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“Terrible experience”

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Smart Russell Square Hostel
Ranked #530 of 895 Specialty Lodging in London
Reviewed June 5, 2013

The hostel is centrally located, clean and pretty tidy for the money. However, I spent an absolutely terrible night there after 3 people were allowed into my 4 bed dorm - they had no luggage and had clearly just come in off the street at 4am. Thirty minutes later, the police were hammering on the door as one of them had been reported a missing person. Once the police had left, they were snorting cocaine off the handbasin next to my bed.

I realise that the hostel cannot entirely be blamed for their behaviour, but when at 5am I dragged all my stuff downstairs to ask to switch rooms, the staff were pretty unconcerned and didn't seem to understand why I was upset - it's not like anyone had been arrested! They allocated me a new room, but really there was very little apology for the fact that I was woken up by the police and a bunch of druggies in the early hours of the morning. This was my first experience of staying in a hostel alone and considering how insecure it made me feel, it will probably be my last.

Oh, and after all that, burnt toast set the fire alarm off at 7am.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled solo
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Thank amymi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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276 - 282 of 798 reviews

Reviewed May 26, 2013

I'm not sure why there are so many complaints about this place - it's £10-14/night - what do people expect?!
For what it provides, it's great value, and an excellent location. The beds are ok, reasonably comfortable actually! The pillows are a bit flat, and there are no spares, but it's cheap - I should have just brought my own!
I used the showers in the evening, and found there was lots of hot water, and they were very clean. Some of them need the push button to be held in all the time, but if it's quiet, it's easy enough to find one that doesn't.
The communal areas were welcoming and comfortable, with a good mix of sofas and table seating.
I stayed in an 18-bed dorm room - the only accommodation available as I booked so late. I was wary as people had posted about the temperature and lack of space, but I didn't find this a problem at all. I'm generally too hot when sleeping, but the room wasn't uncomfortable at all. Space was sufficient for all of us to keep our bags on the floor, and still have plenty of space to move about.
I'd definitely stay here again; though would probably try to book earlier and opt for a smaller room - less people to be disturbed by!

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled solo
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2  Thank ne324bh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 20, 2013

It's just great if you don't want to spend a lot of money and be in the centre of London at the same time.
I found the staff there very friendly and even though they were clearly not British, they were very helpful and could speak English very well.
The place is clean and it's really the youth hostel atmosphere. Many students, young couples, and also weird crazy people who seem to actually live there.
There is a creepy old african guy who practically never leaves the meeting room pretending to read newspaper, walking around aimlessly. He sat next to us one evening and spoke to us for like 2 hours about Africa :D
Otherwise, the beds are comfy and there are curtains for a bit of privacy.
There are 3 beds on top of each others and the most elevated one is actually quite dangerous. Two people in our room fell on the floor and one of them were about 40 years old.
The rooms are very hot, it can become quite suffocating sometimes during the night.
The building is a real maze, you get lost all the time... There are doors everywhere often leading to the same spots.
What I really disliked is the fact that there is no place to put your stuff in, all the bags and luggage lie on the floor and the rooms are very small so when you're 9 in one room it can be very very messy....
The worst were the showers. There are like 40 cabins but no doors, only plastic curtains and there are all next to one another. The room is always super wet, with like only 2 tiny mirrors! It's awful, because there is no place where you can dress privately, you must do it in the shower cabin which is totally soaked after you take your shower :D
And it has to be said that the showers are in the basement, so if your room is on the third floor, you have to go down 3 floors, cross the kitchen and meeting room and reception which are always teeming with people and then go down the stairs again to the basement to reach the showers. So it's not like you could leave the shower room with only wearing a bath towel to reach your room :D
Well anyway, it's not dirty, it's not horrible, there is Russell Square Station just next to the hostel + bus stations + pubs + restaurants and shops so very very good location. Beds are quite good, it's just that i like to take a good shower when I walked all day and visited all the city.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Natacha D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 16, 2013

I stayed on and off for seven months from October 2012 and i feel i have seen it from all angles. Its cheap but only because they pack lots of people in tiny rooms, in a building which is frankly falling apart, for example one night the roof of our dorm sprang a leak. Also the long term residents are horrible, one cranky african guy treats everyone bad and another middle eastern guy got thrown out for basically preying on lots of underage girls. I know hostels, but this place is terrible!

