I stayed overnight in a single, en-suite room whilst in Birmingham filming. I wanted the mod cons of a hotel (wifi, clean sheets, towels, private toilet/shower), but without the hotel price tag, noise and disturbances of staying in a dorm with a load of strangers. I had to be up at 5am to go on set, so I really just wanted a nice, clean, no frills, bed for the night. As far as hostels go, I'd say this was totally spot on, especially given my experiences of hostels when I was younger, in lots of different countries. It was definitely one of the best hostels I've stayed in.
Location: I followed the website directions fine, until I got the Queensway road, and from there spent over an hour walking around trying the find the place, a little unnerving given it was dark and I didn't know the area at all or how safe it was. I actually came close to the hostel twice, but the area looked like there would be nothing there, and the folks 100m away at businesses said there wasn't a hostel that they knew of. I'd actually come straight under the bridge on to Livery Street, without realising I was on the right street already. It was only when I came back that way that I spotted the street name. Essentially, the location is really easy, you just follow the viaduct(?) along Livery Street, down the hill, past the Snows Hill station entrance under the bridge and you are there.
Arrival: I was very impressed when I arrived, the guy on the desk was EXTREMELY professional, very friendly and genuine. I felt like I was checking into a hotel rather than a hostel. The decor was very nice, and I could see from the boards that the hostel had plenty of free and organised activities for visitors, as well as leaflets and all the things you might need if you had forgotten something. No fuss and no waiting around. Even when it was busy, you never felt like it was too much trouble. Instructions were really clear. No unnecessary paperwork or faffing around.
Room: I was quite surprised to find that the room had a swipe card (again, like a hotel), and though it was a little bit dark when I first entered (energy saving lightbulb) it quickly brightened up and I saw how great the room was. The bathroom looked wonderful, much more what I would expect of a hotel (the pictures I took don't do it justice), the bed was lovely and all made up, and even the towel was provided, some water and biscuits, and a bedside lamp. If they had paid a little more attention to the finer details on the paintwork around the door frame edges, etc, this could easily have been a high star room of a hotel. All that was missing was a kettle and tea and coffee, and since the wind was blowing outside, the room was a little drafty, but this settled once the wind stopped. To be expected in an old building, and a simple double glazed window would really bring this up to a posh hotel standard. The towel and bed linen was really nice, really clean, and very soft and warm, which I hadn't expected, so that was a nice surprise, there was a dispenser for soap and shampoo, plenty of nice quality toilet paper, and a really clean, white bath mat, and place to put your towels.
My only issue, was that when I went to have a shower at 4.30am, the water was freezing cold, and the shower was one of the reasons I had wanted an en suite (it was too cold for me to shower in, and I couldn't get warm water from the sink either). This may have been due to the time I tried to take a shower, or maybe I just couldn't work the shower properly. That was my only complaint of my stay. My only other slight complaint was that I knew there was unlimited tea and coffee, and I had expected this to be in the room, rather than upstairs in the cooking area. After a really long day, all I wanted to do was climb into my bed and drink tea. But to be fair, this was a hostel and there was no mention of tea being available in the room. If I was being really picky, the TV was also a bit tin sounding, but since I hadn't even expected there to be a TV, it was perfectly adequate.
Facilities: In my room I felt like I was staying in a wonderful hotel, so to leave my room, I was reminded that I was actually in a hostel, so there was the usual crowd of backpackers huddled in the kitchen and steam and bustle, much as you would expect. I was very impressed by the eating area in the roof next to the kitchen, and the folks sat around working on their computers looked like they were at home, not in a hostel, due to the great atmosphere and home from home feel. It was nice to see other communal areas around the place, like a quiet area for sitting and relaxing, a games room, and lounge. Had I not been in work mode and exhausted, it would have been a good place to meet others, especially if I was on holiday. There was plenty of crockery, and it was all in really good condition, clean, and practical. Nothing worse than drinking out of an old, chipped mug!
All in all, I was really impressed by the hostel, location, and set up, and I recommended it to two other people from the film crew who stayed the night after I did. I wouldn't hesitate to stay there again, but next time I would bring a travel kettle and tea bags so I really could sit in my room and just kick back after a day at work. That would make my next stay perfect!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located in Birmingham's historic Jewellery Quarter & just minutes from the NIA and city centre, we've kept in tone with our surroundings by ensuring that our accommodation is the blingest in town!Hatters Birmingham Voted No.1 in England 2012 by Hostelworld customers!!Hatters Birmingham awarded No. 1 by Enjoy England 2011!!Hatters Hostels voted Best Hostel Chain in the UK & 2nd Best worldwide for 2008 by Hostelworld customers!!! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hatters Hostel -Birmingham Hotel Birmingham