GTW explores the UK’s more quirky and unusual accommodation options that provide the ideal base for a group trip to Wales or abroad
THE SAFEHOUSE HOSTEL, CARDIFF
The Safehouse Hostel opened in March 2015, positioned in the centre of Cardiff and based in an attractive Victorian building that is graced with plenty of listed features.
The Safehouse Hostel aims to achieve fivestar status, though promises that while accommodation facilities improve, the price won’t increase.
Its attention to detail and customer service is what sets this hostel apart. More than one member of staff is always available on reception, handy if someone in your group requires assistance. Coffee is served 24 hours a day and guests can relax in the café area. If you don’t fancy exploring Cardiff’s many bars and restaurants, there’s a self-catering kitchen on the ground floor.
With emphasis on comfort, The Safehouse Hostel’s guest facilities continue on the first floor with its residents’ lounge, complete with books, free Wi-Fi and board games.
On every floor, there’s a communal washroom with showers, sinks and toilets, in addition to a private shower room.
The Safehouse Hostel consists of ‘bunk rooms,’ where all bunk beds have a full-depth memory foam mattress and built-in USB ports, alongside soon-tobe- completed double bedrooms. These will be completed in summer 2015 in preparation for September’s Rugby World Cup, as the hostel is located near to Wales Millennium Centre. Informative staff offer guided walking tours of Cardiff and soon plan to provide bikes to rent too. They’re especially keen for groups who come to Cardiff to enjoy the city as much as they do and aim to do everything in their power to help GTOs explore Cardiff and the whole of South Wales. For more information visit www.safehousehostel.co.uk
WYE VALLEY CANOE CENTRE, BRECON BEACONS
Described as a ‘posh bunkhouse,’ The Wye Valley Canoe Centre is based in the Brecon Beacons and tries very hard to blow any preconceptions you may have of hostel living out of the water. Catering for 14 people on its mezzanine floor, this converted chapel even has a helter skelter where guests can slip down freely from floor to floor if they don’t fancy taking the stairs. The slide offers a sharp exit from the huge sofas on the top level down to the ground level, adding a playful twist to your average group holiday. The Wye Valley Canoe Centre can accommodate a maximum group size of 20.
A stay at The Wye Valley Canoe Centre costs from £1,070 for two nights for a group of 14, with offers available for midweek bookings. Why not organise your stay during Hay Festival, which takes place annually between May and June?
Alternate activities available throughout the year include guided walks from the bunkhouse, horse riding, go karting, indoor climbing, canoeing and cycling, which can be arranged locally. Find out more at www.wyevalleycanoes. co.uk/bunkhouse
PLAS CURIG HOSTEL, SNOWDONIA
Plas Curig Hostel commands an impressive position in the heart of the Snowdonia National Park in North Wales. This charming former Youth Hostel Association (YHA) site has been stealing the hearts of many an intrepid traveller since 1945.
Plas Curig Hostel has been familyrun since 2010 and now offers clean, comfortable, homely accommodation ideal for groups seeking to experience the beauty of Snowdonia.
This luxury hostel offers the best of both worlds; modern amenities with relaxed comfort. Everyone is welcome and the hostel also offers dog-friendly accommodation.
Plas Curig Hostel houses a variety of room options from its ‘Bunk Rooms,’ which sleep four, to larger rooms that sleep eight. Each ‘Bunk Room’ has built in bunk beds with curtains for privacy, a comfy mattress, cosy hypoallergenic bedding and a warm Welsh wool blanket. Double, twin rooms and family rooms are also available, and children younger than two are welcomed with cots free of charge. None of the rooms are en-suite, but there are private shower rooms with a shower, toilet and basin.
‘Bunk Rooms’ cost from £22.50 per person per night, with the exclusive hire of all 59 beds available from £1,000 per night. Find out more at www.snowdoniahostel.co.uk
GENERATOR HOSTEL, PARIS
Generator, the contemporary brand that’s transforming the European hostel scene with its hip urban properties, has now branched out to Paris. Its latest hostel, located in the city’s fashionable 10th Arrondissement, will be the largest Generator to date, housing 916 beds.
Rooms range from en-suite shared rooms from €25 per bed, to private rooms starting at €98 per room. There are also premium twins on the eighth floor, with private balconies overlooking the treetops of Place du Colonel Fabien.
“Paris ranks with London and Berlin as one of the top three youth travel city destinations in the world,” says Carl Michel, Executive Chairman at Generator. “However affordable, centrally located accommodation has always been in short supply.”
“With its 916 beds, Generator Paris will allow visitors to see and experience the best of the city. Our customer philosophy is firmly anchored in providing guests with an authentic experience in each of our cities and we proudly welcome Paris as our 10th location.”
The Paris hostel – similar to all other Generators – evolves the hostel concept into a lifestyle experience for discerning travellers. Using local produce whenever possible, the hostel’s food includes traditional French dishes alongside Generator classics such as burgers, salads and artisan sandwiches. French wines and local beer Galia feature in the drinks menu, alongside a list of Paris-inspired cocktails.
The property includes a welcome lobby, a vibrant bar, a restaurant with gardenfacing veranda, a spacious chill out area and a spectacular rooftop terrace with sunset views of Montmartre and Sacré Coeur. Find out more at www.generatorhostels.com