I found Base to be more of a "corporate" hostel, as opposed to offering helpful, flexible customer service. For example, during my three day stay, I asked if they loaned or rented alarm clocks out since mine had just broken two days before the end of my trip, and they offered to loan me one as long as I left my ID card (not a great option since I can't afford to have it misplaced or left) OR left $50 with them. Also not a terrific option. I ended up electing to just go buy one for $15 or $20.
Another example - the hostel advertises free airport transfers on their website, but they actually only offer free transfer TO the hostel from the airport. You're on your own for the return trip to the airport.
I stayed in the girls' Sanctuary on the top floor. It was blessedly far removed from the lobby, which turns into a full-on bar in the evenings. I don't think they allowed smoking inside the building, but it didn't matter since the sliding glass doors frequently open, allowing all the cigarette smoke being generated two feet from the entrance to drift inside constantly. I am not sure it would smell worse if they allowed smoking directly inside the lobby.
They also served alcohol and had bar games (pool, karaoke, etc) in the lobby at night. A proportion of the guests seemed to like this benefit, but I would rather have a quiet hotel lobby without the smoke. The lobby is where all the computers are situated. There are plenty of them, and they were fast. But it was rather unpleasant to use them amidst the smoke in the evening.
The Sanctuary rooms were okay - a little shabby given my expectations about the "sanctuary" but adequate. The first storage drawer I was going to use had something sticky and liquid spilled in it, so I switched drawers. There were 6 people/beds in my room and no personal lights at the bedside, so I was both on the 'turning the lights on to get ready for bed/ready for the day while everyone else was asleep' side of things AND the 'having the lights turned on while I was asleep at night/in the morning' side of things. Personal bedside lights would go a long way.
The bathroom was fine and clean, though since each room (with 6 girls) shared an attached bathroom (there were no communal baths in the halls that I could find), there was some coordinating to be done as far as schedules.
So that covers the rooms, the bathroom, the lobby, computers, front desk. There was also a tour-booking desk right in the lobby, which was convenient but also a bit corporate. I felt a little like I was hustled every time I interacted with the front desk/tour staff.
However - the big plus of this place was the location. It is not in downtown Melbourne, if that's important to you, but the tram ride into town was very quick and the trams ran often. I never waited more than 5 or 10 minutes for one to come (and that was when I was downtown coming back), and more often it was a 1-2 minute wait. But St. Kilda is adorable and charming. There are lots of small restaurants and bakeries, plus plenty of little shops. It's a true neighborhood, so there are lots of dogs walking on leashes too, if you're into animals like I am. Plus, you're close to the beach and the boardwalk, which is lovely.
I would definitely stay in St. Kilda again, but I do not recommend this hostel unless you're in college and into bars. Because that's basically the lobby scene after 5pm.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- BASE Backpackers St Kilda offers the best in high quality Budget St Kilda accommodation. With a range of small and large mix dorms, private Queen Rooms and the exclusive Girls only Sanctuary dorms, we have a room for all fun loving budget conscious travelers, we are the closest hostel in Melbourne to the iconic St Kilda Beach & have the PUMPING Red Eye Bar on site. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Base Backpackers Hotel St Kilda
- BASE Backpackers St Kilda Greater Melbourne