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“Was the worst hostel I ever stayed in”

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Cowgate Tourist Hostel
Ranked #143 of 218 Specialty Lodging in Edinburgh
Reviewed April 2, 2008

My friend and I stayed at the Cowsgate Hostel for 1 night on 23rd February 2008. It was my first trip to Edinburgh and I left wanting never to return. When we arrived we found out only a clean sheet is provided. We had to use pillowcases that were dirty (apparently they are changed once a week) and the duvet smelt awful. It was extremely unhygenic and never have I stayed in a hostel that does not provide full, clean linen for every person who checks in.

On the Saturday night at about 2am we were awoken by a large group of Irish men who proceeded to walk into our room as the lock was faulty. After finally getting them out of our room they wandered into their rooms where they continued to yell for the next hour until they (I assume) passed out. This was followed shortly after by another guest who didn't have a key so he spent the next hour trying to get through the door with his boot. After finally waking everyone up with his swearing and screaming he was let in to the floor but he didn't have a key to his room so unable to wake his mates (the ones I assume were passed out) he tried to get into our room. The lock held this time but he tried to get in for a good 15 minutes without any luck. Another occupant finally had a go at him and they argued for a while and finally roused someone in his room and he was off to bed.

Later that morning at 6am someone in a room further down the hall starting banging their beds against the wall (probably trying to get back at the noisy drunks who ensured no one got any sleep that night) for a good hour or so.

The next morning we complained at the front desk but as he was just the paid help there was nothing he could do. Can't really blame him for not caring. So we wrote a letter to Management on 29 Feb and still haven't heard a word back.

All in all the hostel was dirty, unsafe and way too expensive for what you get. I only wish we had read the reviews before we booked!

  • Stayed: February 2008, traveled with friends
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1  Thank MG01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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236 - 242 of 348 reviews

Reviewed March 2, 2008

Me and a female friend stayed for a week in this hostel at the end of the Edinburgh Festival. We had a good time over there. We stayed at a six people dorm which wasn't fully booked (I guess there were max. 4 people including us) a single night, and the room was situated at the right side of the building (at the back) so no noise from traffic and the famous Edinburgh nightlife. Staff was friendly, tea, coffee and internet for free (sometimes you had to wait long for a computer, but most of the times they weren't occupied), the bathrooms were quite clean and the shared kitchen well maintained and furnished. We met some friendly people as many backpackers and exchange students are staying there around that time (september). Location was really ideal! Right in the city centre. Okay, Cowgate is a rather dark, busy street (during the day a lot of traffic, in the night many people going out) but not unsafe at all. The longer you stay, the cheaper the nights get but as its within the UK, don't expect a very cheap stay. I stayed in lot's of hostels during the years but this one wasn't bad at all!

  • Stayed: September 2006, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Dutchstudent23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 4, 2008

We booked this hostel as a last resort for Hogmanay as every where else was fully booked! We paid up front £50 per person per night as on the website the hostel looks grand!! We were told we had a private room for 6 with an en-suite! When we turned up we were greeted by the smell of urine and were handed 6 bed sheets! The entrance to the room was eventful trying to get the door open and dodge the puddles of urine. Once entering you are overwhelmed by the red paint! Whilst trying to open the other door to the apartment we were greeted by two wide eyed girls saying “welcome to jail”. We then entered our room to find the door was broken, it smelt damp, there was no heating, White stains on the bed linen, saliva stains on the pillows and the curtains where falling down. Then to our shock we find out we are sharing a bathroom with 3 other rooms. We didn’t even bother staying 20 mins in there we feared for our safety and that is no exaggeration! We went to complain to the front desk where “Phil” the so called manager who thinks every one is a man! was very rude arrogant and no help what so ever! When we complained bout not having our own bathroom he laughed at us and said we booked though an agent named “John” however there was no “John” we booked through them directly! DO NOT STAY HERE IT’S A DIVE!!! There is a travel lodge 5 min walk down the road we paid half the price and every thing was ace! If any one finds John pls let him know we are looking for him!

