Now, when I say I’m a budget backpacker, that’s a bit of a lie because what I really mean is I’m a budget backpacker but if there’s a chance to experience a little luxury on a smaller budget, I’m there quicker than Kim Kardashian at a press event for the opening of an envelope. But I think that’s all part of the experience…we each like to travel in our own ways and treat ourselves occasionally which is why I’m reluctantly telling you about St James Hostel London. Why reluctantly? Because in all honesty, I’d rather have the entire hostel to myself and not tell anyone about it but unfortunately it doesn’t work like that
Whenever I’m in London, I nearly always stay at a hostel in Shepherd’s Bush. There’s nothing special to it and actually it’s pretty noisy and it could really do with some TLC but it’s familiar and cheap. Well, I’ve now found my new ‘home’: St James Hostel London. I really don’t know where to begin in telling you how awesome it is!
I could start by saying that it’s just been NEWLY RENOVATED (yeah, those are buzzwords every backpacker loves because you know that the ‘bad backpackers’ haven’t had a chance to ruin it yet) and that it’s in an old town house meaning that it’s spacious, light and feels like a home. Or we could talk about the lovely receptionist who asked me to pay by cash ‘when I came back later’ as she was new and didn’t want to use the card machine without her manager there. Why is that awesome? Because it shows trust in their guests from the beginning which I love! I could also tell you that the hostel actually uses their heaters so it’s both warm and cosy which was very necessary as it was freezing cold at the weekend!
I could go on and on about why I love this little place so much but let’s break it down to some easy bullet points:
Located at Earls Court Station on the District Line of the Underground, you’ll never have to wait long for a tube and being that it’s on the District Line, you have great connectivity with the rest of London.
Finally! A hostel that is literally 5 minutes from a tube station! Have you ever read a hostel description and you find that it’s not really 5 minutes away? It’s more like 15 minutes by the time you’ve crossed into Narnia and actually found the place? Well you don’t get any of that with St James. You literally come out of the station, turn left, walk passed three streets, turn left when you see Sainsbury’s supermarket and you’re there! It’s ridiculously easy and it’s one of the main reasons I love the hostel because it’s so easy to find….searching for the place is the last thing you want when you’re carrying everything you own on your back!
And speaking of the supermarket, the hostel is perfectly located for amenities. There are coffee shops, supermarkets, restaurants etc – everything you need to keep yourself happy and they’re all within walking distance.
There is a huge common room with a large TV, comfy leather sofa and a good-sized ‘table room’ (as I’m calling it) which enables all us flashpackers to whack out the laptops and do any necessary work we need to or contact home etc. I think it’s a great idea to have this ‘work space’ as people do use hostels to live in until they find places of their own and sitting at a table is much more comfy than on the dorm floor! There is also a whopping great big garden outside so you have a place to smoke if that’s your thing or you just want some fresh air in the comfort of your hostel surroundings.
There’s a brand spanking new kitchen with everything you need from a microwave to a whopping great big American fridge freezer to store your goodies and the hostel is accessed by a key code meaning that there’s no curfew to worry about when you’re out and about enjoying yourself!
The bathrooms are spacious and the showers are a standard cubicle size but you then have room to get changed so you don’t have to worry about walking around the halls half-naked – bonus!
The dorm rooms:
Yep, they’re huge and spacious. One of the worst things dorm owners do is overfill the rooms so that they can fit as many people in to make more money. My female-only dorm could have had at least another bunk in there, or maybe two if they put one in the middle but they held back and I’m glad they did. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re a battery chicken in a cage!
You also get your own box lockers. Granted, they’re not big enough to house your bag but because there is plenty of space in the room, you can store your bag under your bed and put anything valuable in the box. Also, the box comes with a key meaning that no one, except you, can get into that box and also saves you worrying about bringing a padlock with you. (NOTE: You pay a £10 deposit for your locker/dorm key which you get back at the end of your stay as long as you give the key back). The other great thing about the dorm? There are plug sockets everywhere which means never having to fight over a plug or take someone elses stuff out.
A bed here costs approxiamtely £20-25 a night depending on when you travel BUT you get breakfast included (cereal, bread, coffee, tea etc) and when you consider the location and all the other great points about the hostel, it’s more than worth it because as they say in life; you get what you pay for and actually, for London, I think that’s pretty cheap!
Now, there were a couple of negatives;
There was a general toilet up on the ground level that has just died a death and is dripping water everywhere but I have no doubt they’re getting ready to fix that because they had builders working on other things whilst I was there.
If I’m being really picky, the girls dormitory didn’t have any full length mirrors (or any mirrors) despite having the room on the walls for them. It’s something small but I know it would be appreciated especially when you’re getting ready for a night out or an interview.
And the biggest negative of all? I’m having to tell you guys about the hostel when I really wish I could keep it a secret and have it all to myself
*ADDENDUM fro JULY 2013 VISIT* I stayed here again and in the women’s dorm they now have individual small shelves next to each bunk (including the top ones) so that you have somewhere to keep a drink and your phone at night and they also have a full length mirror so you can make sure you look extra pretty before a night out. The upstairs bathroom has now been refurbished to new and they had a huge trampoline and small paddling pool outside as well as the ability to barbecue – this place just gets better and better!
I was allowed a discount for staying at St James Hostel but I hope by now you realise that I’m a honest blogger and you can bet your ass I’ll be paying full whack when I next go to London…I’ve just found my new ‘home’ for my city trips