Here’s my review of the other hostel I stayed in while in London.
The Meininger is quite a different deal than the Palmers Lodge: as part of a chain that was started by a German hotel group they cater mostly to groups, in my case German students on a class trip and travelers from different Asian countries on extensive European tours. The reason I picked it in the first place (in addition to the exceptional 14.50 GBP p.n. deal I got) was best described by a South Korean roommate: ‘I stayed with them in Berlin . I heard they were German. So I thought they were very clean and organised.’
First the good news: it’s really close to the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and Victoria & Albert, and my 6th floor room was overlooking the Natural History Museum all the way down to Big Ben. No need to say more. But the room was also clean, spacious with a sink en suite, linen was provided and there were plenty of toilets and showers on the floor.
So had I not had the Palmers Lodge experience I would have been more than happy. However, in comparison I noticed that the details weren’t quite as thought through (no sockets by the bed, no curtains round the bed or night lights, not even hooks to dry towels, tiny lockers…). Even worse, yet, the Meininger charges for things that were included at the Palmers Lodge and that make life on the road ever so much more comfortable: breakfast – though being slightly more diverse – adds 4 GBP to the bill if booked on arrival, otherwise it’s 4.50 GBP; Wi-Fi access adds another 5 GBP per 24h.
As for atmosphere: the Meininger is based in the Baden Powell House which is operated by the UK Boy Scouts and serves as conference center. I had the pleasure of listening to a choir practice while waiting for my bus to Paris tonight. That was really nice. There is a lounge area with a coffee shop / bar on the ground floor. That being said it is not the kind of space where travelers would hang out, meet and exchange stories. Gloucester Road on the other hand offers a wide range of restaurants and supermarkets (no facilities to prepare food at the Meininger, though).
The verdict: the Meininger Hostel & Hotel Hyde Park is a safe bet if you’re looking for a clean, reasonably priced and conveniently located space to stay in London. To put in a carlegory: it’s more like a Volvo than a VW Beetle.