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled solo
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Thank Richard C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 14, 2013 via mobile

Some nice things and some not so nice.
I went during the Olympics and it was , as espected, pretty crowded but nice. The staff tried as best as they could to keep calm and friendly, but do try to check in later and not in the morning when people are checking out, they don't stay too friendly at that time. ..it's kind of crazy.
I ended up staying a couple of days less than planned (endet at a friend's) and the staff was really nice and helpful and i gotmy money back without drama.
The thing I definitely didn't like and main reason why i wouldn't go back is that the showers are way done in the basement and the water is too hot for my taste and you can't regulate it. The room was also too hot and you can't open the windows much.
It wasn't bad but not my kind of place. ..i think I'm too old for that! !

  • Stayed: August 2012
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1  Thank negriviris
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 1, 2013

I stayed here in April for 4 nights, the staff are not english so they ony speak limited english and are not that friendly, they more or less want to check you in and thats it. Check in is very slow, so be prepared to wait sometime to get checked in.

The rooms are decent enough, the bed is comfy and sort of clean, there were only 2 power sockets in the room. The showers are right down the bottom in the basement and only shot out 5 seconds of water but they were hot. The rest of the hostel was clean.

5 minutes walk to the underground station and there are some good pubs around the area.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled solo
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Thank milanovictraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 28, 2013

London is expensive so there's not much going for such a low price that's well located like this hostel. Stayed here in April for two nights in a 14-bed dorm for 15 euros per night. I didn't want to spend all my money on a place that I wouldn't spend much time in so this suited me fine.
The hostel is located around the corner from Russell tube station and is walking distance from Soho and a little bit further for major tourist attractions. The location is it's best asset.

Staff don't really have much personality - they're just in to check you in and out and it's not one of those cosy everyone knows each other kind of places. It's a big hostel; when I was there there were big school groups and the travelers were there really to do their own thing or people were using it as a cheap base while they were looking for jobs and setting themselves up in London. So perhaps if you're looking for company this isn't the best choice.

The facilities suit the low price. Don't expect luxury - it's far from it. The showers are in the basement and from your dorm room you'll have to walk through all the common areas to get there. And once you're there expect something that is like a gym shower area - shower blocks with a 5-second shower spray, and it kinda smells a bit funky. At least the water is hot. When I was there both hairdryers were broken.

The dorm room was big enough - each bed has a locker at the bottom that costs 1.50 GBP per day for rental. They are pretty small so you can pretty much only fit in as much as you're able to carry on a plane as hand luggage. Each bed has a curtain that you can pull across for privacy. My room only had two power outlets near the front door, so you won't really be able to charge your things in the room. The beds are pretty short, but the mattress was comfortable and the pillow and doona were better than normal hostel quality. Sheets are included in the price. One bad thing about the dorm was that it was really hot.

The kitchen is well equipped and the common area is large and there are quite a few power outlets. There is also a separate computer area. They provide breakfast of white bread, cornflakes and tea. They also sell travel size toiletries and travel adapters in case you forget your own. There is a 10 GBP deposit that you get back when you check out.

If I had more money to spend I would opt for another hostel with more character and that is more comfortable. But as I only wanted to spend the least possible and still be located in the centre, this was a good choice for me.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled solo
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Thank NoMapNoWorries
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Smart Russell Square Hostel

Address: 71-72 Guilford Street, London WC1N 1DF, England
Location: United Kingdom > England > London > Bloomsbury
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi )
Hotel Style:
Ranked #530 of 895 Specialty Lodging in London
Price Range: $15 - $95 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2 star — Smart Russell Square Hostel 2*
Number of rooms: 60
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This hostel is in the heart of London, a 10-minute walk from King's Cross Railway Station and the British Library. It provides budget accommodation with free WiFi access throughout. The Smart Hostel Russell Square offers beds in mixed-sex dorms. Linen is provided and security lockers are available in all rooms. Shared and en-suite facilities are available depending on room type. Reception is open 24 hours a day, and there are no curfews or lock-out times. Guests can receive tourist information and discount tickets for major attractions. The hostel's common room features a large TV, and some shared kitchen facilities are available. Self-service laundry facilities and an internet cafe are also offered on site. Russell Square Underground Station is 252 yrd away. The Foundling Museum, Islington Farmers Market and University College London are all within 10 minutes' walk. Camden is a great choice for travellers interested in Theatre, Museums and Culture. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Smart Russell Square Hotel London
Smart Russell Square Hostel London, England

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