I went to London for a quick weekend visit during my 6 month stint for a job training in the Netherlands. The trip to London was a 2-day-1-night visit, so I needed a cheap and convenient place to stay the night. Looking up a place to stay I came across several hostels, but Generator was the cheapest, $55.00/per night, and it seemed to be located conveniently near the Kings Cross Station.
First impression of the hostel when I arrived was lively, full of backpackers and college students mingling, drinking and chatting up a good time. The staff and security were polite and very helpful. The rooms, on the other hand, is a different story.
The room I stayed in was quite large with 6 bunk beds lined up against the walls (so 12 beds in total), BUT with only 8 tiny rusted and out of shape lockers found near the doorway. You're free to use the lockers but you need to bring your own keys or pay to rent one for the night. The beds were rusted and squeaky, sheets were stained and the blankets were torn and showed no signs that they have been washed. Bathrooms were maintained well, but it is not a place where you would go without your shoes...and you definitely don't want to step into the shower without sandles. Even worse, they did NOT have hot water due to the fact that the boiler went out of service. The girl who stayed in the same room with me told me that she was there for 6 days without running hot water! They serve continental breakfast, but it only consists of toast, jam, cereal and watered down artificial juices.
I only recommend staying here for a 1 or 2 day trip and if you are looking for a cheap place to stay for the night. Bars were nice, and the people I met staying at the hostel were all very fun to talk to. But the quality of the rooms were quite terrible. If you can afford to shell out $20-30 more for a hotel with your own private room and a clean bathroom, then stay away from this place...otherwise I hope you have a better experience than I did.
Unique Quality: Positives:
- Staff was kind and helpful
- Bars were lively and served good drinks for a reasonable price
- Dirty rooms and rusted beds
- Bed sheets and blanks were stained and does not seemed to have been washed
- Dirty bathrooms and showers
- McDonald's breakfast is gourmet compared to the crappy food served here
I screwed up my reservation at the Radisson Edwardian hotel where I was supposed to stay the whole time, so I ended up having to find somewhere to stay for the last night. I had a Lonely Planet guidebook and it pointed out a hostel called the Generator. I called and making the reservation was easy. They were actually very pleasant on the phone. In fact, the staff at the place was very nice. Everything else, however, was deplorable! Our room was really tiny and it had really gross bunkbeds with stained sheets. The room was so small that the bunkbeds were crammed up against the door, blocking the door from opening all the way. There were lockers in the room that were dented and broken. One wouldn't close and the other woulnd't open so they were useless to us. There was a little metal sink that was reminiscent of a prison cell.
All of this I can live with - afterall, I wasn't expecting too much out of a hostel. I knew it might not be aesthetically pleasing. But the worst part was when we came home around midnight, tired and ready for sleep. When we walked in the front door, there were strobe lights and extremely loud techno music blasting from the bar, which is located on the first floor. We thought we might not here it on the 3rd floor, but we did. It was making our beds vibrate.
On top of that, there were teenagers everywhere...sleeping on couches, sitting on the floor, running down the hallway, hanging out in the bathroom. We happened to have a group of about 15 Spaniards next to us and they were shouting in Spanish out the windows to their friends on the other side of the building.
This went on until about 4am. I had earplugs with me, but they really didn't help, at all. It was one of the worst nights I ever had. I hate to sound like a complainer, but it really was a nightmare. If you're out of college, I don't recommend you stay here.
Arrival, check in, lunch, pub, football game, win, pub, disco in side the hostel, sleep, breakfast, underground, plane back to Holland
Unique Quality: Bare minimum, cheap, disco till 3:00h
It's called a party hostel!!!
Directions: Russell Square Station (Piccadilly Line) is close to The Generator 3 min walk. Station exit, cross over onto Marchmont Street traffic lights. Turn right to Tavistock Place and to number 37, to Compton Place and The Generator is at the bottom.
Well my most recent stay(April 2008) at the Generator was good in terms of people. The building however was under a renovation project with scaffolding over the exterior. The room I stayed in also smelled of eggs (not the good kind). So what can I say but that it wasn't worth the money saved. I will most likely find another place to stay next time until the renovation is complete. If you are thinking of an inexpensive hostel the Generator has good prices. The Hostel won't be under these conditions forever so calling ahead would be the thing to do. Once the cosmetics of the building is finished and the Scaffolding torn down it'll be as good if not better than most Hostels. Just not right now haha.
Unique Quality: Well getting on one of the computers downstairs never seems to be a problem. People generally quickly send email and their off. The bar is fun and since people are on vacation they are always in a good mood. I always seem to run into Australians and I haven't met one I haven't liked. Also the location of the Generator is very close to the British museum making for a nice walk. There are also a couple of decent newer style pubs close by with O'neills' having some pretty good food. St. Pancreas Station is also close by for travelers going to other countries.
Directions: Fairly close to kingsCross/St. Pancreas station. Judd Street and Taviston. You will have to walk through an arched part of the building to get to the main door.
