Staying in a hostel for the night, when I live in the same city? … yep, guilty. But I recently stay at Clink 78 with good reason.
So to a couple of weeks ago, where I had a party to attend out in the northern regions of zone 5. As I live in zone 6, you may not think this an issue, but I am west zone 6 and so first would have to travel into central London, and then back out again to north zone 5, a 1.5 hour journey each way, and a journey that would see me have to leave the party early if I were to make it home before the trains stop. I’m sorry, but where there is beer pong and a bouncy castle, there is no way I’m leaving early, that would be silly. Hmm, what to do? Easy … stay in a hostel!
So to Clink 78 in the heart of London for a night, which as the website describes as ‘set in a beautiful 200 year-old courthouse that mixes elegant Victorian architecture with modern interior design‘. That description if not far wrong!
Here are my thoughts on my night in Clink78.
From the outside Clink 78 doesn’t look like you’re everyday hostel, but that is no bad thing, in fact I very much like the building which houses Clink 78, it has character, and history, interesting qualities that set it apart from other hostels I’ve stayed in. The dreamer in me wanted to believe in secrets hidden behind its historic walls.
Walking up those front steps and buzzing into the reception area I loved that the original floor mosaic depicting the Metropolitan Police emblem is still in place, and hard to miss as you step foot through the front doors.
Checking in @ Clink 78
So to check-in which was relatively painless. Using a form of photo ID, I was checked-in in mere minutes and given my room key-card, along with a handy map and a schedule for Clash Bar – the hostels lively basement bar. From there I made my way through a security door and upstairs to my room. It was all rather easy.
The Clink 78 beds/rooms
So to my room, room 201. It was easy to find owing to a whole host of sign posts located at every staircase – essential considering the size of Clink 78 and its 500 sleeping spaces.
201A was my bed, a top bunk, not my preference but in truth the bed was extremely comfortable. The 12 bed dorm set up of room 201 utilised the size of the room well, but didn’t lend itself to an overly social room atmosphere. The beds were lined up parallel to one another, therefore creating what looked and felt like a series of sleeping pods rather than bunk beds.
The room was also lacking in space a bit for my backpack, but luckily I was travelling light and so I was able to sleep with my bag in my bunk. There was a locker for my valuables, but it required a padlock, which I did not have. A note on the booking form telling you to bring a padlock wouldn’t go a miss here. Lastly I would have liked a few pegs to hang wet towels on, as the room did not have these my roommates were just hanging their towels off the end of their bunks. However I believe there are such pegs in other rooms, so maybe those are a work in progress?
Judging by one of the dorm room photos on the website (below), I don’t think all the dorms in Clink78 are set out in the same way so maybe I just lucked out a little here. It was a pretty last minute booking on my part.
So room 201 had room for improvement (which I have fed back as requested by the hostel), but the bed and room only makes up a part of the hostel experience, and from £12 a night, room 201 and bunk 201A is still very good value by hostel, and more specifically London standards.
Truth be told, had I got my backside in gear, and organised my nights stay a little earlier, I might have looked to stay in one of the below – old holding cells now turned dorm rooms, complete with serving hatch. How cool is that!
Now this is where Clink78 came into its own. Facilities wise I couldn’t find anything missing. The TV/Internet rooms were brilliantly unique, utilsing old court room spaces and features, and I liked that they were open all hours. There is Free WIFI, but I couldn’t get reception up in my room. No biggie though, as it was far more fun connecting and sitting in the old courtrooms whilst surfing the web.
A 24 hour reception is most welcome in a city like London. There were plenty of bathrooms along with laundry facilities. Downstairs, Clash Bar was lively and a fun place for meeting people. The drinks on sale were, by London standards, well priced (e.g. £3.50 a pint), and there wasn’t a gap in the calendar for the upcoming month – with Beerpong, Reggae Aerobics, Blues Night and Quiz Night on the lineup. There was also a really interesting ‘Stay and Play’ offer centered around Clash Bar, whereby young up and coming band touring the UK can play Clash Bar and get a bed for the night in payment. As a fan of live music, I really liked the idea … if only I could play and were in a band … and were young.
Come morning time, and Clash Bar becomes the breakfast bar. Its basic, but filling and still very tasty. Juice, toast and cereal are all on offer, and whilst finding a seat can be difficult, the staff on hand were extremely efficient at clearing away used plates and bowls, and keeping the hungry fed.
Would I stay again?
Well, considering this is the second time I’ve stayed at Clink78, and having stayed in Clink261 around the corner also, I cant say anything but yes here can I?! The location is great, the building fascinating and the facilities top notch. I would probably opt for a different dorm next time given the choice, but for a single night I can hardly complain, I was provided with everything I needed and more, and got to enjoy my party up in north London. Win!
The prices below are correct at the time of writing (August 2014), but you can check by clinking here (see what I did there).
- Converted prison cell – from £50 a night
- Private room – from £40 a night
- Mixed dorm – from £12.00 a night
- Female only dorm – from £12.00 a night
- Female only Bird nest form (super spacious rooms) – from £15.00 a night
Address and Location
Address: 78 King’s Cross Road, London WC1X 9Q
Getting to the hostel, a 15 minute walk from Kings Cross underground station is probably about right, any further with a heavy backpacker might be a tad too far, but Clink78 was an easy enough walk – worth noting however that on Google maps you Clink 78 shows as ‘clink hostels’ rather than Clink 78. This is only a tad troublesome due to another Clink hostel (Clink 261) residing nearby. Its not the end of the earth if you end up at Clink 261 by mistake … unless its dark, wet and you have no umbrella, them it might hack you off a bit.
My nights stay with Clink78 was provided by the hostel on the basis of me providing this review in return. Any opinions expressed are a genuine reflection on how I felt about my Clink78 hostel experience, and I already provided feedback to the hostel directly as agreed.