Located a mere five minute walk from bustling Chapel Street, and perched above a 'locals bar' and technically seperate restaurant-bar, the College Lawn Hotel offers a cheap alternative to those who want to visit purely for the nightlife. That is what you'll find here, scores of backpackers seeking a party and company. There are a few using the hostel as a base while they work or seek employment, but for the most part the crowd seems to be looking for fun.
Rooms and Bathrooms
The rooms house 8-apiece, they are not the best kept, but are far away from being the worst at $25/night. They are fairly clean, they are typically messy (typical party-backpacker conditions). Unfortunately they are the best part.
The kitchen left us wondering if anybody had used it since a great big fry-up several weeks before, apparently so, by brave or bewildered souls, who knows? A sign was pasted to the window, threatening a loss of deposits for all if the kitchen was not kept tidy, perhaps that ship sailed some time after the fry-up.
The bathrooms weren't altogether too bad, except all the toilets have at least one broken surface each. The showers worked.
So did the taps.
The mirror was doing a remarkable job of being in one piece.
The hostel doesn't offer much in the way of common space. There is a couch in the front hall, a staircase in the back which leads to the bar downstairs, which is where most congregation within the hostel itself seems to take place. The kitchen could probably serve as a place to share, if it wasn't such a damnable mess.
The bar/restaurant has big TVs that show sports (including, to my delight, English Premier League Football). There is a pool table, and a very nice outdoor sitting area. There are regular deals on food, the steak meal for $14 (as of Jan 2015) was pretty good, and one can see that they at least care about the restaurant's kitchen.
Utilities / Other
The hostel offers a washing machine and dryer, woe unto the fact, that they are in the kitchen.
They also have Wi-Fi, but as anyone who's bounced around hostels for any amount of time knows, the connection is somewhat... Unreliable? Slow? Occasionally nonexistent? There's a word I'm looking for here... Oh yeah - Godawful. But it is there, and useless Wi-Fi is practically a proud tradition of backpacker hostels by now.
In reality, the hostel offers just about everything you need provided you are in Melbourne to party, to live cheap (relatively speaking), and you consider the clean kitchen to be a modern extravagance, and the holes in the toilets to be a polite reminder of the fragility of life in general - fodder for very late night deep and meaningful conversation, should you be so inclined.
For this purpose I give the hostel 3/5