When a hostel has been on my ‘to-do’ list for a while, there is always the worry that it won’t live up to expectations. However, having been awarded with five stars by the Scottish Tourist Board I was confident Smart City Hostel Edinburgh wouldn’t disappoint.
And as I sat at breakfast on my final morning, chatting away with the roommate I had met just two days before, we both agreed on one very important thing: our stay in Edinburgh wouldn’t have been the same without this hostel.
Smart City Hostel by Safestay
After arriving at the hostel, checking in, showering and then deciding I was long overdue a beer I headed towards the staircase to find the hostel bar, Bar 50. As soon as I reached the staircase that led to the bar I knew I wouldn’t be drinking alone for very long.
Bar 50 gives off the great noise of chatter and laughter over the pool table, without being a raving mess of drunken budget travellers. With two outside seating areas (one of which is a upstairs terrace that is perfect for a beer in the sun during the day!), a lounge area made of comfortable sofa chairs, and two pool tables the bar has something for everyone.
Within two minutes of sitting on one of the outside benches with my Corona I was chatting away with a crazy crowd from Canada who invited me to check out the Fringe Festival with them down the road. Sure, why not…
The first thing that struck me about the mixed dorm I was in was how airy and light it was, with a large double window at the end of the room and a bright colour scheme.
There was more than enough space for all six of us, including loads of floor space for those who couldn’t fit their bags into the allocated lockers. Although my 50 litre backpack fit in just fine!
Other amenities within the room included a desk and chair, and soap and shampoo in the sparkling clean shower. If the room looked bright and clean then it was nothing in comparison to the bathroom and toilet…
Note: the hairdryer is only available in female dorms during the low season
So aside from the clean bathroom (including hooks on the back of the shower door), a bright atmosphere, a large locker per bed, comfortable mattresses and a very cosy blanket there was only small thing that you need to know about the room and that is lock size.
I carry a very heavy-weight combination lock which I have found to match most hostel lockers. Unfortunately, it was a bit too big for the lockers in my room, which meant I had to buy a second. However, whilst this was an initial annoyance, there are two advantages to the story:
1. I now have two sizes of locks which makes me prepared for all future locker sizes (hopefully)!
2. Like a well-organised hostel, Smart City Edinburgh sell lockers at reception for just £2 – along with anything else you might have forgotten such as toothbrushes, bottle-openers, and even ponchos for the beautiful Scottish weather!
Despite being such a big hostel, I was really surprised that the staff member who checked me out on the last day also remembered me from checking in two days earlier with the same friendly smile.
From the moment I walked in it became clear that the staff were keen to make your stay with them as hassle-free as possible.
One great example was that they knew that wifi in the rooms can be of a lower quality than elsewhere in the building. Whilst this is a nuisance, they laid out all the best spots in the hostel that got great reception, and invited you to use their computers in reception if you needed to.
Another great thing about the staff reception is that it is full of leaflets and information on things to do in the city and great days out! Whilst Smart City want you to have a great time with them, they also want you to enjoy Edinburgh as much as they do.
Activities range from walking tours, day trips, pub crawls, festivals, music gigs, theatre events and more so make sure to ask the staff for more information. During my stay I visited The Edinburgh Dungeon and went on the Loch Ness Monster Hunt with HAGGiS Adventures, both of which can be arranged with the reception.
In my opinion Smart City Hostel Edinburgh couldn’t be in a better location. Just off the Royal Mile, which is Edinburgh’s main high street, the hostel is easy to find, close to the train station and even better, close to the heart of Edinburgh’s nightlife.
If you’re travelling by train to Edinburgh Waverley station, the most important thing is to make sure you take the Market Street exit from the train station. After this the walk is really straight forward as you can see below!
Considering the location and high-quality facilities of Smart City Edinburgh, the fact that prices for one night in a mixed dorm start at £19 is really budget friendly – especially in such a busy city!
Obviously, in the summer months of July and August prices are slightly higher than the rest of the year, but to make up for this Smart City offer great special offers from September, including 20% off in September and October, and 25% off in November and December!
To take advantage of these great offers, or simply to book a room directly with the hostel to get the best prices, make sure to book online or email the hostel at firstname.lastname@example.org. Most importantly, if you find a cheaper price elsewhere online make sure to email the hostel who will match this price to make sure you get the best deal!
Finally, breakfast is an extra and costs £4.95 for six items (including haggis!)… but it is well worth it! Seriously this set me up for the day and tasted delicious…
I would like to thank Smart City Hostel Edinburgh for arranging my stay in their beautiful city, but as always opinions are honest and my own.
Lots of love,