Many of you reading this will know that I'm a Nottingham resident - and indeed, you may well be wondering why somebody who has a perfectly adequate house in Nottingham would stay at a hostel.
Well, It started years ago, when an online friend of mine from Germany asked me for a hostel recommendation in Nottingham. I didn't know any personally, but a scout around online showed me Igloo, and I recommended it . Seems my friend enjoyed it, and this year, she organised a big meet up in Nottingham for her birthday, inviting her many friends in the UK to converge on the hostel for a night of drinking, nerdy games, and fun times. Not wanting to be the one person heading home early on the last bus, I decided to book in with them - and I was very pleased with my decision.
Location wise, Igloo is wonderful for the city centre. I suppose if you were coming to Nottingham by train or coach, it might be considered a slight pain in the bum that this is actually all the way at the other end of the city centre. With that said, that's really only a 20 minute walk, and the hostel has plenty of shops, takeaways, pubs and off licences within spitting distance, as well as being on many of the major bus routes. It isn't particularly well signposted from the road though, and I think you'd not notice in passing that it was a hostel.
Reserving places was as simple as calling up on the phone - we were quite a large group, 12 people in all, and had to make endless alterations to our reservations - dropping one person, then adding them back on again . Still, the lady on the phone was very pleasant, and the only thing we had to do to secure the room was to pay a deposit, with the rest of the cost being payable on check in . Both cash and card payments were accepted. We also had to provide proof of ID upon check in, and were told that we were welcome to bring visitors with us to the communal living room area of the hostel, but not into the bedrooms.
The prices were very reasonable, at £16pp per night for a dorm bed . Other options were available , such as a private single room for £38 and a double for £48, but we were happy in dorm accommodation. The hostel does not accept stag or hen groups, though it is quite relaxed and ok with people having a bit of a drink and a laugh.
The dorm rooms were simple but functional - metal framed bunk beds with reasonably comfortable mattresses, and the bedding smelt fresh and clean . The room had also clearly been hoovered before our arrival, and were nice and tidy - at least until we all got settled in! All the rooms had noticeboards stating any rules, and also important safety information such as fire extinguisher locations, meeting points in the event of emergency, etc. Towels and bedding were included in the price , and both our dorm rooms had a bank of lockers.
The communal living room downstairs had a fairly large television and an xbox games console with a small selection of games. There was a large chalkboard detailing various upcoming local events, and a stand full of leaflets for local tourist attractions . There was plenty of seating - a mixture of chairs, sofas, and floor cushions, and there were two computers available for use, with the hostel also having wifi for users bringing their own laptops. There was a bookcase with plenty of books to read, and a small bank of lockers which could be used for a small deposit.
The bathrooms were small and compact, yet each squeezed in a bath, shower, sink, and loo. They were clean, but a little less tidy than the dorms, as people left bath products on the sink and sides of the bath, and dropped towels on the floor. Hot water was plentiful, and there was never any queuing to use them, except when al the girls in our group were clamouring to put on makeup.
None of us used the kitchen beyond making a cup of tea, instead opting for the local takeaways just over the road. However, it seemed perfectly adequate with a fridge, microwave, oven and coffepot, as well as a washing machine. There were tables and chairs for sitting at, and plenty of crockery and cutlery. There was also a games room available , with a pool table, though this room usually seemed very busy.
The people at the hostel apart from our group were a real mix or ages and cultures. We met a greying bearded biker who was in town for a gig at Rock City, a very handsome Brazilian chap who kept dashing round the living room asking us to try his cooking, a businessman who was staying overnight while a burst pipe in his home was repaired, and plenty of foreign students. The atmosphere was sociable and friendly, and there was a real sense that these strangers were friends, as drinks and anecdotes were shared .
The staff were lovely - largely leaving us to just get on with it, but always on hand to give advice about where to go drinking, what my friends should see, or helping us get onto the wifi network. There is a member of staff on the premises 24 hours a day, and there is no curfew, with the staff happy to let people in whatever time they get there. There was also no hurry to check out - we were told that our beds would be needed for the next booking, but that they weren't expected to arrive until 8pm so we could relax a little longer.
Overall, my friends and I really enjoyed our stay at the hostel. It was only for one night, but I know that some of them are already planning on coming on a longer visit to Nottingham and plan on using the hostel again. At £16 pppn, I really think this is excellent value for money, and I loved the relaxed attitude of the staff, who had no problem at all with us drinking and having fun, and who even joined in when we started drunkenly bawling rugby songs! An excellent night in with friends, with a comfy and safe place to crash at the end of it - what more could a girl ask for!