REVIEW: YHA Bath Hostel
As I hopped off the U1 bus, impressed with the way it had crawled its way up one of the steepest inclines I had seen in a while, the triangular green YHA sign caught my eye and ushered me in the direction of another steep incline, luckily much shorter than the last as I was now on foot.
Less than a minute later YHA Bath began to emerge from the rural setting, in all its 19th Century grandeur…
Built around 1848, the building that houses YHA Bath was originally a mansion belonging to Henry Goodridge, a renowned English architect. Now a listed Grade II building, Fiesole Mansion (as it is otherwise known) has been a home from home for backpackers since bought by the YHA in 1953.
YHA Bath Hostel
Tucked as it is a short way from the city centre, the atmosphere at YHA Bath is calmer than your average inner city hostel. During my stay it seemed the majority of the other guests were more mature than the usual 18-35 crowd, or part of a school group. But don’t stop reading here because the atmosphere this created was one of family and perfect if you’ve had enough of pub crawls but still want to stay in a social environment.
I find the common areas and staff influence the atmosphere most, and the common areas here definitely encouraged a sense of community and socialising. The large and well-equipped kitchen is the perfect space to chat with other guests whilst preparing for dinner, but my particular favourite space was the lounge.
With cosy leather sofas arranged around the TV, relaxing in the evening felt just like being in someone’s living room – complete with bookshelves and soft, cosy cushions to recline into.
As it happens, I also found the lounge the best place to work in the mornings, as the large bay windows let in such beautiful light…
Usually to be found behind the reception desk at the front entrance of the hostel, all the staff I encountered were amazing, even when I consistently asked them to assure me that my bag (with my laptop in) would be safe in the luggage storage to which they had the key.
With no lockers in the common areas and a train to catch hours after check-out, the guy on reception ensured me that he would keep the bag safe… and I still have my laptop!
The reception desk is also home to the café, bar, snack bar and general enquiries, and best of all I found everything that I went there for was sorted with a smile.
I also think a HUGE shout needs to be given here for the chef. One night I was told that he had been running around the dining room serving almost 30 hungry Australian teenage boys, and yet he was always polite, friendly and just seemed like a really kind man. Also, I’m not sure if there were more staff in the kitchen, but to whoever made my cannelloni… it was banging!
— Katie Dawes (@the_hostelgirl) October 2, 2015
Compared to other YHA hostels I’ve visited (Brighton, Cambridge and Manchester), the rooms at YHA Bath are missing modern flashpacker essentials such as plug sockets for each bed and personal bed lights. However, the quality of furniture remains the same – comfortable and cosy.
Best of all, the beds in my room didn’t squeak at all. And bonus points to my roommates for not snoring.
There were also lockers provided for each bed so everyone’s luggage could remain secure.
Whilst we had a sink and mirror in our room, the dorm rooms at YHA Bath don’t have en-suite bathrooms (some of the private rooms do). However, I never had to wait for the shared bathrooms in the hallway and whilst the showers weren’t very strong they were always spotlessly clean!
The hostel is less than a 25 minute walk from Bath Spa train station and the center of town, but I used the bus to get to and from the hostel most days as the hill up to the hostel is pretty steep!
The good news is that the U1/U18 bus only costs £1.50 per journey – and if you’re spending a whole day in town that’s only £3 transport costs during the day. It’s also less than a 10-minute journey so don’t waste your money on a taxi!
I was in an 8-bed shared dorm, and the cost starts for as little as £15 per night, whilst private doubles start from £29 (or £39 if you would also like an en-suite). This is a great price for travellers looking for a relaxed, well-run and clean hostel that still has close links to the city of Bath.
Breakfast is an additional £5.25 for a full English breakfast which will definitely prepare you for a full day out. However, it finished at 9am so make sure to set your alarm!
Guest tip: Remember the group of Australian teenagers I mentioned? They’ve been touring the UK playing football and after staying in a number of hostels across the UK apparently declared YHA Bath to have the best bacon of all of them!
YHA Membership: If you like what you see here, or are planning to stay in a number of YHA Hostels during your travels, then it’s well worth investing in the YHA Membership Card. Not only do you get up to £3 off each night’s stay in a YHA, you also get discounts on outdoor activities with partners of the hostel association. This isn’t a plug and I get no commission for recommending the membership, I just think it’s a great way to save money on your travels in the UK, which is why I have one too!
The beautiful heritage and setting of YHA Bath, just ten minutes by bus from the city centre, makes it the perfect retreat after a long day exploring the city and its landscape. The cosy atmosphere definitely made me relax here, and I wouldn’t hesitate to return again – except this time I would explore more of its natural surroundings and not just the city!
I would like to thank YHA Bath for organising my stay with them, but as always opinions are honest and entirely my own.
Lots of love,