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Central Hostel

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Description & Photos

Hostelz.com's Review
Central Hostel in London is a good budget hostel for those who don't expect a lot of frills, with fun decor and a adequate facilities. It's a memorable stay solely for the awesome wall and door murals featuring London landmarks and superheros.

The Location

Central Hostel is relatively easy to find from the tube, just walk a few blocks from the Bayswater Station on the Circle Line. Reception is fairly hidden, accessed via a thin staircase leading down from street level. Coupled with the hostel's small sign, the hostel can be a challenge to notice, particularly at night. Make sure you note the directions carefully and pay attention to the street address so you don't miss it. If you have a lot of luggage, be prepared -- there's not only the steep staircase at the entrance, but also a few sets of stairs within the hostel if you don't get a room on the bottom floor. There are no lifts. Staff members are very friendly and accommodating, and can give you a hand if you need it.

There are restaurants and internet cafes nearby, and Hyde Park is within walking distance of Hyde Park if you don't mind a bit of a walk.

Rooms and Bathrooms

The bottom floor dorm room has four metal bunk beds, sleeping eight people, and a sink. The floors are wooden, and fairly clean, not showing excessive wear. The beds themselves are well used and creaky, and the mattresses are thin. Despite being near the reception area and common room, you can still get a quiet night's sleep, as the staff ensures quiet in the common area late in the evening. The door has a lock for security, but the door can be very loud as people come in and out.

There are no bathroom facilities on the bottom floor, so those sleeping in the bottom room must use bathroom facilities on the second floor. The bathrooms are kept clean and the showers have plentiful hot water. There are mirrors in the hallway, which is a big help for morning preparations when the bathrooms are full.

Common Spaces

The reception area doubles as a common room, with a TV that is kept silent with captions on. There is a small library of books for common use, and a public access computer with pay internet. The front desk will hold your laptop or other expensive items for you at no charge, which helps make up for the lack of lockers for personal items. There is no Wi-Fi access in the hostel.

There is a communal use kitchen, a small space with a single stove and sink; there are dishes, pots, and some silverware on hand. Unfortunately, the stove has only two working eyes. Not only that, and we wish we were joking, but this stove on multiple occasions shocked people who were stirring their food with metal spoons in a metal pot. We strongly recommend exercising extreme caution when cooking, for your own safety.

The hostel provides free maps and mini-card discount cards, and there is free coffee and tea at breakfast. You can pay for a pathetic spread of toast and butter for breakfast.

Summary

If you want to see central London and don't mind a little shabbiness, then this hostel will fit your needs ... barely. Beware, with only one person working the reception desk, the check in process can become bogged down at peak times. A staff change-over caused checking in three people to take fifty minutes. This hostel screams "adequate," just covering the basic necessities, but has a fun decor and is well suited to people in their twenties traveling on a budget who don't mind sleeping rough.

