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“really unconfortable”

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Smart Russell Square Hostel
Ranked #534 of 908 Specialty Lodging in London
Reviewed October 13, 2013

we spent some five days at this place. the beds were too small, the bads were too far away, the breakfast was really poor and all in all the situation was really unconfortable. only good point is the location, near the british museum

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Tourist G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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261 - 267 of 807 reviews

Reviewed October 6, 2013

I stayed in one of the larger dorms and since we arrived late, I had to sleep on top of a 3-bunk bed. Right underneath a large fluorescent bulb which blinded me every time someone entered the room and turned it on. The dorms and showers were mostly located underground in what looked like converted concrete cells. Much of the furniture in the common area was broken and the people at reception were unhelpful. They also charged you extra for absolutely everything - making this "smart" hostel not such a smart choice.
Would never recommend this hostel.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Brian P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 22, 2013

Photos of the hostel on the internet do not prepare you for what the hostel really looks like inside.
In September 2013 we stayed in the Smart Russell Square Hostel, a group of 36 school kids (aged 15-16) and 4 teachers. At first we were horrified at the low level of comfort in the rooms. Not a single chair, table or wardrobe. However, all the basics for a short stay are there: a (steel-frame) bed, mattress, duvet plus cover, and sheets. Just that, no more, no less. And a small sink with hot and cold water. There was no water coming from the tap during our stay but that was due to (unannounced) maintenance work carried out in the hostel.

Breakfast consists of toast, butter, jam from a big plastic bottle, cornflakes and milk. And tea of course; coffee as well though that was instant coffee and thus cannot be called coffee.
Staff puts great stock in peace and quiet for everyone. That’s why our party was subjected to a half-hour instruction on rules and regulations. Having taken notice of a system of three-strikes-you’re-out, we duly signed a contract and were given our keycards.
The kids, suitably impressed by the threats of instant eviction after three faux pas, inspected their rooms and at first were appalled by the Spartan interior and non-functioning electricity or water taps. However, the proximity of Oxford Street soon made them forget these minor inconveniences.

The common room, although too hot and stuffy, is a happy mix of different cultures. There were two TVs although one was removed some days later. Anything goes in the communal room; whereas food or drink is strictly prohibited upstairs (although we soon found that plenty of people broke that rule!), you can eat and drink and get drunk downstairs without restraint. This last behaviour was exhibited by a party of French, who subsequently started to interfere with our female students. It took some persuasion from us, teachers, to get them to leave our (much younger) kids alone, but it needed further complaints from us to hostel staff because the French students kept harassing our pupils even outside the communal room.
It was not clear what was actually done with these complaints. Staff on duty seemed rather confused at times and referred to the security guard or other staff.

Night wasn’t really restful for everybody, since the walls are paper-thin and the French students had a habit of coming home late at night, and, of course, having consumed some more alcohol, were without control over voice or step. Security is tight between 10 pm and 7 am; you have to show your keycard to the guard on entering the hotel. Apparently the state of drunkenness is not checked. More complaints were made and next day one party of French had left; whether or not this was due to our complaints, we couldn’t tell.

The hostel provides sweets and drinks from vending machines, so for basic provisions you don’t really need to go out the door. However, one of the machines (the one with the drinks) was out of order during our stay. You could get drinks from reception, but that was probably not common knowledge.

Peculiar about this hostel is that all showers are concentrated in the basement. If you are unlucky enough to stay on the top floor, you will have to go down and down again. The hostel is a maze of stairs, landings and rooms. Each floor has been crammed with small cabin-like rooms ; easy to lose your way if it were not for the notices everywhere. When you finally arrive in the basement, you find that there is one large communal dressing room and another large room with numerous, rather cramped, shower “cabins”. No comments here, except that there is only one little hook for hanging your belongings.

A final note on the checking-out procedure. We had to check out at 10 am, but needed to store our bags for an hour or so before pick-up by our bus. It was then that we learned that storage would cost us 3 pounds per bag. A bit of haggling brought the price down to one pound.

