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“Fancy a bit of mould and no sleep?”

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Cowgate Tourist Hostel
Ranked #149 of 217 Specialty Lodging in Edinburgh
Reviewed February 27, 2009

Great place - if you don't mind mould, muck, no sleep and a rash. Stayed in the Cowgate hostel for one night - and never again. We (single mum and 2 kids) booked 6 weeks in advance, had written confirmation, but when I called the night before, they said they have no reservation. I should have left it with that, but I sorted it out. On arrival they promised to give us a mattress for the double - but we never got one, and in the end we had to move our 2 beds together, only to find big patches of mould on the walls. The bathrooms were a mess.

When I finally got to sleep at 3am because of people partying all night I only woke up one hour later by a couple of drunk girls screeching 'we are Americaans'. Next morning we tried to make breakfast in the kitchen, but empty vodka bottles, cigarettes and muck everywhere made us turn around instantly.

You might want to take a clean towel to cover your pillow, I developed a nasty rash around my eyes - I never had one before and I never had one since, so I still wonder where that came from...

  • Stayed: November 2008, traveled with family
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Thank bienchen66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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225 - 231 of 338 reviews

Reviewed January 8, 2009

Booked to stay here with a group of friends so we could celebrate hogmanay in Edinburgh. Booked a 6 bed private dorm in October. Arrived to find that due to a mistake on system our party had been split with 3 in a 6 bed dorm and 3 in a seperate 8 bed dorm. After having to argue ur case for over 30 mins we were told by the very rude australian receptionist that he couldnt move the other three guests (who were yet to check in) as they had "requested a 6 bed dorm" - well duh so had we. We were eventually told that we could wait till the other guests arrived and ask them ourselves if they'd mind going to the 8 bed dorm so that we could stay together. They were happy enough to move and we were all happy. However after returning from the street party at 2am we found our belongings had been moved from our beds to the floor and other took our place but we got into bed and waited on someone else arriving so we could explain that there'd obv been a double booking. At 3am 2 other girls turned up followed by another couple so the room had actually been TRIPLE booked. We all ended up having to bunk down 3 to a bed. 14 people in a 6 bed dorm??!?!?! We complained the next morning and in fairness the second chap we got on reception was nice enough but he couldnt contact the manager and he couldnt give us a refund. I left my details to be contacted by the manager and nothing. I've called on the hour every hour the last 2 days and still no answer. Will keep trying.

Other than the triple booking:

*I was told that I was to pay a 20% deposit on my card and pay the balance in cash upon arrival. Emptied my bank card to get cash to pay only to arrive and be told that the balance had been taken the previous day from my now empty card so also have bank charges now to deal with. Also they charged the full amount and didnt deduct the deposit.

*Rooms were cold and dirty - no heating working.

*Most uncomfortable beds ever - didnt even have step ladder on one set of bunks.

*Kitchen = disgusting.

*Bathrooms = even more disgusting.

*Staff = rude and one stole our cash.

All in all will make sure to tell all I meet never to go here. I am a frequent user of hostels worldwide and have never had such bad service - period!

  • Stayed: December 2008, traveled with friends
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1  Thank pj1987
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 3, 2009

I stayed here for Hogmany this year. The buliding is run down, cold, damp and dirty.
Our room did not have any heating with temperatures of minus 5 outside!
The mattress was sooo uncomfortable that sleeping on the floor may have been a better option if it was clean.
The shower was covered in mould and the smell was indescribable.
The outrages prices they charge to stay here for new years is incredibly cheeky at 70 pounds a night!!!
No matter how desperate you are for accomodation I wouldnt stay here, there are plenty of budget hotels in the city and although the location is pretty ok dont let that be the deciding factor as you will regret it.

  • Stayed: December 2008
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1  Thank Hyvaa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 15, 2008

I booked a private twin room for 24/05/08 through another online site that said that the Cowgate had availability. A week later I got an email from the Cowgate advising me that there had been an error, and that she had booked us into a dorm room instead. My friend did not want to share with others, so I said no thanks can I have my deposit back please. She replied that she would give us a 6-bed dorm for our exclusive use. Now I dont know about anyone else reading this, but this was for a bank holiday weekend, so I could not believe for a moment that the other 4 beds in the dorm would just lie there vacant. I didnt want us turning up at 11pm on the 24th to find that we had room-mates, so again I asked if I could cancel the booking and have my deposit back. By now I booked a twin room in Smart City Hostel. She then decided to ignore my emails repeatedy asking for my deposit back. On the 24/05/08, just as we were walking to Smart City Hostel, I got a phone call from the Cowgate asking what time we were arriving!!! As we were only down the road I went into the Cowgate and told the reception bloke that I had cancelled the booking weeks ago. I told him that I wanted the deposit money returned to my bank account ASAP.

Here I am, 4 emails later, and Mrs Ali has still not refunded me my deposit money.

HELLO, MRS ALI YOU NOW HAVE ANOTHER BAD REVIEW, DONT BE A CROOK, PAY UP!!!!

Stayed: May 2008
Thank lutonjez
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 24, 2008

We booked our stay here before reading the views. Once I'd read them I panicked. On arrival however, it turned out teh hostel was fine. I was in a room with 5 others, which overlooks a noisy bar. However it was only noisy on Saturday. The rest of the time I got a good night's sleep. The beds were ridiculously uncomfy of you slept on your back but if you rolled over the springs didnt matter! The only negative bit about the room other than that was that there was no where to hang clothes.

In our appartment there were about 20 of us sharing 2 bathrooms (which were clean) and a kitchen (which was also clean, if lacking in utensils). the location was fantastic , right next to the mile and a 5-10 min walk to the castle. also easy to get to from the airport (bus ride then 20min walk).

reception were also very helpful and there's free internet if you don't mind waiting.

so basically... dont go here if you're expecting luxury. probably best to go with lots of people you get on with. dont stay here if you want a romantic weekend for two.

  • Stayed: March 2008
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Thank Caroline S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 8, 2008

With a group of 5 men, we stayed in a room for 6. The room and the linen were clean enough. The bunk beds were a bit old, and mine was actually broken... The toilets and showers were much cleaner than in many hostels.
The location is good, within walking distance of all places of interest, and pubs and restaurants. The area in which the hostel is located is full of pubs and night clubs, so if you're unfortunate enough to have a room facing the street, you might not sleep before very late at night.
All in all, a good place to stay on a stag week-end in Edinburgh.

  • Stayed: April 2008, traveled with friends
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Thank eyyar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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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 #149 of 217 Specialty Lodging in Edinburgh
Price Range: $16 - $77 (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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