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I convinced my Austrian mister to stay at Wombats Hostel London. That may not sound impressive, but believe me, he is a hotel princess, who somehow travelled throughout his twenties staying in 4-star hotels thanks to his employers. I, however, have always stayed in hostels, especially in Europe. From squeezing into a 12 bed dorm in London basement, to beautiful hostels that were like a second home in Lisbon and Berlin, I’ve tried it all. So when we were looking for London accommodation and everything on AirBnb was too damn expensive, my immediate solution was a hostel.
Not too shabby – London Wombats Reception
Luckily for me, one of my favourite hostel brands just opened their London base. Even better – the hostel chain is Austrian owned, so convincing my Austrian mister was a touch easier once he knew his compatriots would be in charge of things.
The Wombats in London opened late last year, so if you are quick, you might be able to get in before it is fully booked for the summer, because believe me this place is damn fine. I’d stayed in their Vienna and Budapest editions, with Budapest being by far the best, so my expectations were pretty high. So high in fact, that I decided to gamble my future travel & relationship happiness with Stefan on the fact that Wombats London would be suitable for him to survive. Luckily for me (and even more so for him!) the London edition lived up to the hype.
The building is newly renovated and it seemed they have more development planned, as there was a bit of construction happening in the front courtyard while we were there. Nothing to disturb our sleep though, because our bed was literally the same as the Ikea bed we have at home.
Our double en suite room was spacious and included our own bathroom, awesome shower, decent sized wash basin and a wardrobe. Once we had our bags in, there was still plenty of space for two side tables and room to sprawl our mess. We are both chronic bag-sprawlers, so the minute we hit a hotel room, the suitcases explode clothing and toiletries everywhere. It’s not pretty, but it does make it obvious how well designed a double room is. Even with our junk everywhere there was clear floor space leftover. Rooming success!!
Tower Hill Tube station in moody London weather
The location of the hostel made it super easy to find just by using the Tube or Overland rail network. Tower Hill and Aldgate East tube station are within walking distance, while the London Bridge main station with Overland and regional trains is a very short bus trip across the river. We found the place with no problem following the directions provided by Hostelworld (another longtime favourite of mine, I’ve used them since 2008 to book hostels). This spot was super useful for our daily adventures and exploring – being walking distance to the Shard, Tower Bride, the Tower of London itself and Southbank was really lovely. For me, the close walk made it feel like a proper holiday.
I normally stay with friends on a couch in London (see: crazy expensive London prices for accommodation) so staying among the tourist sites really gave me that ‘holiday’ feeling. There’s not a huge amount of bars and restaurants near the hostel itself though, so you will need to wander across the bridge for decent meals or plan to head to another area of London on the Tube. This wasn’t a big issue for us though. Mainly because, if we needed to, this was the hostel bar:
Dark and trendy with lots of drink options….
…cosy corners for lounging and making friends…
…huge artsy communal benches for dinner and drinks
Damn right its massive, and beautiful and cosy all at once. Stefan and my sister did a thorough amount of ‘research’ into the bar’s cocktail selection after our first full day in town, the fools. Their hangovers the next day proved that you most definitely can enjoy a big night out on your own turf with drink specials and excellent barmen serving Long Island Iced-Teas ’till the wee hours. I dodged the all-nighter in favour of a good night’s sleep – pretty sure that decision not only saved my liver, but officially makes me an adult. Life success!
The decor of the hostel is fun and a little tongue in cheek, designed for the trendy backpacker but not necessarily a flash-packer’s palace. The service was still as you would expect in a hostel. At least, what I would expect in a hostel. Friendly and helpful, but not too formal. At check-in the staff member greeting us chewed on a sandwich the entire time we were filling out our forms. For me, no bother. For my Austrian mister though, there were a few glaring differences between his normal hotel experience and the hostel.
- No turn down service or room cleaning daily until you check out (It’s not the Ritz)
- Service at reception was lacklustre and seemingly rude (again, he prefers a 4 star hotel experience)
- The iron provided by the hostel was of poor quality (I was so impressed they had an iron!!)
- No phones in the room to call reception (I gently advised this is normal in hostels)
All in all though, for a hotel princess he not only survived – but he miiiiight have even enjoyed it. I don’t think he’d be so bold as to say so, but there’s no better endorsement for a hostel than convincing an Austrian Hotel Princess that hostels may be a viable alternative form of accommodation. My gamble paid off, so for that I have to say thanks Wombats, your inner Austrian cleanliness and efficiency really made a difference!
** Please note: This is NOT a sponsored post, all views expressed here are my own and I am not receiving any benefit from Wombats Hostel for this post. I genuinely enjoy their branded hostels and am sharing this info the same way I would to a close friend. Because friends don’t let friends stay in shitty expensive hostels!**