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These are the ramblings of Matthijs Kooijman, concerning the software he hacks on, hobbies he has and occasionally his personal life.

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Hostel review: St. Christopher's in Edinburgh

Party hard, sleep easy

Last week, I've been in Edinburgh for a few days for a conference on Haskell and functional programming. Since we were late with booking, all the nearby and slightly cheaper hotels were booked full. Since it's likely we'll have to (partly) pay our travel to and stay in Edinburgh ourself, we went looking for a hostel nearby. The first one I tried was pretty close, so we booked four nights at "St. Christopher's Inn". I'll write up a review of the place, since I was rather content with it. A small disclaimer: This is the first hostel I've been to, so I can't really compare it with anything but my common sense expectations of a hostel :-).

Location

St. Christopher's is a hostel co-located with Belushi's Bar at Market street. The bar is a nice bar with slightly alternative (lots of torn out jeans and piercings), but very friendly people. The bar and hostel are heavily integrated, so the reception is behind the bar and breakfast is served there as well. There are two separate bars, so there's usually plenty of room.

The hostel is located on Market Street, which is directly south of Waverly train station. This means you're close to public transport, but also right in the city center and close to attractions like the Edinburgh dungeon, Edinburgh castle and a big shopping center (St James IIRC).

Services

St. Christopher's has a wide range of services. Included with our stay was free breakfast every morning, consisting of bread / toast, coffee / tea and various kinds of cereal. I personally found there was not much choice in bread spreads (Is this a proper term?), just different flavours of jam, peanutbutter and marmite (though I usually only eat the latter with cheese), but that's probably how Scottish breakfast works (and it was still very enjoyable).

There is free WiFi in the bars, which is a nice service if you bring your laptop. There are also a few computers available, but they cost a pound for 20 minutes of use.

There is a lot of useful stuff for sale or rent, like deodorant, toothpaste, padlocks, towels (rent), power plug converters (rent), etc. Most of these go for just one or two pounds, so better than buying them at the airport :-) There is a laundry machine available for a few pounds.

On the first floor, there is a "Chill Room", which has a big TV and some moderately comfortable couches. While we were there, the room was a bit messy, I suspect they recently installed new electric lockers in the luggage room (behind the chill room), which caused a bit of mess. This luggage room offers free lockable cages (bring or buy a padlock) and rentable electric lockers to store your luggage. Unfortunately there is no WiFi coverage in the chill room, so you'll have to do your surfing down in the bar (which might be full and noisy during the evenings).

Room & Beds

I can't say anything general here (I've only seen one room), but I'd expect most rooms to be similar. We were sleeping in a 6 bed dorm on the fourth floor. The room offers space for the beds, but not much else. Fine for sleeping, but less suited for spending the day.

The beds are bunk beds, so you might need to sleep on top. The beds weren't too big (I'd guess they're 1.90 long, since I needed to curl up a bit to fit in) and didn't have the best matrases, but they were ok enough. Linen is included with your stay, so no need to take a sleeping bag.

Each bunk has two cages underneath for storing valuables. You'll need to have your own padlock to lock them. You can buy these at the reception (for just two pounds), but you might want to take a slighly bigger one yourself (one or two of the cages in our room had a broken handle, so they could only be locked with a bigger lock).

Summary

In summary, I found this a very decent hostel, with good service. If you have any different or additional experiences, don't hesitate to leave a comment!

 
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