It’s weird but kinda fun being a tourist in a city you’ve lived in for 7 years.
This summer, I decided to leave Edinburgh for good and sample the dream life of a nomadic blogger.
I sold my stuff. Gave it away mostly.
Packed my rucksack.
One last look at the flat that had been home for me for almost a year.
That last look. Surreal moments those last looks.
Dropped the key through the postbox as instructed by my landlord.
Trudged down, feeling the weight of my backpack, of destiny on my shoulders.
Thinking, hell how I am going to be bearing this weight for the next few months.
My life as a digital nomad began at home, in Edinburgh.
I jumped on the bus 14 that dropped me off at Leith Walk from where it was a short walk to the city’s first 5 star rated hostel, SYHA Edinburgh Central.
Soon, I forgot the life I left behind and got into tourist mode.
Yes, even in the city that I had lived for 7 years, I could be a tourist which felt kinda cool.
Location wise, this hostel is perfect for visiting Edinburgh.
It’s just a few minutes walk from the east end of Princes Street.
Leith Walk is kind of the Brick Lane of Edinburgh with a hive of ethnic eateries and some great pubs.
Few minutes walk down the road and you’re in Leith which is where you can sample the city’s best seafood diners and also meet some great characters.( Port of Leith pub –do not miss )
It’s a part of Edinburgh that gets sadly neglected by tourists in favour of the more well heeled gentrified surroundings of Stockbridge and Morningside .
There’s also the Omni Centre just across from the hostel which has a bunch of your popular chain restaurants and also a Vue Cinema.
Recently developed, the hostel is very clean, modern and comfortable with some great facilities.
You walk into the reception and straight ahead you have a great little café which stays open till late in the evening.
Good coffee , which is a rarity in hostels plus combined with the free wifi in reception area- this place gets busy in the evenings.
On the ground floor the hostel serve a continental breakfast of cheese, ham, toast, bread rolls, juice, coffee, yoghurt and fruit. This costs an extra £4.50 which is pretty decent value but if you’re looking for something different, down Leith Walk there is a multitude of places where you can grab a decent breakfast.
The hostel has an enormous self catering kitchen which is a big plus point for guests.
Please note that just as you’re coming down Leith Walk, on the left in York Place there is a Tesco Metro where you can buy your groceries, bread and everyday essentials which is very handy.
There are also laundry and ironing facilities within the hostel.
The reception staff-someone is available 24/7 and during my stay they were very helpful with lots of great tips of places to eat and drink.
It was funny listening them recommend me places I had visited and known so well for so many years….
The rooms are clean and comfortable. I stayed in one of their private rooms where you have an ensuite shower and toilet. The rooms come equipped with a plasma screen TV and coffee/tea making facilities.
There’s a reading light plus a plug point for charging gadgets located right behind the pillow.
So any drawbacks?
To get wifi in the room, there is a charge of £1 an hour. Personally, I think wifi should be the universal right of all humans and be free. Reality is in large hostels, they struggle with offering wifi with proper bandwidth so maybe there is a case of restricting access and offering a better service?
My suggestion to SYHA would be to offer a flat rate of £3 a day to make it an affordable proposition to their customers.
What else could be better?
I found it slightly flat in terms of atmosphere with little in terms of organised activities.
This is not a party hostel.
If you’re looking for the party, you are better off staying somewhere like the Castle Rock Hostel.
Other than nightlife, there are other local experiences that the hostel could look into introducing the guests during their stay, especially for solo travellers.
Overall, it’s a great hostel in terms of a great range of facilities and excellent staff.
When picking this hostel, I think the key USP is the location which makes it a great base for exploring the city.
Single room starts at £39 low season to £52.50 peak, doubles start at £65 to £109 peak ( August) and 8 bed dorms are as little as £12-£15 low season to £25-£30 high season. All rooms are ensuite. Breakfast is extra and comes in at £4.50 per person.
Book at www.syha.org.uk