HI - YHA Manchester Hostel



Hostelz.com's Review

HI - YHA Manchester Hostel is a purpose-built hostel -- those are their words. It would seem to mean that this building was erected for the sole purpose of being a hostel.

The Location

It’s located in an area of Manchester known as Potato Wharf, near the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry. It’s a bit far from the downtown area of Manchester, and about a twenty-minute walk from the closest light rail station. Once you get there, it’s a quiet, scenic area, but it will take you some time to get there.

Rooms and Bathrooms

The rooms bring to mind any movie you've ever seen about prisons. In "The Shawshank Redemption, Tim Robbins' character refers to the warden as “obtuse” and is thrown into a small space known as the hole, the shed, the box, with no ventilation, so when it’s hot, it’s incredibly stuffy and uncomfortable. Such is the condition of the sleeping rooms at this hostel. There is only one window in the room -- it’s large enough, but it only opens up a small bit. The weather was quite wonderful during our stay in Manchester, and in these conditions, the stuffiness is unbearable. During a muggy summer day, this room would be uninhabitable.

Beyond that, two of the roommates were there for an extended stay. They had brought two large suitcases with them, and emptied out the contents of both, so that their things dominated the whole room. The reception staff didn’t seem to see the issue with this, but when it was mentioned that someone had been smoking in the room, they changed our room assignment.

The bathrooms are very small units, not unlike what you might find in apartments in Asia, where building space is extremely limited. It’s one room that contains the shower, sink, and toilet in one tiny waterproof area. It’s practical for such a small space, but with the lack of ventilation it is becoming moldy. There is also an alarm in one of the bathrooms, which looks like a light switch. It is for handicapped patrons to alert the staff that they need help. After it was pulled by mistake, nothing happened. The staff ignored it.

Common Spaces

There is a large amount of common areas -- there is a patio outside, more or less dominated by the smokers. Inside, there is a restaurant area, lobby, game room, and TV room. Though there is a bit of room, the areas are lacking in chairs and sofas. The restaurant/bar is so-so, as far as the food is concerned. If you were to rate the restaurant on a curve, taking into account all other British food, it is actually very good. The hostel has internet, but the guests have to pay per day to access it. There are video games, but they are broken.


Ultimately, the lack of ventilation in the rooms and general sloppy nature of our roommates would have made this a miserable experience. The capper was a shouting match in the hotel lobby between an unreasonable guest and the manager. The guest had lost his wallet, and expected the staff to alert Scotland Yard to find it. The staff took the opposite tact, stating in no uncertain terms that it was his responsibility, not theirs. True enough, but they offered no help whatsoever. It’s one thing to not be responsible, and quite another to be useless.

When the guest became angry, the manager became angrier and an ugly scene resulted. This may be indicative of the fact that in the hostel atmosphere, you are not getting the service of trained hospitality professionals. The lack of ability to handle difficult situations shows, and it casts a further gloom on what was an otherwise horrible stay.
by Ggreg Snyder
Hostelz.com Staff Reviewer
October 2011


(Location is approximate. You may need to pan/move to find "HI - YHA Manchester Hostel" at Potato Wharf, Castlefield.)


Potato Wharf, Castlefield, Manchester, Greater Manchester, England
53.475685, -2.258034
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Hostelz.com Guest Reviews

YHA Manchester Youth Hostel is very easy to find -- if you come on a train from the north, you pass by it as you pull into the central train station. The halls are like hotel rooms and the doors lock automatically, so it's hard to get beyond the cold, generic feel up in the dorm room area. The hostel is spotless throughout, despite its large size. The common room has video games (unfortunately, no Dance Dance Fever) and pool tables, but few chairs/sofas for hanging out. The four-bedroom dorms are all ensuite, although the bathroom is tiny and reminds you of an airline loo. The beds aren't crammed in the rooms, so there is plenty of space. Sheets are included. There is a closet area with hangers and cubbies, as well as several lockers (bring your own lock). The free, cafeteria style breakfast is delicious, huge, and unlimited (with free coffee/tea/juice). The self-catering kitchen is clean but tiny and there's hardly any refrigerator room for personal items, so don't bring anything you won't consume that night. Dinner is also available for purchase, along with beer and wine at the front desk (they request you consume the alcohol in the dining room, although this seems difficult to enforce). There's one computer terminal for internet access (pay as you go) for the entire hostel, so head to the gorgeous Central Library to sign up for a free thirty-minute session as a guest (no library card needed). The hostel isn't located near many amenities -- a few bars/restaurants, but no grocery stores/markets (get supplies downtown first). Although the surrounding streets are well-lit, there aren't many people out and about, so walk with a group or grab a taxi. There's twenty-four-hour access to the hostel with no lock-out periods. This hostel seems to cater to groups (and they even do meetings there), so although the staff is friendly, you won't find them organizing pub crawls. The staff is plentiful, knowledgeable, and armed with maps, so don't hesitate to consult them.
Johanna Jensen (i've done this before, but couldn't find a login)
  This is what all hostels should be like. Fantastic!
  Great hostel, absolutely top class lodging, food and other facilities. However, the building is located more or less in a railway junction with all sorts of rail bound vehicles crisscrossing on viaducts over your head, so it is wise to bring fresh earplugs and, possibly, a sleeping pill.
  I stayed here in 1996 and loved it. The staff were really helpful. I still remember my stay fondly.
Katherine Gibson
  This is the only hostel I've visited in the UK, despite living here, but it's amazing. It's much better than the bed and breakfasts I've stayed in. The staff were really friendly (at 5 a.m. when I arrived :P) I've stayed here on two separate occasions and I intend to stay again. The rooms were really clean, especially the bathroom. The food is excellent. I can't fault it!!
Mark Andrews
  I worked here for my work experience, and I loved it!! :)

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