I booked this hostel as a last minute deal via one of the big booking web providers. Having spent almost a day looking at flights and accommodation I know value all the time spent in finding this place.
Naturally I read all the comments left by other fellow travellers to get a feel of a place, and I guess you can generalise in some way. I was impressed by the consistent good reviews that I have read. It was a combination of a consistent message left by others and also the name that sealed the deal for me. St Christopher is not only the patient saint of travellers but also of a very beloved family member.
The only negativity I have read, and I also have experienced, was the noise from a neighbouring street at the early hours in the morning. However, this was something I was more than happy to accept because of the proximity of the hostel to the centre of Amsterdam. Well, it is in the centre. You also have to remember that this is a short stay/visit to Amsterdam, and not as if you are going to buy a place and live in it long term.
I arrived early to Amsterdam and in time for breakfast. The first mistake I made was to use a locker at the Amsterdam train station to leave my luggage. This was at a cost of 7.95 Euros. I had no idea that St Christopher’s had lockers. I used one when I left to leave my luggage after I checked out for the day before catching my flight. There you only pay 0.40 Euros an hour or 2.00 Euros for the day.
My advice is to head straight to the hostel and use the lockers if you need to. It is not just the cost but the convenience too. Oh, and there is plenty of lockers, I mean plenty – several rooms, sky high, different sizes and using the state of the art technology too.
I tried to cheekily check in about 30 minutes early. The staff’s attitude was first class. They check me in. Were unable to allocate a room for me as yet, but gave me my vouchers so that I can use them in the bar facilities. They even remembered that I had special sleeping requirements and they acknowledged these with pleasure. Ah, what a joy to get customer services that actually gives you what you want and with genuine pleasure.
The vouchers were excellent. I used these before I was allocated my room, during my stay, and after I check out until I left Amsterdam, and thank you St Christopher’s for the food was great and the bear was excellent. I opted for the Cheese Burger and ‘boy o boy’ you can really taste the meat. I am not a vegetarian but I do sometimes have the ‘vegi’ meals, and the ones there looked great, but nothing was going to woe me away from another proper burger.
On the topic of food, the breakfast is the best I have had at a hostel and certainly in Amsterdam, and this was my fifth visit to this great city. Plenty of food, great quality and no one objects or look at how much you take. If you are like me and you sometimes that I’d rather have a lye-in instead of getting up for a bit of toast and jam, you will be very much mistaken.
The room was large, clean and I had one of the eight bunk beds. It had separate shower and toilet, and that meant that one facility could not be sacrificed by the use of the other. We even had an additional sink in the room. The facilities we clean, modern and worked. No complaints there.
As for sharing with people, I was a little unsure at the start because of my age. I thought that these hostels were simply for the younger person but I would like it be known that not only did I see several people of a similar age group to myself, but also the staff treated me well as per any other all guests. Even some of the staff was of a similar age group to me and that put me at ease a little. We all got on well in the shared room and I guess people are people in the end of the day.
I would recommend that you take with you a travel lock for everybody gets a large chest under the bunk bed, the size of exactly half a bed, and certainly plenty to store all your travelling bags, except for one lady in my room who could not find it, and it beats me how you could miss it, but decided to display her luggage and it content right in the middle of the room, resembling a wild west wagon camp site awaiting igniting!
The security there was impressive. You are always greeted in and out past the reception desk. On Saturday night they employ security at the front of the hostel to control customers in and out of the hostels bar. I was also challenged at the reception desk as to my movement whilst making my way to room. I welcomed this and it added a certain comfort to know that security does go on and not just by name.
In summary, the hostel is not only welcoming, comfortable, clean, warm, but seem to show experience and understanding to cater for all situations from pre-stay to post-stay. I even recall a message by a passing bar member of staff, whom by the way did not take my food order, assuring me that they have not forgotten my order and that it was on its way. I have been to Amsterdam now for five times, and certainly if for a sixth time, I too shall be on my way there.