In short:
Plus: Excellent location, close to Oxford Street.
Minus: Spartan rooms, showers only in basement, rather limited breakfast, very noisy rooms, beds cramped for anyone over mid-size, bad maintenance, lack of privacy in showers.

Would not recommend this hostel – you are warned!

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled on business
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2  Thank NHeymans
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 16, 2013

What I was looking for was: a comfortable bed, a clean shower and a decent breakfast. I got all of that for £11 in central London, which is way more than I was expecting. The rooms might be a look a bit crowded, I was in a 9bed dorm with 3-tiers bunk beds, but the curtain is brilliant for extra privacy. It was great for one night and the staff was friendly. For a longer stay I would recommend it to younger people (let's say...late teens, early 20s).
Showers are in the basement and they're provided with lockers. To get there you have to walk through the living room or a maze of corridors, so think twice before heading out in towel and flipflop attire :)

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled solo
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1  Thank Rick_TravelLocal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 15, 2013

front desk staff were great! housekeeping not so much.. arrived in london after a 35 hour flight to be told i had to wait for the showers to be cleaned after I had already got undressed and was walked in on!
didnt get to try the breakfast, wifi was excellent. got what you paid for I guess.

  • Stayed: April 2013
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Thank m_wilson456
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 12, 2013

Fawlty Towers ran like a dream compared to this place. Do not stay here. Some reviews say you get what you pay for but ideally this hostel should be paying you to stay, it is that bad.

The staff are rude, lie and are incredibly lazy. We were greeted by someone named Moshin who asked to check all our passports, looked at one and then said it didn't really matter, not typing anything at this point. When we tried to pay, Moshin informed us that the card machine was broken and that there was a bank machine up the road which we would be able to use, which was fair enough. We returned 5 minutes later at which point Moshin informed us he'd no longer be able to check us in as they were in the middle of a shift change and that it would take them 15 minutes to count all the tills.....both of them.

The staff were in no great rush and after 20 minutes said we'd be able to check in again and requested all our passports again as they had nothing on file....cheers Moshin. It was at this point I asked if the card machine was working? To which the new member of staff said yes....cheers Moshin.

Room wasn't that clean, too hot, had no A/C, paper thin walls and the beds were tiny. Anytime the light in the communal bathroom came on it lit up the whole room. Sink in bedroom had an out of order sign on it.

Showers were an experience.... Not clean and to keep the water flowing you had to continually press the button as they wouldn't stay on otherwise.

After only staying one night we were greeted by our good friend Moshin again. We asked if we could purchase 30 mins of internet access before we went out sight seeing. He responded by saying that we could only buy an hour and they were all out of 30 minute tokens....cheers Moshin.

Room Tip: Please choose the room that is in another hostel
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  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Blakers2810
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 5, 2013

I stayed here with 3 friends for 6 days. We were in a mixed room with 10 other people, but they were all nice and did not disturb us, except for some snoring. The hostel is like a big student house, a bit smelly but everyone is nice, you get the chance to meet a lot of new people. The bathrooms were underground and with common showers, but they were kept very clean. The only bad thing was the kitchen, it was way too dirty because no one bothered to clean it, so I advise you to have breakfast elsewhere. Apart from this, the hostel's position is great, in a quiet neighborhood, very close to the city centre and the tube, there are a lot of groceries stores, banks and restaurants nearby, so you don't need to go far away to get what you need. The staff was very friendly and kind.

a piece of advice, don't bring a big luggage because there is no place for it in the rooms, except for very small drawers underneath the bed, which can only fit small luggages. if you have a big one, you'll have to put it in the store room and it's better to take out the things you need beforehand, otherwise you will have to go the store room everyday .
Also, if you come here it's best if you are with at least one friend, so they can guard your stuff when you shower

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Ismira93
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 #534 of 908 Specialty Lodging in London
Price Range: $16 - $138 (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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