A home away from home: Palmers Lodge Boutique Hostel, London

Extract from http://budgettraveller.org/

April 2012

It’s a strange sensation when you leave a place you’ve only stayed barely a few days and feel kinda as if you’re leaving home.

That kind of place where everyone seems to be dead friendly and you just slip into the swing of things like a duck to water.

Staying at Palmers Lodge Boutique Hostel was exactly like that -home away from home.

It’s rare to find that quality when travelling –it’s a kind of luxury for me.

The staff really look after you well -from Maddie and Andrea- cheerful bartenders of the Swiss Cottage and Willesden Green Bar respectively  to  Jaime, Carmen and Fran at reception- warm, friendly people who I clicked with instantly ……

People who are just travellers like you and me, and always armed with great tips.

Besides being very accommodating, both the hostels offer a great level of comfort.

Starting with the 20 bed dorms where the bunks are built on solid oak wood, have a nice proper thick mattress which you just sink into and nice fluffy pillows. Each bunk has a curtain which offers a great level of privacy and comes with a handy reading light and plug points for charging up your gadgets.

Moving up the scale, both hostels offer private ensuite rooms. So if you’re travelling as a couple or just want your own space -these rooms are great.

Starting at £70 a night for Willesden Green and £100 mark for Swiss Cottage- these prices are on par for a budget hotel in London but still represent a great deal and far better than many 4 star hotels in the city.

If you like quirky, there is abundance of character in both hostels.

Palmers Lodge Swiss Cottage is a 18th century lodge- stunning entrance with a chandelier and many original features like the oak doors and staircase.

Hillspring Lodge Willesden Green is filled with quirky items of furnishing like a deer rug hanging from the ceiling or a garden full of the owner’s collection of 100 odd motorcycles!

Facilities are great here -huge laundry plus an onsite restaurant that does decent pub style grub.

Both hostels have a really nice lounge area. Tons of comfy sofas which you just sink into and where guests vegetate, laptop in hand surfing thanks to the excellent wifi connection in the hostels. Which is free.

At Swiss Cottage the lounge area and the reception area in Willesden Green also has a few desktop PC’s to use for free.

They have a huge plasma screen TV plus they have a great library of DVD’s which you can borrow for free and watch a movie of choice.

Both have a great funky bar, where you can socialise and meet other hostel guests.

The hostel breakfast is limited and basic- cornflakes, coffee (not the best..), orange juice and a croissant.

Also hostel offers free wifi in the lounge areas and not in the rooms- this they explained, was to prevent people who would abuse the privilege and be streaming movies or downloading massive files, draining the bandwith for everyone.

Fair enough.

VERDICT

Overall, I had a great stay at both Palmers Lodge Swiss Cottage and Willesden Green.

It’s a refreshing alternative to the mundane, soulless budget chain of hotels in the city and offer that personal touch that you crave when you’re a stranger in the city.

It’s the kind of hostel where you become so comfortable and happy living, you could easily outstay your welcome!

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