I like a hostel that can tick all the boxes, so I expect a lot when I’m staying at a new one. And as Wombats City London was recently voted ‘Best Hostel in England’ by Hostelworld, I had very high expectations in all categories when I visited at the weekend. I was in town for my bestie’s birthday shindig in Shoreditch and thought I’d check it out for you guys at the same time. Because, you know, I care about bringing you detailed hostel reviews, it’s nothing to do with having a bed to crash in 10 minutes from the bar and not having to get the last train home. Just saying.
The lobby of Wombats is very ‘East London’. Which can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your viewpoint on mismatching furniture, marquee letter lights, vintage bookcases and every other hipster thing there is. But hands up, I totally love it. I’m a sucker for all of that stuff and I think it gives the hostel a bit of personality. Sometimes hostels can feel a bit clinical but this was a warm welcome.
There’s even day beds scattered around the reception area, as well as the rest of the hostel, which I really rate. A lot of the time when you’re travelling and staying in hostels, you just want to chill out on your laptop and Skype your mum, and so little hostels have nice cosy places to relax like this.
I got a double room instead of a dorm because I was feeling fancy, and it definitely surpassed my expectations. With a really lovely decor of pink walls, pin-up girl art and vintage yellow chairs, it was pretty impressive. Especially when you throw in the modern ensuite bathroom, nice white Ikea furniture and full length baroque mirror. This is proper flashpacking over here. Like seriously, this is better than a lot of hotels I’ve visited.
I don’t like to be this gushy so I need to find fault in something, but the only thing that got my goat was that there was only one double plug socket in the corner of the room. So I couldn’t plug my straighteners in and do my hair in front of the mirror, because it was on the other side of the room. I know, that’s a pathetic flaw but this room is hard to pick holes in, ok?
The Common Areas
The real highlight of Wombats for me was the underground common areas. A big open-plan area provides a really cool bar, more day beds and sofas to chill in, games areas, places to eat your food, and pretty much anything you want to do. And look how cool it is! All open brickwork and cool arches, I would come here if it was just a bar. I mean, come on it’s very London isn’t it? Except for the price tag – £3 beers anyone?
I also loved how many different social things there were to do, like playing pool, table football and beer pong (yes a dedicated beer pong table guys). Because that’s what you want from a hostel, activities where you can meet new people and it’s not that awkward.
There’s also an outdoor terrace with hammocks and stuff, but it’s London so it was obviously raining. And my hair was already a mess in these photos so ain’t no way I was going outside. You’ll just have to imagine it.
In the underground area, there’s also the kitchen and dining areas. They’re all totally clean and tidy, and completely modern. And I went down at dinner time and it wasn’t busy, which is always a plus. I hate having to wait to use a saucepan when I’m hangry.
Breakfast was really nice too. You can buy tokens from reception and it’s pretty much a standard buffet breakfast set-up, like toast, cereal and continental stuff. But I think they do it right with lots of things to put on your toast and a grill so you can make toasties. I know these are little things but they make a difference.
There’s also FREE WIFI guys!! It’s ridiculous but I still find that a massive plus, so many hostels charge for internet and it’s like, what year are we in? I gotta tell my mum I’m alive already.
In terms of cleanliness you can’t fault Wombats at all, there are cleaners around all the time, everything is spotless. And security-wise, you need to use your key card to get through every door (and there’s a lot of them) which made me feel a lot safer when I left my SLR camera in the room when I went out. That’s what you want right, somewhere you can leave your valuables and not be worried about them being stolen. Oh but there’s also a safe in the room FYI.
Although it seems a bit out of the way, just south of Whitechapel, the location was ideal for me really. I went out in Shoreditch on the Saturday night and walked home. Which I always love because transport at night in London is shocking. And the next day I went to Spitalfields for a coffee and a wander which was also just up the road. So if you want a base to explore East London, it’s a great shout. And in terms of tourist landmarks the Tower of London and Tower Bridge are really accessible too.
On a side note, I went to The Blues Kitchen and had a really fab time with live music and a really good atmosphere. So I definitely recommend going if you’re in East London!
Ok anyway, back to the hostel. I think you can tell I really enjoyed my stay at Wombats City Hostel and I was so impressed with how cool it was. I mean, it covered the basic areas of cleanliness, security and location to start off with, but what really made it special was the decor, the amazing underground bar and the cool hipster lobby. Definitely stay here if you’re in London, I rate it.
If you want more info, check out the Wombats website. Go on, do it.
What did you think of this hostel review? Have you been to Wombats? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @HeelsinBackpack!
Total blogger transparency: I accepted free accommodation at Wombats City London but all opinions expressed are my own. I wouldn’t play you like that, shorty.