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Palmers Lodge - Swiss Cottage
Ranked #21 of 896 Speciality Lodging in London
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Reviewed 30 November 2011

You know you're in for a good experience when upon arrival the friendly assistant manager does everything she can to find a bed for you at late notice, on the bussiest day of the week. Little did my fellow traveller and I realise at the time, but Palmers Lodge would become our favourite hostel throughout the whole of the UK and Europe.

So many great nights have been had in the bar, and the common room. All of the staff are fantastic, the facility itself is superb, and the price is a bargain. I won't stay anywhere else in London if I return.

Room Tip: Rooms on the lobby floor are the best.
  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled with friends
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4  Thank Todd H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 24 November 2011

I've stayed at Palmer's Lodge on 3 occasions in female bunk rooms (October & November 2011), when I needed somewhere to crash overnight in London.

There are lots of positive things to say about it. Very reasonable price. Comfortable bunk mattresses. Brilliant privacy curtains on each little bunk bed. 24 hour reception. Free breakfast. Beautiful historical building. Friendly reception staff. Near tube station, shops, cinema & pub. Safe area (Swiss Cottage, just south of Hampstead & Finchley, is a very Jewish area, which tend to be the safest in London).

Easy to get to location (I've seen other reviews complaining about a 20 minute tube journey into Central London, but if you've ever lived in London before, you'd know that that's actually a very easy journey!). Swiss Cottage is a Zone 2 location (on a par with Camden & Islington). You can also get a bus around the corner on Finchley Road (outside the Holland & Barrett shop, opposite McDonalds) straight to Marble Arch/Hyde Park Corner/Victoria train station (82 bus), or Baker Street/Oxford Circus/Trafalgar Square/Strand (13 bus).

The only downside (and I say this with absolute regret, as I was hoping to be able to use this place as a regular occasional stopover base, in London) is that, since staying here, I've gone down with scabies symptoms (currently receiving permethrin treatment). I've read up some other reviews that mentioned becoming itchy due to 'bed bugs'. Didn't witness any bed bugs at all, but scabies mites (not visible to the human eye) are able to survive on mattresses for up to 4 days (72 hours) without contact on human skin... long enough to infect the next person checking into a bunk bed.

I sincerely wish I didn't have to mention this, as Palmers Lodge is a nice place to stay... but if anyone else has had problems after checking out, symptoms can appear from 2 to 6 weeks afterwards. This is the only possible place/way I could have picked up something like this. Such a shame.

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled solo
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2  Thank cazza999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 November 2011

I spent 4 nights at Palmers Lodge in Swiss Cottage. The place is really cosy: it's an old house, really charming. They places me in a 5-people mixed dorm in the basement, which was clean and well kept.

In the basement there's a restaurant, which does good pub meals in the evening, and a pub: there's chep beer, even though forget good English ales as there are only a couple of Dutch and German lagers; anyway, the pub is still a great place for socializing while drowning a pint or two. Breakfast is free, but I never had the chance to try it.

The staff is nice and helpful, and there are several computers with free internet access on the ground floor (avoid evening hours as they get quite busy). There's also WiFi, but I didn't have a notebook with me to test it. There's also cheap coffee and tea available from a dispensing machine. Sofas and armchairs are everywhere, they have a really nice chill-out area.

The location is good: even though the area surrounding the place (Finchley Road) is not particularly interesting, it is and feels very safe - and there area a couple of pubs, anyway, not mentioning some big shops which may be useful. There are two tube stations (Swiss Cottage and Finchley Road) at very short distance (3 minute walk), and the bus stop is even nearer, so reaching any place is London is easy (West End is just 3 tube stops South).
The location is also very convenient to explorer the beautiful Hampstead Village, Hampstead Heath and surroundings, including Highgate with its charming cemetery: it makes for a great day-long walk starting from the hostel.

Pricing is good, and there's a car park (I didn't have a car, but noticed you could park if you had one).

I only found two downsides. The first one is that the toilets are quite cramped (never saw sinks so small), but it's a minor issue anyway. The biggest problem is air filtration through window fixtures, which have big gaps: this is not an issue in most cases, but my bed was right under the window so I ended up with a big throat ache after a couple of nights: I then decided to reverse the position of the pillow so that air wouldn't arrive directly on my throat and it got better, but it was a bit late as I nearly got a flu. ;-)

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled on business
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3  Thank lordarthas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
11309995, Manager at Palmers Lodge - Swiss Cottage, responded to this reviewResponded 2 March 2012

Dear Lordarthas

Thank you for your fantastic review. Compact bathrooms are the norm in hostels, so guests don’t have to queue to use the facilities. However since your stay, we have refurbished our bathroom facilities so make sure you check them out the next time you are in London. I am sorry that you had a sore throat, but most of our people complain about the temperature been too hot so it’s hard to keep everyone staying in the same dorm happy. Anyway, you will be glad to know we are upgrading our heating system in the next few weeks, so we will be able to adjust the temperature in the rooms very quickly. In any case, our reception staff can try to allocate people in a different bed/room if there is availability to do so.