by Beth J
Hostelz.com Staff Reviewer
March 2013

EntrenceReception area and common roomStairs
Bathroom doorHallway with maps and pamphlets
Dorm room bedsRoom doorOutside
Photos taken by the Hostelz.com reviewer — Genuine photos you can trust.
Map
Location/Contact
How is Central Hostel rated on other websites?
 OverallCleanlinessStaffLocationAtmosphereSecurity
Hostelworld  
66%
58%
63%
84%
59%
65%
Hostels.com  
62%
52%
66%
76%
61%
60%
HostelBookers  
Not listed on HostelBookers.
HostelsClub  
Not listed on HostelsClub.
Average  
64%
55%
65%
80%
60%
63%
Hostelz.com Guest Reviews
1   A NOISY, TINY DUMP with an uncaring manager This hostel was the worst place I have ever stayed at. The walls were falling apart, the rooms tiny, the bathroom dirty and not enough of them, the manager an uncaring person. It was stuffy, loud all night, smoky, tiny, dumpy. It also had London's variety of homeless people hanging around in the reception living area and outside on the steps. It was shameful how much they charged and the lack of proper management. I wouldn't recommend it to a cockroach.  ()
4   Best for price, but do note price I have stayed here twice for a total of ten days. The reception was friendly and helpful with directions and advice at any hour. Free DVDs/TV when you want to crash, and internet is available. The neighborhood is quiet and rather safe, but boring. The tube station is a couple of blocks away. There is a deposit for the key, but bring change, they're usually short. For the cons, it is not a flashy establishment. Everything about the building shows its age -- the beds are flimsy, some of the doors stick, and the en-suite showers are not terribly clean. They do what they can with what they have, though. The shared bathrooms are almost always clean and functioning -- I had the chance to use both en-suite and shared showers, and I definitely recommend the shared. Also, I've had problems with loud roommates showing up at 4 a.m., but that happens in most shared rooms. I would recommend this to younger, serious travelers. Be sure to book in advance, as they charge a bit more at the door.  , USA ()
5   Excellent Value for Money I had the pleasure of staying at the Central Hostel for a few nights in May 2007, and found the experience quite exceptional. The staff and other guests were very friendly and most helpful. I was quite jet-lagged and not very London-savvy, and so their kindness was most appreciated. The rooms were quite clean and as comfortable as can be expected. The atmosphere was lively, but not intimidating. The location is conveniently near a Tube station and pleasantly close to Hyde Park. A few days into my stay in London, two of my Canadian friends joined me at the Central Hostel and they shared my high opinion of it. Relative to other hostels my friends had stayed in, they were quite impressed. A perspective guest should not expect luxury (one enters by the servants' door I noted), but it offers ideal accommodation for those seeking a respectable and comfortable place to sleep, shower, and eat breakfast at a good price. Traveling, particularly in London, is costly enough and so I found this savings on accommodation financially liberating. The Central Hostel certainly offers excellent value for money. Were I to stay in a London hostel again, I would readily choose the Central Hostel. I have recommended it to others.  , Canada ()
3   You get what you pay for I stayed there in Oct. '07. I was mildly surprised when I arrived, but then again 14 us dollars a night. the staff weren't the best, but then again it's a hostel for 14 us dollars a night, what do you expect. best advice i can give anyone about staying there is, be prepared for something different than what you are use to. you travel to see different scenery. well this is different. also you don't have to worry about curfews and lockouts. bring shower shoes and pillow. I had a great time there, not the cleanest, but not the worst!  , USA ()
1   Nightmare in London My group and I have arrived at that hostel last year and we were greeted by the extremely rude reception. Their service was poor and they didn't care about our London experience. Our rooms were in the top level, so we had to drag all of our luggage up to the top on the very narrow, falling apart staircases without any assistance. The rooms were all filthy -- dirt on the floors, random smelly towels and beer cans siting in the windows that would not close. The rooms smelled so bad and had a random sink and shower stall in the corner of the room. I was the only brave one to look in the shower and I was shocked at the sight of the mold growing along the edges, dripping shower head and a pool of standing water on the floor. the beds were these creaky metal frames that had no ladders so you had to climb up to your bunk. the mattresses were thin and I had springs poking on my back, so I obviously didn't sleep well. The sheets and duvets were sticky too for some odd reason. The community bathrooms were scary because there was no privacy and were had to guard each other outside the door. "Breakfast" was served downstairs in the basement, in which my teacher described it as the "opium den." The kitchen was no more than a small nook in the wall and served nothing but instant coffee, toast, and cheap cereal. We were so glad to get out of there. The only good thing I would have to say about the place is the prime location, but otherwise don't go there unless you are desperate on low on money. Stay at your own risk!  , USA ()
2   Grrrrrrrr I stayed at one of Central Hostel's sibling hostels, in December and thought it was brilliant. So when I went back to London in February I really wanted to stay there again. I made a booking, and paid my deposit. Unfortunately, the management of that hostel and the two other hostels nearby it completely ruined my experience there and all the beautiful memories I had of that night in December. It turns out that a booking at the sister hostel does not mean a bed at that hostel. They take your money and then send you to another hostel -- not far, away, but still, they sent me to a second place, at 10 o'clock at night, when I had been traveling all day and haven't even had the chance to have dinner yet. I got to the second place, waited in line at reception, and when it was my turn they told me that they, too, did not have a bed for me. They sent me to a third hostel, Central Hostel, which was also close, but, honestly, it is not acceptable to send a person who has made a booking and paid for a bed to three different hostels at 10pm at night with heavy bags and no sympathy from any staff members. To top it off, though I had paid for a 6 bed dorm, and the man at the first place had offered me a 4 bed dorm to compensate for the being sent on a wild goosechase around Bayswater fiasco, I ended up in an 8 bed dorm in Central Hostel sleeping on a mattress that was so saggy I didn't even need to use a pillow. I was so angry I went and complained to the first hostel, and the man refunded me £1, the difference in price between a 6 bed and an 8 bed dorm, but they didn't even have a complaints book, which is why I am ranting on here. The next day, I had to pay that £1 to store my luggage at Central Hostel in a room so small that, when I came back to collect it, about six suitcases had to be removed from on top of my bag before it was accessible. At the first place, the luggage room is even smaller, but at least you don't have to pay for it. I can't believe they charged me £1 to put my luggage in a sardine can. I will never stay at any of those hostels again, which is a very sad waste because their location is SO AMAZING, and it is wasted on them because of the ridiculous hostel management. If they want to own three hostels then good for them, but they should be run INDEPENDENTLY. If someone books and pays for one hostel, they should be sleeping at that hostel!! If they book and pay for Central Hostel, they should be sleeping at Central Hostel. End of story. But obviously the management of these places coulnd't organise a piss up in a brewery.  , Australia ()
1   No way! The worst place I have ever been to, and I have stayed in a lots of hostels! What is the point to offer room number if they never put you in the same room. I made two reservations, both for two people, in Room 6, and called the evening before to confirm we were coming, but when we arrived it turned out that they had already offered two beds from our four-beds room to someone else. So we had to stay in separate rooms. The staff is a thousand miles away from being friendly and helpful. The window in our room would not close. Stay away from this one!  , Estonia ()
1   Horrific When we got there we had to go down a windy lil staircase to the basement (with thirty-pound backpacks) -- not much there to hang onto. The reception area downstairs is very dark and dingy -- all we could smell was cigarette smoke and what smelled like nail polish (dunno if it was). We were given a room at the top so up five or six flights of stairs. I pulled back the sheets to see hair all in the sheets (the bed was made up). My friend noticed a big piece of cookie under my bed. There's cracks in the walls. I slept on top the bed with my sheet over the pillow because it stank (i had to throw my sheet away the next morning). Staff seem alright. Friendly enough. However cleanliness is my #1 issue anywhere. I don't recommend this place to anyone. It is in a great location but location isn't everything!  , Canada ()

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