“Poshtels” are to hostels what “glamping” is to camping–an upscale version of the budget travel option. Unlike the down-and-out hostels of your youth, the Safestay Hostel of London is centrally located, tidy, well-kept, offers in-room baths and is purple. Very, very purple.
An Upscale Hostel Experience
I admit it. I was one of those free-spirited flower children traipsing all over Europe in the 70’s. With my cheap cotton backpack, I used the then-affordable Eurail Pass to get from place to place.
Evenings, we’d find a hostel and sit around with other budget travelers sharing tips on where to go and possibly linking up with new traveling companions.
Hostels were a bit rough around the edges, but fairly safe and clean. Most rooms had metal cots with a durable but thin mattress. We all knew to bring our own sleeping sack to use along with the hostel’s scratchy blankets.
In the morning, after a basic breakfast, many hostels required you do a chore before leaving. At times I found myself sweeping the kitchen floor, folding tablecloths and even walking the hostel manager’s dog.
Not Your Typical Hostel
How the times have changed! While I’m still a free-spirit, I’m not quite up to sleeping in a crowded dorm room and finding a new friend so we can visit Buckingham Palace together. That’s where the Safestay Hostel fits the need of budget travelers! You’ve probably heard of upscale camping called “Glamping”. Campgrounds provide high quality tents or RV’s for rent that include high count sheets, comfy chairs and even dinners delivered to your camping site.
Plenty of Purple
Now, instead of staying in an ordinary hostel, Safestay offers a “poshtel”. Just entering the reception area tells you that this is not
a down-and-out hostel. Bright multi-colored carpets accent the purplish-pink chairs and paintings on the wall. Not a stain or worn spot in sight!
If you or someone in your family likes the color purple, this is the place for you. Walk the halls to your room and notice each purple door, with a large purple room number on the floor outside. Step inside your room to see purple pillows, purple sheets, and purple duvet covers. Guess what color towels are on your bed?
Everything in the room showed professionalism in cleaning. The sheets and pillows looked and smelled clean.
The in-room bathrooms are small, but it beats having to go down the hall and share a bathroom with ten strangers. Since the bathroom was spotless, I didn’t mind the small size. Not a dust bunny in sight! Do remember to pack travel sized bars of soap and shampoo, since those aren’t included in the rooms.
Most people think of hostels as catering to college aged “young folks”. That too, has changed. Hostels around the world now market to families, seniors and yes, even teenagers. When we checked into Safestay, a group of four women, who looked to be in their 60s, came barging into the front door, laughing hysterically about something that had happened at dinner. They certainly didn’t fit the stereotypical image of a hostel guest, but they certainly were having a good time.
Safestay Hostel offers everything from private twin rooms with your own bathroom to rooms with eight bunk beds. Some rooms designed for families have pull-out trundle beds. Each room is bright and airy.
Throughout the last 30 years, our family frequently stayed in hostels. For one thing, we’re very noisy, which doesn’t matter in a hostel. (Although one time, as I led a group of 12 women on a bike tour of Germany, we were making so much noise laughing that other guests complained and the manager threatened to make us leave if we didn’t quiet down.)
Once, when our daughter was 4, a school group asked if they could “borrow” her for a skit. She was thrilled to take part in their performance and received thunderous applause afterwards.
Often hostels are located in central locations, making it easy to get to major attractions. Safety is close to the Elephant and Castle underground station, which gives quick access to the main London tourist sites.
A Few Extras
Like most hostels, Safestay offers a basic breakfast of rolls, yogurt and fruit in the morning. If family members insist on eggs and bacon, tell them travel is a time to eat like the locals and they are now locals!
Safestay also offers Wi-Fi in the large meeting room, a pool table, library, heated garden and yes, even a bar.
While I enjoyed our visit at Safestay, I noticed one big difference from my early hostel days as a semi-swinging single. Back then, when 20-30 of us would meet in the common room, the noise level got quite loud as we all talked and laughed with each other. When I visited the common room at Safestay, there was conversation, but it was muted as the majority of people sat in silence, texting away on their phones.
If you are looking for a unique and budget friendly way to spend the night in London, give the Elephant and Castle Safestay Hostel a try. They promise you won’t have to sweep the floor or walk the dog before you check out!
Safestay Elephant and Castle is located at 144-152 Walworth Road, Elephant and Castle, London SE17 .
Have you stayed at a hostel? Would you visit one with your kids? Tell us in the comment section below.