Next time you stay with us, head down to the Abbey Road Studios in St. John’s Wood or to Belsize Park and Chalk Farm for specialist shops, and great places to eat, or even to Camden Town – all at walking distance or a short bus ride away. Our Front Desk staff will be happy to suggest local places to go visit.

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Reviewed 22 November 2011

i enjoyed my first 5 days here so much that I cancelled the remaining 5 days of my trip at another hostel and spent a total of 10 days here. Palmers Lodge is a beautiful home that has been converted into a gigantic hostel. Upon entry into the main entrance, you will be met and greeted by a member of the staff (24 hours a day) that will assist in you whatever you ask (I never encountered anyone here that was not fully helpful). Directly past the greeting area is a TV lounge with several couches, numerous power outlets, a vending machine, books, a television and several computers. This area is a wonderful place to browse the internet, read a book, watch a nightly movie or just mingle with travelers from around the world.

The floor below this main floor is where the Chapel Bar and Scullery Restaurant are located. The wifi connection picks up wonderfully in these locations and there are also power outlets located here as well. The bar is a great place to mingle with others and have a cold drink or order food from the restaurant (which is delicious and very cost effective if you're on a budget).

There are bathrooms/showers located on each floor, more than enough for the number of people staying in the hostel. I rarely ever encountered the bathrooms in disarray, as staff keeps them clean several times throughout the day. Furthermore, the rooms are cleaned daily and sheets changed weekly. Located under the mattresses are bed bug tracking systems, so they may keep track of any bed bug issues and correct any problem before it even starts.

The rooms are large, clean and comfy. I stayed in a 28 bed dorm and had more than enough room due to the large open floor plan (14 beds on one level and 14 on the top level). There is plenty of open space to store your luggage and a spacious locker under your bunk to store your sensitive items. Each bunk is equipped with a power outlet and a lamp, as well as a curtain to provide some privacy from others around you. The mattresses and pillows are quite comfortable and the rooms climate controlled.

If I had to pinpoint one thing to "complain" about, I could only gripe about the wifi connection being choppy or the bar closing too early. The wifi was not very reliable and would consistently cut in and out. The bar closes around midnight nightly, which is a little early when you want to just hang out and chat. But, for the price, the ambiance, the staff and the location....you can't beat this place!

The hostel is about a 3-5 minute walk from two different tube stations (Swiss Cottage and Finchley Road), both of which are along the Jubilee Line with direct access to downtown London within 10 minutes. Finchley Road, in and of itself, offers dining, a movie theater and several bars within easy walking distance of Palmers Lodge.

For the price, you can not beat Palmers Lodge. This was my first experience with a hostel and I am beyond impressed...it'll be hard to beat this one. The staff became friends during my stay (Jaime, I know you read these things all the time to see where things can be improved...I caught you reading them one night!) and they strive to make you feel at home. I could go on and on about how great this place is, but I know those of you reading this are probably tired of reading. Ignore the few negative reviews of Palmers Lodge (I don't know what those people were thinking) and take my word for it, this place is great. I am a tough critic and like to feel comfortable when away from home, and I got that here!

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled solo
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3  Thank Chad H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
11309995, Manager at Palmers Lodge - Swiss Cottage, responded to this reviewResponded 2 March 2012

Dear Chad

Thank you for feedback, the team at Swiss Cottage was over the moon with your review. I can happily report that since your stay, we have enhanced our server capacity and that our WIFI connection has improved a lot since.

We’ll hope to see you back at Palmers Lodge on your next visit to the UK

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Reviewed 20 November 2011

I've just returned from a stay at Palmer's Lodge with a group of students from Germany and we are all full of praise for this hostel. The staff were always friendly. The lounge is the perfect place to meet people from all over the world and relax after a busy day in London. Free access to the internet is a treat and was used regularly by my students and myself. My room (single) was exactly the way it was described on the Lodge's website and was cleaned daily. The students liked their rooms and really enjoyed their stay. The Lodge is conveniently located and you'll find restaurants and shops nearby.
I'll come back with the next group of students next year! Thank you to the staff at Palmer's Lodge for making our time in London so nice!

