reception
• Near public transport
• Large lockers
• No kitchen area
• A little bit pricier than average (especially in London)
• A lack of cultural character in the hostel (as a chain, the interior of both the hotels were almost exactly the same)
Recommended restaurants nearby:
• Generator’s own café area
• Rosmarin (Oranienburger Str. 66, 10117, Berlin)
• Giotto (Friedrichstraße 132, 10117, Berlin)
Hlemmur Square – Reykjavik (Iceland)
Offering both hotel rooms and shared rooms, Hlemmur Square was a minimalistic hostel experience that was comfortable for me to come back to after a long day of tours and exploration in Iceland. Situated downtown Reykjavik, it was very close to all the city centre had to offer. One highlight for me at Hlemmur Square was sitting at the cozy bar located on the ground floor, listening to live Icelandic with a glass of wine.
• Reliable wi-fi
• Moderate sized kitchen
• Friendly & accommodating staff
• The shared bathrooms could use some sprucing up
• Not a lot of communal/social events – it would be difficult making new friends if you were travelling on your own
Meininger – Brussels
Like Generator, Meininger is a chain of hostels situated in various cities across Europe offering quality, yet affordable accommodation. As originated from Germany, the Meininger in Brussels ran like a well-oiled machine, with modern bedrooms and all the amenities you could hope for. What brought Meninger above Generator in my eyes was the inclusion a guest kitchen, which made preparing breakfast a whole lot easier. Additionally, atmosphere in Meninger Brussels was amazing, the bar area was extremely bubbly and a great place to start a night out.
• Modern and spacious kitchen space
• Clean and minimalistic bedrooms and ensuite bathrooms
• Bathroom well stocked with a hairdryer, shampoo and shower gel
• Not exactly in the centre of Brussels (~10-15 minute walk)
Nearby recommended restaurants & bars:
• Le Crachin (Rue de Flandre 12, 1000, Bruxelles)
• Delirium (Impasse de la Fidélité 4, 1000, Bruxelles)
• Noordzee Mer du Nord (Rue Sainte-Catherine 45, 1000, Bruxelles)
• Peck 47 (Rue du Marché aux Poulets 47, 1000, Bruxelles)
The Dublin Central Hostel
While not as polished as the Generator and Meininger hostels, the Dublin Central Hostel had a welcoming, homey charm that made my stay very memorable. A short walk from the main city centre attractions that Dublin had to offer, the hostel epitomized Irish hospitality. The front of house staff were lovely and accommodating and the free breakfast was a nice touch. The kitchen was on the moderate size, but did do the job nicely. While the social side of the hostel was a little lacking, it was a lovely place to stay for a relaxing time in Dublin.
• Extremely friendly and personable staff
• Free cold breakfast
• A charming small lounge which was perfect to curl up in with a nice book
• No lifts available – may cause a bit of trouble for those with heavy suitcases
• Not as social as other larger hostels
Recommended nearby restaurants:
• Pho Viet (162 Parnell St, Dublin)
• Old Music Shop Restaurant (3 Frederick Street North, Dublin)
The Geneva Hostel was situated in a lovely area of Geneva. The neighbourhood it was quiet and the hostel was close to Parc de Mon Repos, which had lovely views of Lac Leman. The free breakfast offered was a winner too, one of the best I’ve had in a hostel.
Nevertheless, the hostel itself had it flaws. While the lockers were very secure, they were located outside the dorm rooms and were made out of metal. I was unfortunate to be sharing the hostel with a large group of high school students, so it was not pleasant to hear the loud bangs of the lockers early in the morning. The wi-fi itself was non-existent in the rooms and the overall atmosphere of the hostel was lacking in a vibrant social aspect and left the overall hostel experience feeling a little empty.
• Excellent breakfast
• Free Geneva transport card
• Good location
• Unreliable wi-fi
• Not a recommended hostel if you want a peaceful night’s sleep
• Too spacious without a bar area to cultivate a social environment
Recommended nearby restaurants
• Ze-do-Pipo (57 Rue de Lausanne, Geneva 1202)
Overall, I definitely recommend doing your research on hostels and their available amenities. Hostels World Wide and Hostel Bookers are great places to start and make sure to check out recent reviews left on Tripadvisor. Travel safe and have fun. ☺