Just a few pleasant blocks away from the Edinburgh Waverley Railway Station, going west on Princes Street, is The Caledonian Backpackers Hostel (Trip Advisor Reviews). With all the construction as of late (new tram lines) it is a bit confusing to manoeuvre around but with some tenacity you’ll be able to find the spot on Queensferry Street. When you step inside you are impressed with the color schemes, the funky designs, a grand set of stairs leading up to the action and the off-beat but friendly reception desk crew, ever ready to whisk you away. The facilities are impressive and a welcome relief to any beleaguered traveler; a self-catering kitchen with all the cooking equipment you’d expect and need, a movie lounge decked with bean bags and loafing hikers, a cheap laundry facility (at a pound for a wash or dry, it is rather unbeatable.) and The Swamp Bar, a full service groovy-styled bar that is built in the center of a multi flavor-radical common room. Seriously, I wouldn’t be able to express it better if I tried. In the common room there are heaps of comfy leather couches, stools and tables to enjoy a beer or a conversation at, board games to engage yourself and friends with, a reading and lending nook for the book worms, a pool table for the sharks and all manner of odds and ends to beat around with.
One of my favorite ammenities of the Caledonian is its Cucumber Room; the Cucumber Room is a wooden-floor, oval shaped room, flooded with bean bags and cushions. I reckon, the managment meant it to be a semi quite room, for example, if the music from the adjoining common is too loud, one can find a retreat here. The accoustics are great as well in the Cucumber and to test my theory, you’ll find a beat-up but decent classic guitar floating about. It is free for all to use.
(Here’s a few pictures of the funky art that lends to the chilled atmosphere.)
The Bads: The staff can be a bit off putting at times; helpful but largely indifferent and clingy to their groups. The trick with hostels is that everyone is coming and going, so experiences will vary. The showers are lukewarm at all times, which isn’t terrible as the pressure is alright. The dorms are very large- up to 32 people at the most and the beds are old, meaning you can feel the springs. The breakfast is basic, basic, basic! Toast, jam, vegemite (salty, Australian spread), coffee, tea etc.
My closing thoughts: You have to keep in mind that this is a hostel, though better than most, it will not be as accomodating as a Hilton!
Did I miss something? Questions comments or thoughts about the Caledonian backpackers? Please Share!