They are right to say "forget everything you know about budget accommodation" as preconceptions of hostels will never bring to mind what Safestay is offering. It's run like a hotel and is "stylish, fun and funky".
There are 74 rooms to sleep 407 people (all bunk beds) and rates start from just £18 a night. There's even a garden for guests too.
Safestay is in John Smith House, the former Labour Party Headquarters, on Walworth Road, SE11. The 18th century building is Grade II listed (must be preserved) so you'll find those high ceilings with ornate moldings and many original fireplaces.
Stylish, Fun & Funky
Black Box Interiors have created something quite different inside with a contemporary, funky style and a purple and hot pink color scheme throughout. The artwork is 'Brit pop art', the furniture is eclectic and the lighting is by Tom Dixon.
Lots of Space
Guests don't have to hide away in their rooms as there's plenty of social space downstairs. The lower ground public area is open-plan and leads out onto a walled garden so there's plenty of natural light too. This is where the complimentary breakfast is served and there's a bar and restaurant available throughout the day and evening. On the ground floor, by Reception, there's an Internet Room for those who didn't bring their laptop, and free wifi is available on the ground and lower ground floors for all who can't live without being connected. The ground floor public space is also a great chill out zone when meeting friends or catching up after a day's sightseeing.
All 74 rooms have bunk beds and you can choose between private twin rooms and family rooms with 40" plasma TVs and tea/coffee facilities, as well as four-, six- and eight-bunk bedded rooms, most with en-suite shower rooms. Toilets are always separate to the shower rooms (even when inside the private rooms) and there are extra shower rooms and guest toilets at the end of each floor.
Families are welcome and there are even private rooms with a double bed and single bunk above.
Safestay runs more like a hotel that a hostel, but simply has bigger rooms so you can travel in larger groups than most hotels can accommodate, or you can save money on solo travel by sharing.
The mattresses looked much better than any I've seen at other hostels and there's no collecting your bedding from Reception as all beds are made up before guests' arrival. All beds have a privacy curtains and a light for late-night reading, plus security of your belongings is not a concern as there's a lockable 'cage' to store your whole suitcase/backpack inside (bring a padlock, or rent one upon arrival). There's also a free luggage store for when you're checking out but want to do some last minute exploring. Entry to the rooms is by touch key and guests only have access to the floor with their room and the communal areas, plus front door access as there's no curfew and the Reception has 24-hour security.
- TV and complimentary tea/coffee in twin private rooms
- Free continental breakfast for all
- Free wifi in lobby and Internet Room on ground floor
- 24-hour reception
- Pool room
- Illuminated and heated garden
- Chill out room
- Breakfast room
- Large illuminated and heated garden
- Luggage store
- Laundry room
While Elephant and Castle is not at the top of many tourists' favorite locations in London it is surprisingly central which makes it a great base for visiting the city. Charles Dickens, Charlie Chaplin and even William Shakespeare all lived nearby once upon a time.
In the area there's the excellent free Cuming Museum right opposite Safestay, and the lovely Electric Elephant Cafe just around the corner. A short walk away is the Ministry of Sound for clubbing fun.
There is an excellent free map of the local area and central London attractions for guests to take from the Reception Desk.
Address: 144-152 Walworth Road, London SE17 1JL
Nearest Tube Station: Elephant & Castle
Use the London online Journey Planner to plan your route by public transport.
Official Website: www.safestay.co.uk
If you are looking for London Accommodation for Large Groups HouseTrip have some large private homes that can be rented.