* Prices may differ from that shown
Shortly before Christmas (2013) my son and I needed to spend a night in London. It was at fairly short notice so no good deals on hotels to be found (not that there often are in London) but I wanted somewhere central as we would be arriving and leaving by train. It took me a little while to think of it (I still tend to associate Youth Hostels with the countryside) but then I found and booked the Youth Hostel at St Pancras.
The hostel's position really is as excellent as the website claims, it is right on the Euston Road, which makes it hard to miss, and is maybe 5 minutes' walk from St Pancras International and Kings Cross stations, and only about 10 from Euston. This means that it is also very well placed for using public transport in London as a lot of buses travel along the Euston Road, and there is an Underground station at St Pancras/Kings Cross.
When you think of a hostel, you may think of large rooms with multiple bunks, where you share a room with strangers, and if you are travelling alone, this is the most economical way of staying, for which you get the use of a bunk bed and a lockable cupboard (take your own padlock). It is however also possible to book a whole range of possibilities including a double room or a twin room with its own bathroom. Prices currently vary from £25 per person per night, to £82 for a double room.
The rooms themselves are not luxurious, but they are clean and serviceable, the bunk beds each have their own lights, so that you can read in bed without disturbing others, and we found plenty of electric sockets for charging phones, etc. We stayed in a room with a shared bathroom, but these were plentiful - there was one just across the corridor, clean and adequate (note they aren't actually bathrooms, there are toilets and showers). Our room was at the back of the building, and so was probably a little bit quieter than rooms at the front, but we certainly didn't find noise to be a problem, although if you're expecting a really quiet night in London you'll need to go much more upmarket than this!
On the ground floor of the hostel you will find a café/bar, which serves breakfasts and other meals. It is also a very useful place to be able to have a coffee and wait to meet up with a friend. It is bright and pleasant, and a good alternative to more expensive coffee shops in the area.
The staff at Reception are always young, friendly and helpful, dealing very practically with all sorts of guests' dilemmas - for many of them this is their first experience of London, and it takes quite a bit of getting used to. As you would expect with a hostel, there are quite a few people staying who are travelling alone, and the people at the hostel do their best to provide social opportunities so that people can get together and meet others. There is a film night once a week, and they organise group trips to tourist venues. These are advertised on posters around the hostel.
Other facilities include a self-service laundry in the basement, and luggage lockers where you can leave your bags for the day if you are then moving on.
So, overall - would it be my first choice for a stay in London? No, if I could get a budget chain hotel and the price difference wasn't too great I would probably go for that (although it has to be said that I once stayed in a chain hotel that was considerably shabbier and less provided with facilities than this).
But would I stay here again? Subject to the above, yes! It was clean, friendly, relatively inexpensive and incredibly well placed (particularly as we arrived in London via Euston and left via Kings Cross). If you are looking to stay in London, bear it in mind.
I wondered about how many stars to give, I suspect that as a hostel it really deserves 5, but I wouldn't want to raise your expectations too high! (Updated August 2014)