Generator Hostel, Hamburg
1 reviews from the community
Review of "Generator Hostel, Hamburg"
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I do so hate it when the mixed age bar discussion topic turns to recreational drugs. When you are in your fifties you are in a no win situation. Show interest and you either feel like the oldest swinger in town or that life has passed you by depending on your knowledge on the subject. Talk about it in the past tense and you come across like a dismissive know-all, ignore it and come across like an old fogey.Unfortunately, on our third night in the bar of the Hamburg hostel Generator we were confronted with such a conundrum. Given that it seemed little good would ultimately come from such a conversation (and I certainly wasn’t minded to sit crossed legged on an unmade bed sharing a joint with a few gobby know-all loud American strangers less than half my age) it was time for a gentle withdrawal for the benefit of all parties.
After our experience in nice but near deserted hotels in Sicily in December my beloved made the sensible suggestion that we look for something a little more lively in Hamburg in January. After taking a look around on the internet we decided upon what is an upscale hostel right in the city centre, a stone’s throw from the central train station, the Generator Hostel. Our private facility room wasn’t particularly cheap at around £60 for the double a night (although Hamburg isn’t a cheap city to rest one’s head in), but the location was great, and it had its own (private) bar which felt like a good idea.The hostel is in a rather handsome building from the 1950’s (I’m guessing) and on a busy square pretty much in the centre of things. Apparently the building was formerly home to a recording studio where a certain very young John, Paul, George, Stu and Pete did some early recordings.
Check in was fine if a little chaotic with lots of people milling around; it’s been a while since I’ve been immersed into that student mindset of “chilling” and “hanging”. The hostel has lots of little chargeable extras and when we got to our room we discovered no towels and assumed they were an extra. We later discovered that room service should have left towels in the private rooms and so secured a refund on our hired towels and got a pile of rather better quality ones that should have been in our room. It wasn’t ultimately a problem but it did take a bit of time to sort out.We also ordered tokens for the buffet breakfast which was 5 Euros per morning per person. The standard breakfast was almost double this and given my beloved’s idea of breakfast is a coffee and I’m on (another) diet, we concluded it couldn’t be too bad a deal. There are also chargeable secure lockers for valuables and belongings in the main body of the reception area (ideal if you are sharing in a dorm) or for us on our final day where we had til mid afternoon in the city before our return flight home. There is also a laundry (and we suffered an obligatory fire alarm while in the bar one evening, as the room over-heated). In un-typical German style everyone stayed put with their pint and with an eye out in case that alarm turned out to be a true one. It was -10 outside so I guess that was one reason for everyone’s reticence.
Beyond the bar, was another large upstairs space and another lounge type area, in addition to 2 breakfast bar areas. This meant there is plenty of different nooks, crannies and public rooms in the Generator Hostel for us student types to “hang” and “chill” while discussing various drug experiences. Nice.
Our RoomOur room was Ibis basic with two narrow beds, an open wardrobe, a cheap ikea desk and a “pod” plastic shower room and toilet. We did have a great view over the main square in the area (albeit it wasn’t particularly scenic), but I quite enjoyed looking out over the world when (as is often my habit) I got up for an hour at 3am. Despite it being in the city centre, the hostel wasn’t noisy either within or without. The place does have a “no drink” and “no food” policy in the rooms so that helps ensure there are no parties going on (so my fear of sharing a toke with a group of strangers would have been unfounded).
While our room was basic it was nice and clean and tidy and we were perfectly happy there. We could also control the temperature (we tend to sleep cold without noise of air con or heating system) and we were OK.
Breakfast, Bar and EatsThe main bar was actually quite relaxed and modern furnished. There were a few long bench tables for those who wished to socialise, a bar where you could plonk your stool (a seating stool rather than any other kind you dirty minded souls), and a few single tables for two or four to sit at, which looked out to the world. Although the bar wasn’t open to outsiders it was always nicely buzzing, although of course, it was usually that we were having a nightcap, while the youth of the world were having pre-drinks before their evening out. I can do late nights but I have a nasty habit of waking up at 7am regardless of when I went to bed, so it rather messes with my head these days. The bar was pretty cheap and I think the standard lager was around 4 Euros for a half litre so cheaper than in the UK. While you can buy craft ale in Germany these days, this bar hadn’t branched out to it. The bar did offer a meal special (like a pulled pork burger or such like) and it did seem both a filling and reasonable meal for 8 Euros or so. It wasn’t quite our thing but I can imagine it being handy if you were on more of a budget than we were.
The bar itself was nice and modern with lots of laminated flooring, and pale walls with a splash of lime green (the signature colour for the hotel), and some modern Banksy style figures dotted around the place. Yes there’s John Lennon too (what euro bar would dare be seen without either Lennon or Marley?).The Breakfast Buffet did turn out to be something of a throwback to the student union refectory with our meal being shared with lots of stumbling, yawning, knotty haired young people. Us more experienced heads (probably about 10% of the guests were older) gave each other knowing winks. To be fair one advantage of being older was that we were given deferential treatment by the youngsters, and they were to a person both friendly and polite. We had little discussions with various folk each morning so it was a pleasant atmosphere.
The Breakfast food was pretty basic for the low price, but the bread buns weren’t the cheapest, there was boiled eggs, cheese, tomato and cucumber (and ham and honey and jams and breakfast cerials for those that wanted them), and the coffee and fruit juice was fine. Like McDonalds you returned and emptied your tray at the end.
Around and AboutTo the one side of the hostel, it isn’t the richest area in the world, but there are a wealth of kebab and curry houses which are cheap, busy and plentiful. Most of these places don’t serve alcohol but if you want a reasonably priced filling meal then you won’t go to wrong here. I can particularly recommend a local South Indian Dosa house which is reasonably priced and both licensed and friendly. It’s called the Dostana Asia Restaurant.
The Generator is also just a short walk to the main shopping centre in Hamburg, so it is handy if like my beloved you have some birthday money to spend. She fell upon the local branch of Desigual for an hour or so and came out without money but with a couple of carrier bags in her hands.A little further out is the St Georg area of town which is a little like Manchester’s gay village. We did go into the St Georg bar which was a very smoky pub (you forget what pubs were like before the smoking ban in the UK) and we also visited another friendly but quiet wine bar. Most of the bars in this area were friendly and relaxed although a couple catered more to the more ...ahem... flamboyant end of the market with dancing boys, lots of leather and handlebar moustaches and the like. I would not have wished to have wandered into the men only Sl*t Club “cheap and sexy” for example. The subtly named “Pick Up Gay Bar” was another place we didn’t venture into. Perhaps I’ll save it for another time when I don’t have the missus with me and fancy a change.
Also near the hotel is the Museum Kunst and Gewerbe, which is a useful museum of fine arts. I won’t claim it is the best museum I’ve ever been to but it was worth a stroll around.
Summing UpIn the end we actually rather liked the Generator Hostel; it was relaxed and friendly, and the bar staff in particular were nice people keen to ensure everyone got served, had a nice time and weren’t ignored or left on their own. Likewise the reception staff were certainly helpful and told people how to use busses and trains and such like. Overall, the place is clean, cheerful and in a really good location for the centre of Hamburg.
Product Information : Generator Hostel, Hamburg
Manufacturer's product description
Rating: 2 Stars
Address: Steintorplatz 3, 20099 Hamburg
Listed on Ciao since: 13/02/2017