Search for cheapest prices: Smart Russell Square
Despite London's world-renowned nightlife, culture, restaurants and shops, the city can be daunting for backpackers due to the expense of staying in the centre, which is where the action is. However, those arriving in the city on a shoestring are in luck as SMART Russell Square offers rooms for extremely affordable rates in one of the city's most elegant districts, Bloomsbury, which is renowned for it's literary residents such as E.M Forster and Virginia Woolf.
SMART may be basic, but their rooms are safe, comfortable and convenient for those who need a place to lay their head and store their luggage.
The hostel largely has dormitory rooms, which are cheerful and clean and three private bedrooms. The hotel is a lively place, with a friendly communal atmosphere, decorated with bright colours throughout and containing a surprisingly wide range of amenities.
Smart has a fully fitted kitchen for guests to use, a chill-out room, ironing facilities, laundry facilities, an internet cafe, a Wi-Fi connection in the lobby, Fax services, shared bathrooms and more still. A 24-hour reception means staff can attend to your queries no matter when you arrive and a simple continental breakfast is even included in the room rate.
If you would prefer to make your own food, Sainsbury's and Tesco supermarkets are located nearby on Tottenham Court Road and there are plenty of reasonably priced eateries in the surrounding area, such as Crussh, which has a range of juices and healthy snacks, and Giraffe, which has some fantastic brunch options and delicious smoothies.
24 hour internet cafe
24 Hour reception
24 hour guest kitchen facilities
24 hour travel shop and ticket sales
No lockout or curfew
In room locker facilities
Snack vending machines
Common rooms with digital televisions
Custom designed beds
The hostel itself may be basic, but its location is second to none, with The British Museum, British Library, Wellcome Collection and much more just minutes away.
The hotel has a better location than most 4 and 5 star hotels in the city, allowing guests to walk to Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road for shopping, Covent Garden and Shaftesbury Avenue for London's Theatreland district, Leicester Square, Mayfair shops, Soho clubs and bars, Chinatown's restaurants and so much more.
There are also a wide range of galleries and quirky museums close to the hotel such as The Horse Hospital, for contemporary art and The Alexander Fleming museum, where you can see the founder of penicillin's lab as it was in the early 20th century.
The hostel also has excellent transport links, with Russell Square tube station nearby, which services the Piccadilly line. The Piccadilly line travels directly to Heathrow Airport in 25 minutes, for international connections; and the Eurostar terminal at King's Cross St Pancras Station, for travel to Europe.
From Russell Square you can also catch an airbus to Heathrow Airport and easily reach many other London locales.
Some may be squeamish at the thought of staying in a hostel, but the combination of price and location at SMART may be enough to tip the scales in its favour. Some seasoned backpackers have said that there are better hostels in London, as there is very little privacy to be had outside of the communal toilets, so if you can afford to spend just a little more, a private room is worthwhile. The Generator Hostel is also close by and offers a similar level of accommodation.