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“Great location in London”

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Surprise Backpackers
Ranked #591 of 908 Speciality Lodging in London
Reviewed 3 September 2013

I stayed here for one night in June by myself. I chose it for its location to Victoria Station, as I was getting a train in from Paris to Kings Cross Int'l and it was easy to get from there to Victoria, and then walk to the hostel.

Check in is at the back door. The guy who greeted me was super friendly and got me settled in pretty quickly. I was in a shared room of about 6 people, and it was a little untidy from others staying there, but that didn't bother me.

The rooms had decent sized lockers, so I was able to lock up my valuables while I went out into the city.

I found the bed pretty comfortable, no complaints there. I was lucky to get the bottom bunk, which I wanted as I was going to be leaving early in the morning.

I really appreciated that they had free maps for London!

Overall, a cheap hostel, and I was happy so I'd probably stay again.

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled solo
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1  Thank bellamh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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23 - 29 of 78 reviews

Reviewed 30 August 2013

I don't bother reviewing many hostels but the Surprise was so bad that it deserves a mention. Yes It's cheap and some of the the staff were ok (not one of the managers) but... Quick list.
Cold showers
Triple high bunks
Blood on toilet wall for two days
Unappetising guests.

London has some terrible hostels (some of the worst in the world by my reckoning) but that's no excuse to fit in. We later went to the dictionary and loved it.

Stayed: August 2013, travelled with friends
Thank Alex S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 August 2013

IT HAS BED BUGS on checking in the first thing i did was check for the biters and found dead ones. I got my stuff together and sat in the kitchen all night i did not sleep and didnt really want to step back into a room infested with bugs and was not clean at all but i had to get the damp bedding they give me to get my deposit back when really i should of been getting all my money back. On sitting up awake all night in the kitchen i saw a mouse, i did complain on first thing check out and there response is its london! Staff plead ignorance with bed bugs saying they can never see them The evidence is all over peoples bodies. With the amount of money i say this place makes im sure they can afford to DEAL with the problem and maybe hire cleaners to clean the dorms out once in a while. ABSOLUTELY disgusting!!!

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled solo
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2  Thank kim t
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 July 2013

This hostel was easy to find and very convenient to everything we wanted to see and do in London. Reading the other reviews, I can see how people would be turned off. The beds were 3 tier bunks and they were pretty loud, but the bathrooms weren't super gross. There are three showers and three toilets and we never had to wait for either. The showers were nice and had enough room to put clothing up where it can stay dry. The bar downstairs was full of locals and the wifi access worked well in the bar. If you don't want to sit in the bar with the locals, you'll have to access the wifi from the stairs.

Stayed: July 2013
1  Thank AB B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 July 2013

The only good things about this place were the staff was relatively friendly and the location is perfect right near Victoria Station. However, everything else was terrible. The beds were loud and made noises with every move you made. I felt like it was going break right underneath me. They mattresses were tattered and stained. There were rats in the kitchen which made eating there obsolete. There is wireless but what they don't tell you is it only works downstairs (which is a bar). The bathrooms were not the cleanest I've seen. It was hard to find actually because the entrance is a hidden tiny door on the side of the building and no more than one or two people can enter at a time since the reception area is the size of a bathroom stall! To be honest I stayed away from the hostel as much as I could. Nothing like living on the edge when traveling. I DO NOT RECOMMEND!

Room Tip: Not the top floor and not the top bunk!
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  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled solo
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Thank Chelsea F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 July 2013

While many people are writing saying this isn't so bad for the price you pay, trust me...it definitely is not worth what you pay, at least in my opinion..It is pretty conveniently located to the Victoria and Pimlico tube stations, Pimlico is a bit closer if you have heavy luggage. The street floor is a pub which is nice if you don't want to venture too far for a drink. When checking in, it can get hectic, as there is no proper lobby. It's just a small space that can fit 3-4 people if you're lucky.

The best part of this hostel? The VERY accommodating staff! They were extremely helpful and friendly, and I almost felt bad that they worked there because this hostel gets a poor review from me, even though they were so nice. They took the time to explain things about the hostel and when I saw one of the girls outside, she answered some questions that we had. The stairs up to the rooms are bad if you have big luggage, but there is a room to store it if you need to. I didn't need to use it so I don't know if it's big or not.

