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Hostelling drags itself into the 21st century with Generator

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Strangely enough, hostelling is not something that I usually cover on Head for Points.  That didn’t stop a PR company sending me a pile of information on Generator Hostels.  To be honest, it looks pretty good!

I was one of those kids who hated hostels.  When I was young, poor and travelling, I would generally seek out the nearest flea-pit fire-trap hotel rather than check into a hostel.  In those pre-internet days, that generally involved arriving in a city without a reservation (because you didn’t have the money to telephone abroad to enquire) and then banging on enough doors until you found something cheap and vaguely acceptable.

Generator 2

In 2015, hostels are big money.  Generator is owned by Patron Capital, a private equity group.  It currently has over 6,000 beds in nine properties.

They call them ‘urban design hostels’ –

“The design of each Generator property is individual to its location, expertly created to reflect its surrounding neighborhood and culture – in Generator’s words, “we aim to respect the soul of the city we are in”.

The use of the social spaces is also key to the philosophy of Generator. Whether travelling alone, on business or with a partner, all Generators are places with gregarious spaces, designed to instigate social serendipity. Axiomatically, Anwar’s design draws people into the gloriously furnished social spaces where they lounge, surf, chat, play games, eat and drink, relax, read, watch TV and see great live entertainment.”

Generator 1

The pictures in this piece are of the London property in a mews near Russell Square.  If I was 18 again, I would go for it.

Prices are shockingly reasonable, from £10.50 per night in a shared dorm of up to 12 people.  For a random date in June, I was quoted £19.  Private rooms start at £52 – although for that money you should spend $70 on 10,000 IHG Rewards Club points and book the Holiday Inn Wembley instead!

Generator 3

Obviously I won’t be checking into a Generator hostel in the near future.  Neither will most of you.  If your kids are about to set out on some European travel, though, they do look like an interesting option.

Comments (35)

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  • Doug says:

    I’ve stayed in the Generator hostels in Copenhagen and Berlin. I’m a lot older than their usual demographic and have always booked rooms with private facilities, solo in Copenhagen and with my sons at the two properties in Berlin. The accomodation, as expected, is basic but it’s all very clean and the shower facilities were fine. All had free wifi.
    In both Copenhagen and Berlin the hostel bars were lively and competitively priced and the locations were good. For the price I paid they were a very good deal, particularly the Copenhagen one.

    • Polly says:

      Douglas, do you know if there is a good hostel with private facilities near CPH airport, as I was thinking about that before our HKT flights and on return. Seems like a good option for us lot on our cheapo ex EU flights. Some of the NYC ones are amazing ESP the old Vanderbilt building one. And a fab one in NY Chelsea area too.

      • JoeMcluskey says:

        Hi Polly,

        I would recommend Zleep Hotel Copenhagen Airport. It is absolute basic but you have your own room and it will take you 5 min with the train direct to the airport.

        You check in on a machine and its quite cheap, I think I paid around 480 dkr / 50 quid a night.

        But I would suggest staying in the city centre of CPH and its very easy to get to the airport. The metro goes to the airport and takes 15 mins.

      • TJ says:

        Quick Copenhagen tip – use Uber! It’s pretty new there, and the quality of the cars is…inconsistent, but the drivers were always friendly.

        The taxis in Copenhagen are VERY expensive, and have predefined rates for airport runs which make them at least 4 or 5 times the price of an Uber doing the same journey.

        Things not covered: FOREX fees on your credit card if you’re not using Lloyds, trains also run airport to central, and the fact taxis are everywhere, Uber might be a short wait.

        • Ben says:

          Why does Lloyds save you the forex fees?

          • Rob says:

            Because there are no foreign exchange fees on the Lloyds Avios Rewards cards (not the old-style Lloyds Avios cards).

  • Doug says:

    Can’t help with other hostels I fear as this was my one and only visit to Copenhagen. If you don’t mind the trip to the centre the nearest metro station to the Generator hostel, about 5-10 minutes walk away, is on the line from the airport and takes about 15 minutes on the train.

    • Polly says:

      Thanks all for CPH tips, may well go into the city if the metro is that easy.

  • Blackberryaddict says:

    Very timely post. I now have kids that go interrailing (they got fed up having to come with mum and dad on CW redemptions 😉 ), so I’ll forward this post to them.

  • sandgrounder says:

    Student halls of residence offer good value in the holidays. is worth a look for the budget traveller to london who wants a bit more privacy than a hostel bed, but would still like to meet other young people. I spent a good twelve months on the pool table at Rosebery a couple of decades ago!

  • Matt says:

    I’m 30 now and have always split my travelling life between nice hotels and fun hostels where you meet a lot of people.

    I would warn people though, that Generator hostels are mega party hostels so you have to expect them to be loud at night.

    • amex? says:

      Too old for that sh/t now but when I was a bit younger going thru Aus, I saw a few hostels.

      OK the price is right but when the bed next door to you brings back a gel and [email protected] her noisily for a wee whiley plus all the unwelcome old pants, whews, grimaces, exhalations – it does sort of poison your stay.

      That’s Labour for you, by the way.

  • Justin says:

    Have just come back from a hen party weekend in Hamburg, where the majority of people stayed at the Generator, and spent a lot of time there – although I stayed at the Radisson Blu. Was impressed with the cleanliness and the style of the hostel though. The staff still have a hostel feel to them and everything comes at an added cost, eg towels, padlock rental, lost keys. There were a lot of stag parties there as you could imagine, but also some ‘older’ clientele as well. Perfect if you are traveling in a group, but with a private room for single occupancy at 130€ p/n it was almost half price for me to stay in the Radisson instead.

  • callum says:

    Generators tend to be souless and generic. I can see why that would be appealing to the hotel crowd but I don’t think they’re great for actual backpackers.

    They certainly aren’t worth highlighting anyway (though I appreciate you know nothing on this topic so had to rely on the press release!).

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