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled on business
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3  Thank Calmdown_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
11309995, Sales & Marketing Manager at Palmers Lodge - Swiss Cottage, responded to this reviewResponded 23 November 2011

Dear Calmdown _11,

Thank you for taking the time to leave your comments. It’s very encouraging to receive such a positive review from our “group” guests about the facilities, the staff and our brilliant location.

Also, great news that you are planning to visit us again next year, we have a great deal of exciting plans for Palmers Lodge in 2012 and it'd be good to get your feedback.

Kind regards

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Reviewed 15 November 2011

Palmers Lodge was a very nice facility. Overall it was clean and accomodating. I really enjoyed their front desk staff. They were always willing to answer questions I had and they even had maps available to demonstrate where to go. I did not like how the showers were in the same room at the toilets. This meant that the floor was eternally wet and usually muddy from people's shoes. They did clean the bathroom every morning though, so it was not awful. I was told by other women in my room that the top bunk got very hot and the windows do not open. However, personally I was fine on the second bunk and found my bed cozy and enjoyable.

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled with friends
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3  Thank Megan B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
11309995, Sales & Marketing Manager at Palmers Lodge - Swiss Cottage, responded to this reviewResponded 23 November 2011

Dear Megan

Thank you for taking the time to leave your feedback. It’s always good to receive a constructive review from our guests about the staff. We have scheduled a comprehensive refurb on the floor where the dorm you are referring to is located next January, in order to correct the situation you have described with the showers.

We are glad to learn that you bed and the temperature in the room was just right.

Once again, thank you for staying with us and for posting your feedback. We hope to have the opportunity to welcome you again to Palmers Lodge.

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Reviewed 14 November 2011

I stayed in a hostel in Edinburgh but I did not really count that as an experience because I stayed in a private room with people I knew.
When I booked a 6 person bedroom at Swiss Cottage, I was a bit wary. Did not know what to expect. This was my true first time at a hostel. What if the other people were weird?
But no, THIS PLACE IS GREAT. All I wanted was a clean hostel. clean bed. clean showers. that's all I need. And I got both. My room had bunk beds but they had currents on both sides! so it was like your own mini room. Good for privacy. Bed was cleans (I did a check before getting in, haha)
Showers were clean all three days I went. No problem with that.
People have said breakfast gets boring - same stuff every morning. but honestly the food is free. let's just be grateful, people.
I love the hang out area, it was full each night of people who just wanted to relax after a long day. And a worker would come in and put on a movie for us. We wanted Hangover the second night, and definitely, maybe the third night.
Front desk was awesome, very helpful.
Storage bin under our beds were huge, you could fit tons of stuff. my only issue is the storage area for those who wanted the hostel to hold their bags if they got there before check-in time. it was in the back of the hostel in a shed. luckily a friend of mine checked in before so i put my stuff with hers. Wasn't too keen on putting it there. Anyone had access to it with a key that they gave you.
All in all, great hostel. I dont think I can go anywhere else.

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled with friends
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2  Thank abroadinUK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
11309995, Sales and Marketing Manager at Palmers Lodge - Swiss Cottage, responded to this reviewResponded 23 November 2011

Dear Abroadin UK

Thank you for taking the time to leave your feedback. We are delighted to learn that you loved your stay with us and that you found our facilities, our brilliant staff and the atmosphere we create here at Palmers Lodge enjoyable.

We are currently reviewing our storage facility for large luggage, but guests can also use our heavy duty laptop and valuables safes at reception (even before they check in) and our free safes and luggage lockers in every room thereafter.

Once more, thank you for staying with us again and I hope that you will enjoy many more pleasant stays with us at Palmers Lodge, we very much look forward to welcoming you in the near future.

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Additional Information about Palmers Lodge - Swiss Cottage

Address: 40 College Crescent | Swiss Cottage, London NW3 5LB, England (Formerly Swiss Cottage)
Region: United Kingdom > England > London
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #21 of 896 Speciality Lodging in London
Price Range: $25 - $141 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2 star — Palmers Lodge - Swiss Cottage 2*
Number of rooms: 45
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome to the multiple award winning boutique backpackers Palmers Lodge, where you can experience Victorian elegance in the former home of Samuel Palmer, of the Huntley and Palmer's biscuit empire. Built in 1881, this substantial house has been restored to its original glory in order to offer our guests not just budget accommodation but also a unique experience during their stay in London. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Palmers Hotel London

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