Affordable and basic Old Town hostel
Picturesque cobbled streets. Wonky Medieval houses. Flowering red Geraniums hanging from the windows. Is that is the Stockholm experience you want? Then Old Town Lodge with its saffron-colored building from the 16th century fits the bill. The minimalist hostel has its fans among travelers wishing for a convenient yet affordable stay.
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.
Old Town Lodge hostel at a glance
As all Old Town buildings, this one comes with a history. According to the hostel, the house contains part of the old inner city wall from the 13th century. In the 18th century, you would find a horse stable here, and later a sail-making company. Despite the limits coming with an old building, the owners have modernized it well while keeping the charm of exposed brick walls.
The hostel has 19 rooms and a total of 46 beds. Rooms in the basement (like mine) are without windows but still get some charm from exposed brick walls. There are single-, double- and family rooms, as well as cubicles in dormitories.
The Location – right in the middle of Stockholm
It won’t surprise me if Old Town Lodge‘s location turns out to be in the exact center of Stockholm. That is how central it is. You are minutes away from the Royal Palace and Storkyrkan. Shopping street Drottninggatan and Södermalm are both within easy walking distance. If you want to avoid public transport, this is a good choice. The nearby ferry takes you to Djurgården with the Vasa Museum, Skansen, and Gröna Lund. All in all, this location is as convenient as it gets.
The Reception – checking in, 007-style
Arrive during opening hours, and you’ll have a regular check-in. When I arrived at 17:30, the reception of Old Town Lodge had closed half an hour before. This lead to a check-in process that made me feel like a secret agent (although without the glamour). You get an email before arrival. One code for the front door, a second for a safety box with an envelope with your name. Open it to find a map of the hostel, as well as a third code for your room.
That staff was invisible until I checked out, but were friendly enough in the emails we exchanged before arrival. You can check in after 14:00 and check out before 11:00 – pretty standard. Even though the self-check-in worked fine, the staffed check-in hours felt short. If you want to talk to a member of the staff or want more information about the city, you’d better arrive between 14:00 and 17:00.
After booking, you receive a welcome email. The email lists things you can pre-order that would be in your room upon arrival. I opted for sheets and a towel (65 SEK). You can also other things in advance for your room, such as Coca-Cola, noodles, and ravioli.
The Room – minimalist room with exposed brick wall
I booked a single bedroom without a window for 583 SEK, plus towels and linen for 65 SEK, with bathroom and toilet in the corridor, staying 9th-10th of July, 2018. The spacious room Kungsholmen was in the basement, once upon a time dedicated to storing eggs. While I don’t mind stairs, you’ll want to ask for a room on the ground floor if mobility is an issue.
The star of the spartan room was the exposed brick wall. Bricks and stones of random shapes, all fitted together, with the odd beam squeezed in… we’re talking the authentic kind that causes Instagram envy.
The bed was generous for single occupancy, but I have a feeling that this room sometimes works as a small double. When it comes to bed comfort, I had no complaints.
The rest of the furniture consisted of a wall-mounted table and a ladder for hanging clothes. I would have appreciated a chair, and there was plenty of space for one. Hopefully, you didn’t come to Stockholm to hang out in your room. If you did, this ain’t the place for you.
The table fan was a nice gesture as the summer was hot, but it wasn’t needed as the room kept a comfortable temperature.
The room was generally quiet, with some noise as people moved outside in the corridor. While I was grateful for the ventilation in the ceiling, it created a constant humming sound, and I didn’t see how I could turn it off or lower the noise.
The lasting impression of the minimalist room is: somewhat worn but clean. The same can verdict holds for the bathrooms in the corridor. They get a solid “okay” for freshness. While the standard was simple, they were clean.
The Facilities – bare-bones but welcoming
As you enter the hostel, a wall filled with thank-you-cards from previous guests and a sideboard with tourist information lead to a spartan but cozy lounge area with a guest kitchen. Other than that, there are no communal areas. In the lounge area, you’ll also find the reception when it is open.
There was no safe or locker, something I would have liked if leaving my laptop and camera in the room.
Old Town Lodge has a small but adequate guest kitchen, where you’ll find your breakfast in the morning. A couple of families and groups of friends also used it for preparing dinner during my stay.
The Breakfast – minimal, but included in the price
Continental breakfast is complimentary but not for the breakfast gourmet. It consisted of milk and cornflakes; two types of marmalade; butter; cheese; toast and hard bread. Apart from that, you can make coffee or tea yourself. Breakfast follows the house rule “do the dishes yourself.” Nothing here was particularly exciting – I would have preferred to pay and get a better selection.
Are you a breakfast person like me? Then you might want to purchase food to make breakfast yourself or look elsewhere for a more filling and exciting option.
Who should stay at Old Town Lodge hostel?
At the entrance, an entire wall showcases cheery thank-you-letters and drawings from happy guests. The spartan-cozy look gave a nice vibe overall. While I am sure many travelers enjoy the stay, I left Old Town Lodge feeling that I didn’t have much to say. It could be that I was grumpy in the morning and therefore extra unimpressed by the breakfast, or that it felt strange not to meet the staff until I checked out. Without having any real complaints, I didn’t feel any connection with the place. After staying at several budget hostels and hotels in Stockholm, Old Town Lodge failed to stand out for me. I would instead recommend the personal Hotel Hornsgatan on Södermalm. For a similar cost, I got attentive staff, much better breakfast and a beautiful room with a window.
That said, my stay was decent. So, if you’re looking for a single room in Stockholm, this is one of your cheapest and most centrally located options. There are also other room options where you either stay in a dormitory or a room with a window. As Old Town is notorious for being expensive, this is a fair option if you want to stay in this area and keep costs down.