Waking up in a hostel can be the stuff of nightmares. Throw Amsterdam in the mix, and it's a whole different ball game. From crusty sheets and college kids wandering the halls (tripping from their first blunt) to the hemp-wearing traveller playing Bon Iver on his ukelele, you get to a certain age where you just don't want to risk those types of encounters.
Waking up in The Generator Hostel, however, is nothing of the sort. From my comfy, twin bed in my private room, a curved wall made up of floor to ceiling windows looks out across Oosterpark. In eye-line with autumnal treetops, the morning light floods into an extremely spacious, minimalist room with pine-wood floors. I have my own bathroom and shower (complete with body wash and shampoo), a writing desk (where they left me Dutch waffles) and it's unbelievably quiet. I'd go so far as to say this is downright dreamy.
Generator Hostels were founded with a new generation of travellers in mind, who would rather spend their money discovering the city than on an overpriced hotel room, but still expect a level of design, comfort and quality. They have properties in Paris, London, Dublin, Copenhagen and more. Their Amsterdam property is located inside Oosterpark in the eastern part of the city. Set in what was once a zoological university, the space has preserved some of the old structure turning the lecture hall into a chill-out bar and the library space for events, while they also have their own nightclub, bar, café on site.
Can you tell it's a hostel? Sure. Step outside your room and the communal spaces are filled with young excited travellers (a man is passed out on the next door table for the entire time I eat breakfast) and they list bedside lamps as a room perk. But does it matter? No. As long as you're not heading here on serious business or a romantic weekend away this is a cool, comfortable and extremely reasonably priced stay in the city.
The hostel has 168 rooms that can accommodate up to 564 guests. Rooms are either twins or quadruples, but all have en-suite bathrooms which isn't always the case with hostels. The hostel also has a private luxury apartment for six, complete with a self-catered kitchen. Our room was a private twin facing the park with floor to ceiling windows overlooking a lake and surrounded by trees.
What's for breakfast?
Breakfast can be found at Nescio Café & Bar in the hostel itself. It's an international menu serving up eggs or smashed avocado on toast. Arguably more important, they offer a full coffee and tea bar.
How about lunch and dinner?
Nescio is open for lunch and dinner too. The menu offers simple salads like an iceberg wedge or chicken caesar, as well as a range of pizzas and sandwiches which may be roast chicken or a classic reuben. A meal here is light, simple and convenient.
Is there a bar?
Yes, actually there are two. The old lecture hall has been turned into a bar, with multiple levels and various places to chill. They maintained the classroom seating, turning it into a place for conversation and converted a mezzanine into a place for relaxing. During the day, the building's original windows allow natural light; come night, velvet curtains help turn the space into a late-night bar. In addition to the lecture hall, they have created a secret bar in the boiler room in the basement. Both definitely have a younger crowd, but that tends to be the case with hostels.
From the hostel, they offer bike hire, giving you an easy mode of transport into the centre of the city. They also have laundry facilities, 24-hour reception, luggage storage and travel shop.
Things you should know
The hostel is a little out of the way but only a quick drive or cycle into the centre of the city.
Within a short walk you'll find…
The hostel is right on Oosterpark, so you have the entire park right at your fingertips. In autumn, the trees make for a phenomenal display of autumns colours. The Tropenmuseum is a short walk away, housing art pieces, photos and film with a focus on non-Western culture. Other tourist attractions such as the Heineken Experience are located a bit further away across the canal. The experience is between a 20- or 30-minute walk away, and just past that is the famous Rijksmuseum, the 'I Amsterdam' sign and the Van Gogh museum.