During my solo trip to London, I stayed in the Selina Hostel in Camden. I went with a hostel to save a bit of money and meet some fellow travelers as well. After staying at this hostel for 8 days, as a solo black female traveler, I have developed some thoughts on my accommodation of choice. Thus, this hostel review of Selina Hostel in Camden was born. In this hostel review, I'm going to cover basic hostel information, my first impressions, and my experience staying here as a solo black female traveler.
Selina Hostel in Camden
Selina Hostel Camden is a hostel in the Camden area of North London, which is Zone 2. The exact address is:
89 Chalk Farm Rd, Chalk Farm
London, NW1 8AR, UK
The hostel itself has a lovely little restaurant/bar and lounge are on the first floor, which has 2 entrances. You can grab a meal, a drink, chill, and head downstairs to their lounge area for activities like yoga and performances.
The hostel is about a 2 minute walk from Camden Town Market, 2 minute walk from the bus stop, and a 30 second walk from the Chalk Farm Rd. tube station. The area around the hostel has a variety of pubs, restaurants, cafes, and stores. I mean, it's North London, so this cultural hub of an area is great for solo travelers to stay and explore!
It's such a diverse, fun, yet comfortable hostel that's conveniently located in North London! Plenty of things to see and do in the area, or, you can easily take the nearest tube into the inner zones of London.
How to get there
If you're trying to get to Selina Hostel in Camden (I came from Heathrow Airport), here's how you can get here:
- take an Uber from the airport to the hostel (this is what I did)
- take the tube (Piccadilly, Northern, or Victoria lines - depending on which airport you're coming from)
- take a bus: something like the Megabus
- you can drive (parking is a bit limited at the hostel)
- take a taxi
If you're arriving at a different airport, the options for getting to the hostel are similar. Be sure to do your research on how you can get there from the specific area you're flying into and which option would be right for you.
Cost of a room
At the time of booking my dorm room in 2022, it cost me $518.60 for 8 nights. I paid $81.68 upfront when I first booked the room and I paid the rest upon arrival, which was $436.92. The actual prices were in pounds (currency of the UK) but I put the American dollar amount for this post.
Since Selina Hostel is, like the name says, a hostel, there are multiple options for rooms. Your options for rooms are: dorm rooms and private rooms. Though, Selina Hostel has varying sets of private rooms, which I'll get into in a little bit.
Selina has one set of dorm style room, which is a 8 bed, mixed dorm room. This means that you share the room with males and females (or those who identify as such). The beds are bunk beds, so you get to choose between either a top or bottom bunk. In the dorm room, there's a bathroom with a toilet, sink, and shower. Though, if that's unavailable, there is another bathroom located next to the dorm room for you to use.
Now, there are different sets of private rooms at this hostel. These private rooms are going to cost you more money, if you're comfortable paying more for your room. The private rooms are broken down into the following categories:
The standard private room can sleep up to 2 people, has a private bathroom, and single bed. It's comfortable, lovely, just an overall great place to unwind. Private rooms also have a family/group option which can sleep up to 4 people. This option has a bunk bed and two twin beds, or a bunk bed and a queen size bed.
The private or "standard+" room provides you a spacious room with a queen size bed. It can sleep up to 2 people and has a private bathroom. The "suite" option gives you a bit of a higher end deal with the beautiful design and aesthetic.
Finally, the private plus room comes with a "loft" option, which offers the most luxurious experience for up to 2 guests. This room comes not only with a private bathroom but a kitchenette, sitting area, AND dining area! Catered to those travelers who are looking for a luxury experience for a relatively cheap price.
Last but not least, we have the private shared or "the micro" room. It offers a simple, clean, and compact accommodation option. Similar to train or ship cabins, this type of room is designed to give you the most basic and small option. The bathroom is shared with 4 other micro rooms as well.
All rooms have a full size mirror, AC, hot water, WiFi, and sockets near the bed. So, no matter which room you're staying in, you have the basics covered!
Selina Hostel in Camden has a few amenities on the premise to make your experience more comfortable, enjoyable, and memorable. Here are the featured amenities:
- free wifi - super important in today's day and age
- bar - remember that cafe/bar area I mentioned? Yeah, there's a bar here. The drinks are pretty good!
- live music - they will have live music in the basement area of the building on scheduled days
- they're pet-friendly
- contactless check-in
- movie room - I didn't get to check this out but it's awesome to know it exist!
- rooftop terrace - I didn't get the chance to check this out either but it sounds cool!
- shared kitchen - a small but good space
- elevator - there are elevators or lifts, since there are multiple floors in the building
It's not the fanciest of amenities but the listed ones are pretty cool and useful to have nonetheless!
Of course, for the hostel experience, there needs to be some activities in the mix. This hostel hosts a few activities, such as:
- live music
- yoga - on specific days
- happy hour
- performances - will vary depending on the day and month
Compared to other hostels, the selection of this Selina Hostel in Camden is mainly limited to performances, music, or entertainment. When I was there in March of 2022, they did offer a few yoga classes but only on specific days at specific times (I believe like 6am). Other than that I did not see, either on their website or in person, any free walking tours, excursions, or other activities.
Especially since there's a lot to see and do in the area, or is easy to get to other parts of London, I'd like to see more tours and excursions from this hostel. Maybe that's something for them to think about in the future.
My experience as a solo black female traveler
Now that we have done all the housekeeping, we can now move onto what it's like as a solo black female traveler staying in this hostel. Here's the juicy part!
My first impressions of this hostel in Camden was quite a positive one. When I walked through the door in the early morning hours, I immediately took a liking to it.
At first glance, I saw how clean the ground floor was, how friendly the staff person at the front desk was, and how cool the decor was. The designs, details, and color scheme appealed to me. I thought it brought a very fun, open, and bright feel to the hostel.
