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City Hostel Geneva

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Hostelz.com's Review
City Hostel Geneva is a reasonable hostel, but due to its size, it can seem quite impersonal. It is also used by large groups who can be noisy. Equipment is old but functional and the place is quite institutional in ambiance.

The Location

The hostel is situated just a couple of minutes' walk from the main train station, Cornavin, and within easy walking distance of the Old Town, the lake, and other main areas of interest to tourists in the centre. There are tram and bus stops close to the hostel if you need to go further afield. There is limited parking outside the hostel but there are several secure car parks nearby. The location is excellent for sightseeing, for shops, bars and restaurants, and for transport. There are plenty of places nearby for cheap breakfasts as well as a great selection of restaurants serving cuisine from all over the world in the nearby district of Les Paquis.

Rooms and Bathrooms

Some rooms face onto the street where the entrance is. You should ask for a room on the other side of the building, where there is just a courtyard, as it will be much quieter. The street itself is not noisy -- but the bin-men are, and they collect daily. Getting in the room is made difficult by the half partition that separates the sleeping area from the tiny wash area. It is impossible to enter the room while carrying a bag -- you have to throw it into the room, then follow it.

The rooms are very basic and bare but really quite adequate for a short stay. In our “eco” double there were two single beds, a small table and two chairs, and a wardrobe. The table is suitable for use as a desk or as somewhere to sit and eat. Behind the partition, just as you enter the room, there is a wash basin and vanity unit. In our room, the beds are made up, but guests taking a dormitory bed must make up their own.

The room is spotless and in pretty good condition. There are a few scuff marks on the white walls, but that is understandable, given the rigmarole around getting into the room. Four small hand towels are provided. On the first morning, we hung our towels to dry and by the time we came back, late at night they were still damp. The next morning we simply dumped our towels on the floor and new ones were provided along with more sachets of shower gel and a little bar of soap.

There are two toilets (one for men and one for ladies) on each corridor, as well as three showers. One bathroom contains the two toilets, two basins, and a shower room; the other contains just the two showers and some washbasins. Both bathrooms have a hairdryer and an excellent mirror. The bathrooms are also sparklingly clean; staff make regular checks.

Common Spaces

Each floor has a small kitchen equipped with a kettle and toaster, hob, and a selection of crockery and other utensils. You couldn’t cook a full meal, but you could prepare snacks and simple breakfasts. The kitchens are locked and you have to get a swipe card from reception to use them. There is a vending machine in reception selling soft drinks and snacks. You can also buy beers from reception (but only up until 9 p.m., as alcohol can’t be sold after this time other than in bars and restaurants). The reception shop also sells a selection of souvenirs and outdoor equipment.

The hostel has a coin-operated laundry in its basement; other facilities include a television lounge (as well as a long list of cable channels, the hostel screens a different movie each evening -- free entertainment for those backpackers who can’t afford a night out in Geneva!) and a quieter lounge in the basement. Beside the television lounge there is a separate room containing several computers with internet access; these are coin operated, taking Swiss Franc and Euro coins.


There are lockers where you can store luggage after check out, but you will need your own padlock. Beware of charges if not paying in Swiss Francs. Smoking is not permitted inside, but smokers congregate very close to the door, making the entrance quite unpleasant. Be prepared for a slow check in; reception staff seem quite disorganised.

by Fiona Thompson
Hostelz.com Staff Reviewer
August 2012

Photos taken by the Hostelz.com reviewer — Genuine photos you can trust.
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Hostelz.com Guest Reviews
5   Excellent My stay at City Hostel Geneva on April 15 & 16, 2014 was excellent! My rooms were quiet and clean and the location worked very well for me. Liked the sink in the room and free lockers. Staff was extremely helpful and the maps and bus pass were especially appreciated. I would (and have) highly recommend staying at this facility. Imagine my surprise when I got my Visa bill and I saw that I had been charged for Internet use the day before my arrival (April 14, 2014). I had no computer with me on this trip and did not require internet usage. I am sure that this was just a mistake and I hope it can be rectified.  , age 56, Canada ()
3   Good Single room is far different from dormitory, it is good to have this opportunity for relevant money. Having a sink in the room is also much appreciated. Showers/toilet is in the hallway, but very nice and clean. Location is good, close to the train station and the embankment. Staff is quite helpful. Security is also good. Minus -- Rue Ferrier is extremely noisy!! There is not just regular transport and people talking, but as if trucks unloading their cargo in 5-6 o'clock in the morning! If your room faces this street, be sure you'll be awake at 5, even with earplugs and windows closed. No air-conditioning, which makes it too hot in summer, but thank you for the ventilator in the room. A break in reception working hours was a little bit disturbing.  , age 35, Russia ()
4   Good Place to stay Good location. 10 mins walking to Geneva Main train station at a slow pace. Good ambiance. Free internet. Free lockers (only have to leave a voucher for the lock). Can leave bags at the baggage area on the last day after check out. Perfect.  , Portugal ()
1   Really bad internet; cold Reception Staff The internet was horrendous. On all floors. Reception staff behaved like they couldn't care less, and helped like they had no choice. Cleanliness was the only good factor. Of shared washrooms that is.  , Canada ()
5   Excellent These guys are pro! The hostel appears more like a Hotel. Excellent. Very clean, near to the station, luggage room for backpack with locker, kitchen with freezer. Only thing they could do is to put Wi-Fi in the rooms. At now Wi-Fi free only in the common room near to the reception. Recommended!  , Brazil ()
3   Yeah, alright. this hostel has clean bathrooms, a good enough kitchen (although you have to get a key to use the fridge), and tiny rooms. it's nothing special but does give you everything you need. check out the rec room in the basement for comfy couches and a book exchange.  , Canada ()
4   Brilliant The best thing about this hostel is that it was really clean, there was good service from the receptionist, and internet available, and it was easily accessible from the main Train station and city centre. Exceeded my expectations.  , Ireland ()
4  Very clean for a hostel as expected for typical swiss hospitality and all staff speak english well. Day lockers are handy having just put down a deposit for the lock. Very close to the main train station and everything is within walking distance (although you'd be able to see everything in one/two days). If walking is not for you then the provided transport pass is handy as well (even though they don't really check for passes if you're traveling within geneva).  ()
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