It is a bit outside London and in zone 3 but can be reached without difficulty. Not really suited for going out, no tourist/sightseing area but safe enough if normal precautions taken.
We experienced two rooms. Both are big enough for all people sharing and particularly in comparison to other hostels in London. Everyone can easily store luggage and be outside of the bed at the same time. If you find it strange that we mention this, well that is because it was not possible in most other hostels.
Another advantage is that there is at least one room for females only. The metal bunk beds are numbered and each bed has its own locker. The lockers are big enough for a backpack but not for suitcases and seem to be sturdy. However, the padlock is not included and during our stay there were none available at the reception. It is possible to open the window and there also is a curtain that actually makes the room dark.
The beds are saggy and there is no daily change of sheets. Some beds squeak with every movement.
The rooms are loud, particularly those towards the main street. A lot of the doors click shut loudly by default. People are coming and going also in the rooms all day and all night. On Fridays there is live music or Karaoke at the pub which can well be heard in the rooms so sleeping is not really an option.
The air in the rooms is very bad and although the windows can be opened that does not help much since there seems to be no real airflow. The rooms towards the main street get more exhausts than fresh air anyway. The rooms are not clean but we have seen worse.
There are too few showers available for the number of rooms and people. At least on the second floor, the only two shower rooms also contain the toilets. That means due to the already limited number of showers it can be very difficult to find a toilet when you need one. The shower cubicles are big and tend to be clean in the morning directly after cleaning and then become increasingly dirtier until they reach a level of disgusting. However, it must be mentioned that there is no mould. The water pressure ranges between dripping and very good, obviously influenced by the current amount of water usage in the whole hostel or maybe the other bathrooms. There is a small hair dryer in the bathroom which unfortunately does not function.
There is no sitting room but the pub on the ground-floor can be used to lounge as long as there are no events or too many pub guests. The drinks are cheaper for hostel guests and you can buy meals. There are a dart board and a pool table, as well as flat screen TVs.
Wifi is available in the pub and in one corner of the kitchen on the first floor but it is very slow and often disconnects. There is also a small computer room with PCs and internet access. We did not use this facility so cannot say more in this respect.
The advertised full facility kitchen is a great disappointment. The kitchen itself is indeed big yet anything but fully equipped. Only one of the three stoves seems to work, there is only one kettle but therefore no pots. Furthermore, there is almost no equipment for cooking at all and the provided tableware is plastic only except for one normal cup. That is a problem if you would like to have a hot drink and particularly since the only usable cooking facility is the microwave. Once you finished eating you have to clean your dishes without sponge or towel.
At least there are two fridges and one freezer but apparently due to the number of long term guests these are extremely full. There are also notes that you are suppossed to label your food, but neither in the kitchen nor at the reception can you find the necessary means. Surprisingly, nothing was stolen during our stay.
There is a small balcony directly at the kitchen which can be used to smoke or eat outside. Inside there is a dining room and an extra table in front of the fridges so that makes enough seats and tables. Since the balcony is used for smoking the smoke comes inside which is not nice when eating so quite a few people take their food to the room because of this.
The kitchen and dining rooms are not clean and the tables and chairs are very sticky.
In theory the reception is opened from 9am to 12am but quite often there was no staff in sight and we ourselves had to wait 20 minutes for someone to arrive. Other hostel guests reported similar stories and we witnessed a pub guest pushing the responsible staff member to check in hostel guests that were being ignored despite repeatedly using the bell. During our stay the staff showed the attitude of oh, looks like a guest, quick run away.
The pub is used as such and even before 12pm the typical pub guest can be found around the bar. These guests can be fun or an annoyance, depending on your attitude. This holds true for the evening guests as well. The pub is frequented a lot including obviously regular guests.
There are a lot of long term guests in the hostel and the interest in social interaction is very low with these guests.
The prices are cheap compared to other hostels in London.
How to get there
There is a bus stop (Willesden Bus Garage) almost directly at the hostel with busses 24 hours. The hostel is only 5 minutes walk from Dollis Hill tube station (Jubilee Line; zone 3) and easy to find. When leaving the station turn right and walk Chapter Road to the end, T-crossing into Dudden Hill Lane. Turn left and walk to the end of this road where you can then already see the hostel on the opposite side of the road, to the left.
If you like being up late, having a party and are a pub lover or are looking for cheap rates this might be a hostel for you. If you want to sleep at night and cook your own meals it is not suitable.