I walked over to the restaurant/bar area and liked the little set up. It’s quite a small area with a few tables but it works. The restaurant and bar is called PowerPlant, which is a plant based/vegan type of establishment.The menu has a variety of food dishes, drinks, and alcohol. I was actually impressed, because I was thinking it’d have like maybe 10 items tops.
Since this is North London, I saw a variety of different races and ethnicities come through the hostel doors. Which, as a black female traveling, was very refreshing to see. I love seeing diversity when I travel. Though, that’s not always the case, I found comfort in the fact that there were other travelers from different walks of life.
I must say, this hostel is very clean. The room was very clean and so were the beds. The bathroom was kept clean and was cleaned on a daily basis. I never felt disgusted to use the bathroom.
Overall, very pleased with the conditions of the room and bathroom. Even in the hallway, restaurant and bar area, it was evident that this accommodation was kept clean.
Though, when I saw that we didn’t have any place to lock our stuff away, it made me a bit uncomfortable. I had to trust the other travelers in the hostel to not steal my stuff. Luckily, nothing happened to my belongings and everyone was very good about keeping their stuff in their own space and not touching anyone else’s stuff.
From what I saw, men and women from different walks of life came and went through that dorm. There were travelers from the USA like myself, Asia, elsewhere in the UK, Israel, Spain, and other countries across the world. Plus, I also met another black female traveler during my stay int he hostel. This was amazing!
Sometimes, as a person of color, you’re the only one present in a very homogenous room. In other words, being the only person of color in a room full of people who are of a dominant race or ethnicity. So, it was lovely to see and know that Selina Hostel Camden was a melting pot for travelers.
The overall atmosphere or vibe of the place was very friendly, low key, and chill. This isn’t a loud, party type of hostel. This hostel, I’d say, is catered to the 25-35 age group. A lot of the other travelers in the hostel, that I met, were in their early twenties, thirties, or maybe early forties.
There are a variety of reasons why travelers flock to this hostel. At the end of the day, they went with this hostel not only for the beautiful layout, designs, and amenities but for the peace, quiet, and low key nature.
I truly enjoyed this type of environment. Like I said, I’m not into loud, party, real outgoing type of hostels. Nothing against those types of hostels, really. Personally, going into my 30s next year, I just gravitate toward a different type of environment for my accommodations. So, this hostel was a great choice for me.
I loved how the space was so low key and chill, yet positive and easy going. There wasn’t a second that went by where I felt the vibe was off, negative, or harmful to me. Particularly to a solo female traveler, who happens to be black as well, this was important. It let my mind and gut know that this was a safe space for a black female.
Meeting other travelers
Once I got settled into my dorm, I immediately met 2 other female travelers. Though the room was usually quiet, and I was usually out and about, I did talk to a few other travelers.
My mostly introverted self (I can be extroverted at times) didn’t have a difficult time talking to, meeting, and hanging out with other travelers. Both male and female alike. I talked to a few females, a male from Scotland, and enjoyed my interactions!
From the interactions I did have with other travelers, none of them showed any signs or behaviors which would’ve led me to think I was being singled out. They were all, to the best of my knowledge and gut feeling, very indifferent about me being a black female. All they really cared about was how respectable, positive, and nice I was.
If you’re looking for more of a chill hostel, catered to people in their 20s-30s, that’s still somewhat sociable, this is the hostel for you!
Interacting with staff
The staff were absolutely lovely and treated me with respect. From the minute I walked through the door, they greeted in a polite and warm manner. Even when I came in real late at night, they didn’t seem irritated or annoyed. They were all very professional, polite, and fun.
At times when I got drinks at the bar, the staff and bartender were all amazing to talk to. We got into a variety of conversations and I enjoyed the talks we had. From general questions and recommendations to shooting the breeze, the time I spent interacting with any staff member I encountered was nothing but positive and fun!
As a person of color, I didn’t feel singled out, discriminated against, or preyed upon. There wasn’t even a slight disdain in their voice, discrete racism, or anything like that. Sometimes, you can just tell when you’re being discriminated against by what people say and how they say it. None of that went on here and I’m thankful for that!
My final thoughts on Selina Hostel Camden are nothing but positive! I believe I made a great choice when choosing a hostel to stay in while I was in London.
Though I didn’t really participate in the amenities and activities here, the overall physical environment, atmosphere, and interactions with the staff were all very pleasant and wonderful. Even the other travelers in the hostel, when I did speak to them, were awesome and pretty chill. Each person was very approachable and interacted with me without any incident, even though I am a person of color.
Personally, I never felt like I couldn’t relate to anyone, different, or discriminated against. I am forever thankful to experiences and accommodations like this, because I know that’s not the case in other places.
Despite not having set lockers to lock our belongings away, this is a very cool hostel to stay in. If you are looking for amazing staff, diversity, and a chill space, Selina Hostel in Camden is the one for you!
Is Selina Hostel Camden worth it?
Is Selina Hostel Camden worth it? Well, personally for me, it’s worth it. It depends on what you’re looking for in a hostel. If you’re looking for more of a party hostel with a more social atmosphere, more or different types of activities, then this may not be for you.
However, considering the hostel’s location in London, staff, diversity, restaurant/bar, and activities available, I think it’s worth it. Or, if you have similar taste in accommodation environments, then you’ll do fine here.
Let’s not forget those travelers, particularly if you’re a black female traveler. It’s important to know the accommodation, what it’s like, and what you can possibly get yourself into if you decide to stay here. Because FEELING safe, equal, and at peace is super important. I can say from personal experience, this is a great option to my fellow black female travelers.
Though, I cannot guarantee the same type of experience for you, I do believe you’ll have a decent experience nonetheless.