A green oasis in the middle of Södermalm
STF Zinkensdamm Hostel is the perfect choice for those who can’t choose between having a beer or two in lively bars and relaxing in the park. Here, both options are a few minutes away. Apart from a lumpy pillow, the hostel offered a pleasant stay in a beautiful setting.
All opinions are my own. I paid for this stay in full and had checked out before revealing that I wanted to review it. If you book your stay through a link in this review, I get a small commission at no extra cost to you.
STF Zinkensdamm Hostel
- Lush, quiet surroundings with beach nearby
- Secluded inner garden
- Cooked options on the hostel breakfast buffet
- Guest kitchen with free pasta
- Late check-out time (12:00)
- Room and bathrooms could do with an updated
- Lumpy pillows - all three I tested in the room
Zinkensdamm Hostel at a glance
The first impression of Zinkensdamm Hostel is not as much of the long, yellow building, but the lush settings. If you want to pretend to be in the countryside while staying in the middle of Stockholm, you’ve come to the right place. The hostel has quirky interiors, with the walls of the corridors close to the reception made to look like house facades.
At first, I thought that the entire hostel had been taken over by over-zealous runners clad in spandex. The rest of the guests turned out to be more mixed, with families, a few older couples and groups of teenagers, which created a lively atmosphere. Soccer fans watched the World Cup in the bar. Families with young children cooked hot dogs and macaroni in the guest kitchen. Teenagers were discussing their bounty from Beyond Retro, a vintage shop nearby. You can tell that the place appeal to all sorts and the hostel had an international clientele.
The building is from the 50s and has been a hostel since 1975. The hostel has 59 rooms with 208 beds, and the newer hotel building has 87 rooms with 280 beds.
The Location – an oasis on Södermalm
One of the greenest areas of central Stockholm is the setting of Zinkensdamm Hostel. To start with, well-kept allotments overflowing with roses and fruit trees surround the hostel. You have the park Tantolunden next to the hostel. In the summer, this is the perfect place for a picnic, bathing, or enjoying some games or sports. If you want to enjoy the city from the water, Långholmen Kayak isn’t far away.
This location works well if you don’t mind walking a bit to reach the sightseeing attractions like Old Town. That said, you only have a leisurely ten-minute walk to the subway stations of Zinkensdamm and Hornstull. There are plenty of shops, restaurants, bars, and cafés in the area, with the closest hotspot being around the Hornstull subway station.
If you’re traveling alone, it might be good to know that the hostel is located off the main road. Walking from Zinkensdamm, you’ll walk through a well-lit but quiet green area for five minutes. From Hornstull, there’s a footpath between residential buildings from Hornsgatan.
The Reception – with the hostel’s own honey
If I wanted a measure on how green and lush the area is, it was right on the counter of the reception. A beekeeper next to the hostel sells his honey here – as local as it gets. I couldn’t resist getting a jar.
The receptionists turned out to be almost as sweet. When I enquired about the closest shops, they produced a map for me and made sure to mark out the best way. Somehow, they managed to joke and turn a pretty standard encounter into a positive experience.
The reception has a small shop selling drinks, sweets, and toiletries. Check-in is from 15:00 and check-out is before noon – generous hours for a hostel.
The Room – summer camp style but fresh enough
I booked a bed in four-bed women’s dormitory for 270 SEK, plus 100 SEK for bed linen and towel, breakfast 95 SEK, staying 3rd-4th of July 2018. You make your own bed, and if you rent bed linen and towel, you receive those when checking in.
The sturdy pine-wood furniture made me think of summer camp. The room fits two bunk beds, a desk with a chair and four lockers – that’s it. You receive a room key to your locker as you check in – no need to bring a padlock. The information sheet on the door claims Zinkensdamm is “the most comfortable pillow on Södermalm.” Unfortunately, I can’t agree. Even though I swapped my pillow for the best from the two unoccupied bunk beds, I still had an uncomfortable, lumpy pillow. But, this was my only real complaint on the room.
The room was clean, and I’ll blame the faint sweat smell entirely on my roommate’s decision to hang her training clothes.
Bathrooms and toilets are in the corridor. The nearest women’s bathroom looks like that of an old public bathhouse. While it doesn’t win any style points, it was clean and had five showers.
The Facilities – enjoying summer in the hostel’s private garden
Zinkendamm hostel has a restaurant, a bar, and two breakfast halls. Guests have access to a well-equipped kitchen with free pasta. Close to the large guest dining rooms, there is plenty of seating for hanging out, with TV, books and some games and toys for children.
I appreciated that there were plenty of opportunities for sitting outside. Don’t miss the secluded inner garden with its lush lavender and roses bushes.
Guests can do laundry in the basement and use the computers in the area next to the reception.
The hostel does have a sauna. You need to notify the reception 15 minutes before you want to use it, and the cost is 50 SEK, which includes a towel. If you want a workout, you can buy access (100 SEK) to the gym House of Shapes, which is a two-minute walk away. Otherwise, there are several tracks around Zinkensdamm Hostel for going for a run or biking. You can also rent bikes per hour or per day at the reception.
The Breakfast – standard buffet with cooked food
There are no less than two breakfasts – one hotel breakfast and one hostel breakfast. The hostel breakfast cost 95 SEK for adults and 50 SEK for children. As a hostel guest, you could still buy the more expensive hotel breakfast. However, the receptionist was unsure what the difference was, apart from waffles and a higher price point (175 SEK).
The selection of porridge, yogurts, bread, and fruits made for a standard buffet offer but was of good quality. Compared to other hostel breakfasts in the same price range, this one had done a better job offering cooked breakfast. I would have wished for the bacon to be less well-fried, but the scrambled eggs were well-seasoned. Allergy-friendly options were well-marked. Luckily, the chilly morning had just become warm enough that it was possible to have breakfast outside during my visit.
Who should stay at Zinkensdamm Hostel?
If you’re dreaming of a green stay but still want to be able to do sightseeing and discover Stockholm, then this is a great location. While the communal areas and the hostel rooms hold a basic standard that won’t win heaps of style points, the hostel felt well-kept and clean.
Does that sound all good, but a bit too basic? If you stay in one of the hotel rooms, you’ll get a higher standard as well as a private bathroom. Also, breakfast is included for hotel guests.