A Little Bit of Luxury (Hostel) at London’s Palmers Lodge Swiss Cottage

Extract from http:http://bittenbythetravelbug.com/

October 2012

Having spent the first part of summer travelling between hotels and rental properties I was cautious when accepting the invitation to stay at Palmers Lodge Swiss Cottage.

I’d heard great things from Jeannie and Kash about the property, and as my first boutique hostel experience I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up in case it was turned out to be another squeaky bunk bed affair. Hostelbookers, our partner for Girls Running with Bulls, got it right by allowing us to rest our heads there.

First Impressions

Walking up to the manor house that Palmer’s Lodge Swiss Cottage is located in I felt like I should be dressed up in a fascinator and modest length dress, rather than have slung a weekend bag over my shoulder and sweating through my cotton t-shirt from the humid London day.

I’d never been to Swiss Cottage before; located in zone 2 at the North of London it’s not the most central of hostels, so it was nice to have the expert opinion from the staff manning the front desk on what to do during the evening, where the best restaurants were, and where to have a drink with new friends (If you don’t fancy staying at the Chapel Bar on site then Ye Olde Swiss Cottage located just by the Tube gets my vote!)

Dorms

IKEA sheets and plain metal bed frames bores me, and I love it when a hostel surprises me with something a little bit different – Palmers answered my wish.

It conjured images of what I imagined an early hostel might look like. Wooden bunks stacked atop each other, the second floor created with a set of stairs and bridge with more bunks nestled atop the level.

A small couch nestled in the corner next to a real, but thankfully with the heat, but not working heater and a healthy stack of books to pick over.

Climbing up three-steps carefully crafted as the ‘ladder’ into my bed I was excited – I had a Queen size bed all to myself! The doona was light, the pillows were soft, and so drawing the curtains on two sides I quickly slide into a well deserved nap.

If dorms aren’t your cup of tea then there are options for private rooms.

Verdict

Whilst the location is on the city border, what it may lack for some in location it makes up for in charm and personality. Wooden staircases, a suit of armour, antiques scattered tastefully around the property to add to the sense of cosiness and homeliness that other hostels just don’t find.

For the party animal this may not be the first choice for you. The hostel does arrange plenty of nights out in the local area and to Camden Town, which is a 10 minute bus or 20 minute walk away, but for the most part the guests I spent time with preferred to relax and take it easy or chat whilst at the hostel – my type of people!

The shared bathroom I used was tiny, but with decent shower pressure and hot water on tap it’s a small price to pay for more what could be considered more important conveniences; and the atmosphere of the common room and ambiance of this old building more, in my opinion, more than makes up for what some may consider inconveniences.

Palmers Lodge provides you with all the creature comforts you might need. A restaurant and bar are located on site, and vending machines are available in the common room along with a number of couches inviting you to sink into them with a book or a television to catch up on some British TV. Palmer’s Lodge also provide free WiFi to use on your laptop or phone, but have computers in the common room if you didn’t bring your own.

For a truly British boutique hostelling experience then Palmers Lodge Swiss Cottage might be the perfect fit for your time in London.

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