In the hostel world, Generator Hostel London is the hip kid who knows everyone, and could probably be a model one day…
I’m a smiler. Always have been, always will. There’s something in the way my face is made that doesn’t allow for a pout or any kind of sultry look – and I often find myself looking at those who can achieve such facial expression perfection with at least a teensy bit of longing. Those people with the chiseled cheekbones often also have an innate ability to dress with flair, putting together outfits in a way that seems to be perfectly normal, but when worn by them just exudes coolness.
But here’s the thing about Generator… you don’t have to be cool before you get there. You pretty much feel cool just be being there.
In the last year, Generator has taken the hostel world by storm. By creating hip hostels in each major city in Europe, they have redefined themselves from a hostel brand into a lifestyle brand.
So how did I like it?
As usual, my first impressions of the hostel staff came from two service areas: the reception and the bar!
The first person I met at Generator was Ed on reception; a fabulous guy who was more than willing to repeat the directions to my room after we kept sidetracking to talk about our love of hostels in general. And later on, when I was aiming for the main bar but got a bit lost, he was more than happy to redirect me again without so much as a giggle at my disorientation!
Then came the second test…meeting people at the bar! I’ve mentioned in previous posts the importance of bar stools in a hostel bar, and I let out a huge sigh of relief when I saw a few empty at the Generator bar.
Behind me sat a big group of people all laughing and joking, and I was wondering if I should perhaps have sat at a table with my beer (my second go-to meet people method) when I got chatting to one of the bartenders. Daniel seemed more than happy to try and get my courage up to go and join in the fun that was starting up around me, and even offered to introduce me to his friends – who turned out to be the group sat behind me.
Overall, the front-of-house staff seemed really in tune with helping solo guests meet others around them, which as a solo traveller I found to be a huge help! I even got a tweet to check out the Jazz in a smaller bar down the corridor, which I did!
— Generator London (@Gen_London) November 16, 2014
Generator Hostel London has a great common area layout – to ensure everyone can find what they’re looking for in terms of a social environment. The jazz taking place above was located in a smaller bar area – also the food service area. Generator is famed for it’s great food service, with every hostel aiming to give their guests a taste of the local food. As I was in London I saw an awful lot of huge gastro-burgers, which I didn’t have time to try but they definitely looked great!
To the right of the smaller bar is a lounge area filled with guests on their laptops, a separated from a dedicated cinema room – which was showing Jurassic Park on my first night! And then at the very end of the common area was the main bar area, complete with a DJ booth and high stool seating areas.
With obvious signage outside the hostel and its location on a main London street, Generator Hostel London is super easy and quick to get to from the local Underground stations.
Less than a 10-minute walk from King’s Cross St Pancras, and only a 5-minute walk from Russell Square Underground Station, I had no fears of walking back to the hostel late in the evening – the area is busy and full of life.
If you’re not a walker, taxis line up for miles outside King’s Cross, and for the short distance you wouldn’t be charged a lot to get to the hostel.
If you do need a hand getting around, Generator have great directions on their website.
As you can see from my receipt below, I paid an average of £19 a night for a bed in a 4-bed dorm midweek, which is a great price for a small mixed dorm in central London. Generator charge extra for breakfast (£4) but I really enjoyed the continental cheese, ham, & yoghurt – and it wouldn’t cost any less in a cafe in town.
I found my 4-bed room to be extremely clean and well equipped. Small considerations – such as shelves on the top bunks and coat hangers along the wall – just make a guest’s life just a little easier. And most importantly, each bunk had its own locker underneath the bed, which are for use with your own padlock.
In terms of security, each room is opened with a key-card, and you have to also show your key-card at the front entrance to get past the very efficient but very friendly security guard. I didn’t have an en-suite, but the bathrooms were just down the hall and I never had to wait for a shower.
As part of the incredible Hostel & Budget Traveller Conference I was attending, we also received a tour of the other rooms in the building. The private rooms could have been rooms in a budget hotel, complete with desk, lamp & double beds…
Generator Hostel London was definitely a step up from the smaller hostels I usually stay in, but the combination of a great service, well-equipped rooms and a very sociable common area showed me just how a great hostel brand can stay true to itself despite growing into a European, if not International, company.
Lots of love,
Generator Hostels is a member of STAY WYSE, the only not-for-profit industry association to represent the entire global youth travel accommodation sector, one of the travel industry’s fastest growing niche markets.