  • Stayed: December 2007, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Ta2106
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PatriciaAli, Owner at Cowgate Tourist Hostel, responded to this reviewResponded January 19, 2008

With regards to this review posted on the 4th January i would like add the comments of the staff. We at the Cowgate pride ourselves in our customer care and satisfaction. This particular booking was made for a group of 12 females. Apon arrival at the hostel only 6 of the girls turned up and paid their bill and checked into the hostel. Minutes later they came back to reception shouting and swearing and demanding a full refund. They said the rooms were filthy and bedding dirty? Also stating that they had booked dorm rooms with en suite which we do not have any of? The Supervisor on duty that evening was Phil mentioned in the review and he took another member of staff to the room with the girls to check this. The room and beds were clean but even so we still offered to change all bedding in front of the girls but they were not happy with this. They continued to abuse the staff with their disgusting language which was not pleasant for our other guests. These girls wanted nothing other than a full refund and to leave the hostel but this was refused as at the time of their booking they were advised that no refunds would be given. Also with regards to the comment that they did not book with an agent named John, well indeed they did and we had the girls father on the phone to Phil at the hostel who stated that he did indeed book with John one of our booking agents and that the father had made the mistake that the room was en suite to which he apologised. This is simply due to the fact that the girls made a booking for 12 and only 6 turned up leaving the 6 girls to pay the total balance. As for their comments on urine and smell of damp and the girls statement of 'welcome to hell' well this is absolute nonsense. To add some light to this we had over the new year period 588 people in our hostel over 3 days and only this one such complaint. We have very friendly staff at the Cowgate and aim to please all our guests.

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Reviewed September 15, 2007

My husband and I booked a private double room here during the Int'l festival when accommodation near city centre was limited. Our room was tiny and there was no furniture in it other than the bed - not even a chair! Although the locks seemed secure enough, our room's door looked beaten up, like it had been kicked in several times before. Our window was old and would not close. The hostel is on a noisy street (Cowgate) and is directly across from a loud bar with an outdoor patio, open until 3 a.m.! So, if you were planning any early tours, forget about sleep! The shower in our unit was broken and did not have a door. We had to pay a couple of British Pounds for bath towels. The bathroom cleanliness was questionable and the shared kitchen was dirty and gross - I would not cook anything there. The fridge was leaky and full of molding food items. We left after the first night and found alternative accommodation at the Edinburgh University campus. It was a 10 minute walk to city centre but definitely gave us the peace of mind we needed after our experience with the Cowgate hostel.

  • Stayed: September 2007, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Mango25
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 5, 2007

if you intend on staying here bring your own bed linen cos the quilt covers & pillow cases are not clean and smell violently.! the place was disgusting! a smell of dampness everywhere you went. there was no window that opened in the room but an AC system than made more noise than the pub directly across the road.! the matress were so thin you could feel the bars underneath the bed.! while we were there some girl complained that she had got bitten while she slept and had come out in a rash from the dirty bed linen! the bathrooms were very unhygenic with blood in the showers! definitely would not advise anybody to stay there no matter what your budget your better off to pay the extra few pounds!!!

Stayed: September 2007
Thank sharneen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 23, 2007

Booked here out of desperation as coulnd't get a room at a low price anywhere else. Stayed in a twin room within an apartment sharing a bathroom and kitchen with another party. The bedroom wans't clean and the bathroom was filthy. Our room door didn't lock properly from the inside and at two in the morning the girls in the other group burst into our room - just drunk and obnoxious but obviously quite a shock to wake up like that! So secuirty isn't great. Furthermore, the hostel is almost opposite a busy pub. The noise was one thing; quite another was the constant flow of men coming accross the road to pee in the doorway to the hostel (we had side door access, not the main entrance). By the Saturday morning the lake of urine had risen up under the door and into the entrance hall. I'm no princess but at that point I was desperate to leave!

  • Stayed: August 2007, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Lupin2003
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 16, 2007

location tip top, the famous 5 took a 6 man dorm and did us fine. room got a bit smelly and the matress springs wanted to make their presence felt. overall it suited us fine. we put our trust in simon cbi and it paid off. toilets were loaded with toilet roll and kitchen looked fine, as far as i could see as i walked thro it in my skimpies to the shower. a wooo hooo, wahayyy

Stayed: April 2007
1  Thank haggisboy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Cowgate Tourist Hostel

Address: 96-112 Cowgate, Edinburgh EH1 1JN, Scotland
Location: United Kingdom > Scotland > Edinburgh > Old Town , Cowgate
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette
Hotel Style:
Ranked #143 of 218 Specialty Lodging in Edinburgh
Price Range: $19 - $81 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2 star — Cowgate Tourist Hostel 2*
Number of rooms: 168
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A hostel with a difference! Our 168 bed hostel contains 12 individually lockable apartments all fully fitted with their own toilet, shower rooms and kitchen/lounge including an oven, microwave, fridge freezer, toaster, plates, dishes, cutlery and cooking pots. An apartment sleeps between 8 and 22 people in a combination of 4 and 6 bed dorms and twin or double rooms. That's 12 fully fitted kitchens and 17 shower rooms with toilets plus 12 separate private toilets! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Cowgate Tourist Hotel Edinburgh
Cowgate Tourist Hostel Edinburgh, Scotland

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