I stayed here for 5 nights in December in a private single room at 30 pounds a night. I wouldn't recommend it if you want a single room. If you go for a shared room it would be much cheaper and therefore value for money.
What I found was a significant deficiency is the unavailablity of any hot drinks during the night until 7 a.m. Not very pleasant when you are here in December.
Unique Quality: The very central location is its greatest asset. The high level of security is also reassuring.
Directions: Near Russell Square Underground station.
I recently stayed at the generator in london whilst on a politics trip. It was clean- the cleaners had their vacs out! and basic- everything you expect from a hostel.
The room we stayed in had 2 bunk beds which were clean and comfy. There was a sink in the room alongside lockers which were big enough to get a decent sized rucksack in. It wasn't noisy and it was easy to get to sleep. There were workers who guarded the door (so it made you feel safe that it wasn't a free for all!) and there was no curfew but after a certain time you have to use a different door so as not to disturb other guests. There is an 18+ age limit so you don't have any children running around and most of the people who were there were early 20's and backpackers travelling through.
Unique Quality: There was a communal eating area and various socialising areas. The workers were very lively and fun and did make the most of their own bodies to amuse!!!! The drinks are cheap for london and the people you meet are brilliant to talk to. The hostel is very central and I would certainly go there again. Also, the breakfast included was nice and plentiful.
I stayed in the Generator from Feb. 14-March 10, 2005, arriving from Paris.
A former police barricks, the Generator is large, cramped, overcrowded and noisy. How noisy you ask? I could hear the music in the bar on the 4th floor very clearly. Even with earplugs.
The rooms are outragiously cramped and gave me a couple anxiety attacks untill I adapted. The lighting in the rooms are horrible as well with a singe ceiling bulb for the entire room and no independant bed lamps.
The windows in the rooms are only single pained so you can hear all the traffic outside. The bathrooms are decent and cleaned daily but I found no real hot water in the showers which have a weak water pressure.
The breakfast is a free, all-you-can-eat before 8am when the kitchen is locked up.
The dinner is the hit-or-miss adventure that you have to pay extra for. I had a couple good meals but more often than not I had to go out and buy my own food from other places.
The staff are friendly and helpful for the most part, but watch out for the "Hardman" competition where they encourage you to overdrink and strip. (3 people (2 guys and 1 girl)from my Traveling Classroom group did the Hardman. One guy got his shirt off, the girl stripped to her bra and panties and the 2nd guy stripped naked (and won the competition)).
The laundry is affordable but the dryers are almost worthless with at least 3 times needed to get clothes "dry".
There is a luggage storage room for you to use. You need to get a key from the front desk because the door locks automatically after it is shut. I reccomend having a good, strong cable lock for your luggage in the luggage room though. The Generator isn't responsable for lost items and a lot of people just left their bags unlocked.
update post-Sep.2005: The "Chill-Out" room (main commens area) has gone through a make-over and is now filled with comfy looking beanbags, couches, chairs and a couple internet terminals.
Unique Quality: close to Russel Square and Kings Cross rail stations, elevator, good neighborhood, 15 min. walk from Oxford Street, 5 min. walk from British Museum. cheap drinks, nightly activities, movies at 4pm, internet, free internet booking on hostelbookers.com
Directions: From King’s Cross: Turn right out of station onto Euston Road. Walk 100 metres, take 2nd left which is Judd Street. Walk 150 metres to 2nd set of traffic lights and turn right onto Tavistock Place. Compton Place is 40 metres on your right off number 37.
When i came to london in June as a turist and to sort out my admission, I stayed at Generator, Its a great student hostel, at Tavistok Place, Heart of central london. You can get a bed andbreakfast for 20 pounds.If you check on google youll get ll the details for this place.
Its a super fun place. Full fo young travelers from all over the world. It has a bar and a disco theque. The bathrooms are clean though shared and readyly available. You can eat a meal here fro around 3 pounds. I would highly recommend this as a safe and fun place to stay and make friends.
generator also has a cheap taxi service to take you to stansted or Gatwik. You can buy basic toiletries and cheap phone cards in the in house shop.
another recommendation for stay is to check up the Good Enough College site and /or other college sites such as UCL and LSE, a lot of the dorms are either sub let or rented at all times and you could get a place for around the same price.
Unique Quality: great disco/bar
young residents and management
clean and safe
Directions: tavestok Place, Central London
I stayed at this hostel on 23 September 2004. It was recommended by my American friend. It was quite alright and well-organized.
The price was 15pounds per night including simple breakfast.
Unique Quality: Bar (Happy hours) and snack bar
Internet (1pound per 15 mintues)
Single gender shower rooms
Every room with password lock attached with the door
Locker room for backpackers and luaggues
Lift to every floor
A little scary entrance will get you to The Generator in London. Easy to find, and it doesn't matter at what time you get there, there is always a party running on. So, you better meet people there if you are travelling alone, on the contrary it can get a little bit boring. Most of the people there are groups, so it's difficult to enter into conversations with them, that is, unless you're a girl of course, lol.
