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“Awful awful awful hostel!”

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Cowgate Tourist Hostel
Ranked #141 of 217 Specialty Lodging in Edinburgh
Reviewed April 30, 2013

The quality of this hostel is unacceptable. I stayed in early April and the disgust I still feel for this hostel has driven me to write this review and warn people away from staying there. I have frequented a number of hostels throughout Europe and this is the worst i have seen. Deepest darkest Romania can do hostels better than Cowgate.

If you fancy cooking here, don't. I thought they had shipped the pans in from 'How Clean Is Your House' but without Kim and Aggie. The bedding would have been fantastic had I been in a 5-star hotel, but I wasn't, I was at Cowgate, it was terrible.

I am not sufficiently verbose to express my disgust at this accommodation any further.

NOTE: Edinburgh is a fantastic city, do not let this hostel put you off, just stay elsewhere!

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank MattyBoy797
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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168 - 174 of 345 reviews

Reviewed April 28, 2013

I went to Edinburgh on an educational visit with a group of teens and two of their teachers, so the idea of being able to rent dorms in a hostel which were collected together in a private apartment seemed perfect. And that bit of the experience was. I'd also like to mention Alberto and George who were on the reception desk at various times during our stay and who were helpful, kind and thoughtful. The rooms/apartment, well... When I walked into our apartment my first reaction was an overwhelming feeling to break down in tears. Plaster and wallpaper peeling off the walls, dark black patches of damp in the shower rooms, chunks out of the walls. Dirty sticky marks on the window sills, dirty glasses in the sink with lumps of suspicious-looking food debris blocking the plughole. The bin in the kitchen was half-full. The dining room table had a cracked and peeling surface and wobbled so much it made me feel seasick. The toilets were dirty (and I mean DIRTY) and there were hairs and dead skin in the showers. Alberto offered to send up a cleaner for me, but it seemed that the cleaners had already done their best and it wasn't really up to the mark, so I bought myself some cleaning products and marigolds and bleached and disinfected before my group came back from a shopping trip.
This hostel is in a great location, it has fantastic potential, but nobody in the management appears to care about it or take any interest in it. 10 years ago it was probably a brilliant place to stay but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone now.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled on business
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Thank Buongustaioooooooo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 17, 2013

I've been to Edinburgh enough times to consider it my second home. I visited Cowgate Hostel in August 2008, during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I would be hosted by friends until a specific date, so I needed to stay a couple of days in a hostel. So I had booked my room several months before arriving to town. I saw on the internet that there was no booking from other people in a specific room, so I would be by myself (although it was a dormitory). When I arrived there, the staff was friendly and willing to help me out. The second day of my stay a group of tourists arrived and I was asked if I was willing to exchange my room and move to another, smaller one. It was fine with me, so I was happy to do so.

But here comes the big problem.When I arrived late at night and tried to unlock the outdoor, it would not open. The key would stack and it was impossible for me to open the door. There was nobody at the reception, so I had to call some guy from the staff to help me out. Nobody answered my calls. I was desperate and alone at 2 am, with no money left on me, since my wallet was locked into my room with the rest of my luggage, so I had to ask some local friends to host me for the night. I had to walk from cowgate to the other side of the town, for more than an hour. In the morning I asked to talk to the manager, in order to ask for a refund. The manager was missing, only to be found a few hours later, on his cell phone. He spoke with the receptionist -not with me- and the answer was that they wouldn't refund me, although it was their fault that I had to spend the night elsewhere. The guy from the staff wasn't polite anymore, he almost raised his voice immediately when I said I'd go to the police. Anyway, this was the worst nightmare ever....

Other "lovely" info regarding this hell of a place:

-it was dirty and smelly. I had to buy dettol to clean the wc and the tab

-the blankets and the sheets I was given didn't seem to be clean. Actually, the blanket had a touch of naphthalin smell. I had to use my sleeping bag.

-The only good things about this place were:

1) the location
2) it had a boiler, so we could make coffee
3) there was free wi-fi (but so many people who'd pile over your head to wait for their turn, some of them weren't even customers)

Room Tip: You'd better find yourself another place to stay
See more room tips
  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled solo
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1  Thank McKook
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 13, 2013

If you want to visit Edinburgh for one week or a couple of days, don't go on this Hostel. I didn't know the meaning of hostel which means that's for student especially. By the way the cleanliness was horrible. I could look at under my bed and there were around 2 cm of dust. The staff didn't clean that at least 1 months ago. Happiness our sheets were clean. I remember we had to share our bedroom with others people especially girl. The price was really approachable but not for this statut. We had 1 bathroom in common for more than 12 people. Two toilets whose one was totally blocked. The next day the WC was repaired but the pump didn't work as well. The bathroom Oh My God, we could close that but we had to be strong if nobody want to go in. We had no heating in our bedroom (didn't work). I was wondering how people could be hot inside. Anyway I was really really disappointed about this accomodation and never I am going to be back on this kind of room.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank lemarseillais13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 3, 2013

I spent one night with friends. The Hostel had lost the key of the room so we had to leave our room unlocked, the restrooms were smelly and unclean. The location was great and for the price we paid I cant complain. The person who attended us upon arrival was nice and cared for our needs.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Bill_Reig
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 31, 2012

We stayed there with a couole of friends expecting nothing more than a clean place to drop off our and come back later for a "normal" night of sleep. We were devastated to find our rooms to be nothing more than a ruin with weird and strange people being all over the house. The ceiling in the bathroom had fallen into the shower and left Big hole with electric wires hanging out - no good at all, especially not in a room in which water is supposed to be used. Found myself walking the streets of Edinburgh in the early morning hours at dawn desperate to find suitable accommodation for me and my friends, which I was lucky enough to find at SMART a bit down the road. We got our deposit back after we had threatened to call the police as we really felt betrayed.
Please, dont ruin your stay in this beautiful city by staying in this "place".

  • Stayed: November 2011
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Thank neithernor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 30, 2012

I stayed here for a week when I was moving to Edinburgh. I loved the location, walking distance to all the main attractions. Clubs and pubs all around and friendly people at reception. The rooms are cool and split up into individual apartments that I found interesting. The problem I had with this place is when I woke up late one day and saw the maid febreezing the beds instead of changing the sheets, yuck.

Room Tip: Ask for new sheets!
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  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled solo
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Thank MelanieJA
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 #141 of 217 Specialty Lodging in Edinburgh
Price Range: $15 - $79 (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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