Bathrooms were pretty gross. Toilets themselves had enough toilet paper and were not that dirty, it was the showers that got me! Water everywhere and the stalls were not clean. I found one (stall closest to the doorway) that had perfect water and hooks for your things. No paper towels for drying hands, so you had to use toilet paper for it. Definitely a few slipping hazards with the water everywhere!

I stayed in the Turquoise room, and it wouldn't have been so bad if it weren't for the triple bunk beds!! They are the worst thing I have ever slept on! The staff hands you your own bedding to put on, and the pillows and duvets that you have to use are dirty. There was hair everywhere, the pillows were extremely flat, and the lockers and floors were just not clean. I know it's a hostel and not a hotel, but I honestly had to ask myself what I was paying for because it's as if nobody cleans the place or does anything worth paying for. Wi-fi did work for me, but I'm not sure if that's because I got lucky or my room just wasn't on such a high floor.

I didn't take advantage of the breakfast, as I was too tired each morning to move off my high bunk, but my friend did and she said it was decent. There were often lines for the shower, so get there early or shower the night before. As I stayed here in July, it was SO hot in the hostel!!! If you can plan your trip early enough, either save for a better hostel (I enjoyed the Astor Victoria over this, and even that one I didn't give the best review on) or even a hotel that might have some AC.

I suppose for London some may say this is a good deal...but I couldn't wait until my trip was over. After walking around London all day and just wanting a place to relax, this was not the place to do so in! There weren't even any chairs in the rooms so the people on the 2nd and 3rd bunks could only sit on the dirty floor.

If any staff reads this: please get a better cleaner and invest in some better bedding for your travelers...everyone is too nice and would get really great reviews if you just put some more money into the things that you do have control over...

Room Tip: You don't get to choose your room as far as I know, but try to get there early so that you have...
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  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank Chelsey L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 July 2013

www.surprisebackpackers.co.uk

I chose this hostel because it was within walking distance of Victoria (16 mins) as I just needed a one night stop over. The location is good with respect to convenience. Victoria is a transportation hub as it is the stopping place of trains and national coach networks, and lcation of the passport office, hence a higher price for accommodation. You could walk back to the hostel after watching a show at the victoria palace or Apollo Victoria theatres.

The Thames (and Tate Britain) are 7 min walk away from the hostel and the you can walk along the river to many of the typical tourist sites like Houses of Parliament, London eye, Tate modern etc etc - if you like walking.

The hostel is expensive for what you get (over £30) per bed in a room with triple bunks. I am 5'3" and could not sit up when on the bottom bunk. There is no other sitting place in the room, which contains only a fire extinguisher, bin, and small lockers. Bring your own padlock - can buy from reception - my suitcase padlock was too small to fit around.

There is free wifi though the signal can be weak in the room so I had to stand in the corridor and saw others sat on the stairs. There is communal unisex showers and toilets that are shared by several floors. Showers have cubicle and space that you can get dressed. Signs for the kitchen and common Room lead you downstairs and out on the street before leading back into the bar of he pub downstairs. This is ideal for those who want to mix with other travelers and locals in a pub setting, though ay not suit all. There is noise from the pub below until closing time so you may not want a room on the first floor. Thre are narrow stairs with no lifts...typical of a traditional building.

Staff member I dealt with while checking in was polite, professional and helpful. There is a separate entrance from the bar and you ring a bell to bring someone through from the bar. An electronic key card opens dorm room and outside door so there is no curfew. You are given your bedding on checkin so you make your own bed...linen was clean, though you may notice duvets etc are a bit grubby. This would probably be the same in other places if you had to make the beds yourself. Was asked if I needed a towel and given one free of charge.

Cleanliness was not perfect, paint work was grubby in places and floor a bit dusty...nothing that would put me off staying. Toilet and shower facilities were clean.

I would recommend tis hostel only for people who just want a bed to stay in, in that specific location and are not planning on staying in the hostel much. You can get cheaper and nicer places elsewhere so think carefully what is important to you.

Read my review of St James backpackers in London, which has great facilities and where the cost of 2 dorm beds here can get you a private ensuite room there.

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled solo
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Thank bookowl1000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Surprise Backpackers

Address: 110 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London SW1V 2RQ, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > London > Pimlico , Victoria
Hotel Style:
Ranked #591 of 908 Speciality Lodging in London
Number of rooms: 10

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