I didn't spend much time in the hostel, though the couple of people I met there where pretty cool. Didn't spend much time with them though. I was mostly walking and photographing the city.
I wasn't much on to party in London so I didn't really liked the place. Besides, I had the bad luck to get an underlevel room where I could hear all the partying at bar and lounge. Bad luck I guess.
Unique Quality: You're always partying there, that would be the best quality of the place if that's what you looking for.
Really, I don't quite agree with all the negative vibes about the Generator on here so far. When you choose to stay in a hostel, you know it's not going to be like a hotel!
We went to the Generator because we're young and were looking to have a lot of contact with other people. Well, I can tell you you certainly will meet plenty of people!
When we arrived, we could store our bags in the bags room, which was only accessible to guests, so really, you just hope that people won't steal from each other. Not the safest option, so take your expensive stuff and valuables with you! When we checked in, we were placed in an 8 room dorm, which was only occupied by us 3 and three other guys.
Pretty comfy beds, and I had no trouble sleeping, as there was hardly any noise from the corridors.
For 16-19 pounds a night, it's certainly a good bang for your buck, and probably one of the cheapest places in London.
Unique Quality: Best part of the hostel is certainly the bar. We entered the place at about 10 and could make use of the 1 pound pints. Good stuff! Loads of games going on, with alcohol as prizes. Easy going people, loads of backpackers and a real mellow atmoshphere. We made a lot of friends in no time! When we left the joint at 1am it was getting more and more crowded.
The breakfast is nothing special, but you can get some cereals, toast and milk, the usual. If you pay a little extra you can get hot servings.
I stayed in the generator in November 2003. It is my favorite hotel/hostel in the world. It is seriously fun, an awesome place to meet people, a good price and its conveniently located to lots of cool things in London. Really fun, open-minded and friendly people stay at the Generator so if you want international penpals this is the place to get them. You eat breakfast( for free) in the bar every morning and its so fun to talk to people and decide what to do. The showers are a little schiesty, so bring flip flops.
The place is a good hostel, I won't lie. However, I don't agree with it's philosophy, and it's too large and impersonal. I'll describe the philosophy infra.
Unique Quality: The hostel is designed to keep you in it! It's always "three quid for this, or one quid beer" and "why not just have every meal here and drink here at night too." In fact, if you listened to the staff, you could come to London and actually never leave your hostel! It does bring in it's share of cute Spanish and French ladies to offset the overwhelming number of greasy males. But honestly people, when you are in London, you should NEVER be at the hostel. The city is too big and fun.
Directions: Go to Russel Sq. tube, and just ask people where Tavistock is. It's at the end of an alley.
Overall the Generator was ok. Basically, it was what it advertised; a huge, party - themed hostel that provides the basics.
The bathrooms were very clean, and huge so there usually wasn't a wait for a shower. The dorms were a little dirty though. It wasn't anything too major, I just never saw any staff clean the dorms during my four nights there.
The breakfast was simple, but free so I can't complain.
If I were going back to London, I think I would try another hostel, just to try something different.
Directions: It's near the Russell Square Underground station.
There is a lot to do and the location is just perfect. The only thing i thought was not so good are the enormous amount of groups (schools etc) and a lot of people younger then 16.
But overal a fun stay
Unique Quality: There is a great bar, e-mail facilities and a reasonable good restaurant for less then $6
Directions: Bloomsbury, a 15 minute stroll to picadilly circus, so it is really in the center
I may wind up being by myself for a few days in London and was thinking about staying in either St. Christopher's Village or the Generator Hostel. Can anyone tell me how these are for solo travelers?
I have stayed at the Generator hostel. Its basically a huge hostel with a good bar. Rooms are ok, showers are ok etc etc. The bar has cheap beer and only guest are allowed. Very friendly place which organizes pub crawls, walking tours, you can also book tours from the info desk. Overall a good hostel with a party atmosphere. It's in Kings Cross and is easy to get around London from. You can easily meet a lot of people here!
Haven't been to St Christophers.
Same here, been to Generator and not St Christophers. Agree with the above post great bar, good area for getting around London good transport from Kings Cross if you are wanting to go further afield, near the British Museum and a few half decent pubs in the area. Good secure lockers in the room just bring your own padlock.
I live in london so haven't needed to stay anywhere but I know Generator was thought highly of by someone I know. It is in a really excellent location with good transport links - you can get to Covent Garden, Soho, Camden, St Pauls, Oxford St really easily + you have the British Museum very near, as mentioned - Russell Square is a nice place to go for a coffeee in the park cafe there.
ive not stayed in the generator but have stayed in st christophers.
ive heard the generator 'goes off', ie-its a party hostel, and its huge!! so best not go if want a quiet night.
st christophers is similar as it has a pretty roudy bar too, i thought it was ok, good enough to meet people.
15 Montague Street, Bloomsbury, Covent Garden, London
1 Kensington Court, Kensington, London
41 Buckingham Palace Road, London
17-19 Egerton Terrace, Knightsbridge, London
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Address: 37 Tavistock Place, Russell Square, London, WC1H 9SE, United Kingdom