Hostel Köln: A hotelier’s hostel in Cologne, Germany

It’s a 15 minute walk to Hostel Köln from the Cologne main train station, or just two stops on the U-bahn to Neumarkt; and that means it’s perfectly situated to walk into the funky Belgian quarter, the old town shopping and sightseeing district, and towards the waterfront.

Just a note, Köln is the German spelling of Cologne.

I was immediately struck by the clean lines and modern interior of the Hostel Köln reception area: grey floor, warm wooden desk, and a large lobby with low tables and red seats. It was more hotel than hostel, and that impression was reinforced as we exited on the 7th floor and headed to our room.

A double bed (with two single mattresses, in the European fashion) was ours, while a bunk bed inset into the wall acted as a second space for baggage. A small wardrobe was there, with hangers for clothes; a desk, TV and phone were also in the room.

The bathroom was nice: white and grey minimalism with silver highlights, and enough space to move around. The shower was large and we had no problems with water temperature or pressure during our four-night stay.

The views from our corner room looked south and west over the city: several church towers were visible, as well as the large breakfast terrace. All these windows gave the room lots of light, but as we did a room inspection one morning, it seemed all the rooms were well-lit with natural light, even on the first floor at 10am on an overcast morning.

Views from the 7th floor

Views from the 7th floor

I spent several hours on the reception floor, where coffee and drinks were available for a small fee: just off to the side of reception was a little niche with antique furniture (conveniently located by many power points) and it was a nice place to sit and work. A small outside lounge area was located behind me, where people sat for a smoke.

Unlike most hotels in Germany, the entire hotel is non-smoking: every room. This isn’t the only ground-breaking feature: Elmar, the owner, told us they were the first hotel in Germany to offer free wifi without a login. And that wifi reached our room easily, although I heard one person complaining it didn’t reach their room. Ethernet internet was also available in every room, with cables available from the front desk, and two desktops were freely available in reception.

Non-smoking, free wifi, but it’s the breakfast that really stands out: several types of cereal; several types of yogurt; canned and dried fruit, nuts, and vegetables; a dozen types of bread and spreads; two cut cheeses and a big wedge of camembert or brie; freshly scrambled eggs; a tray of different hams and salamis… It was amazing. They had 16 types of tea from a boutique producer, but the coffee was not too exciting and only came in full cups from a dispenser. I’m not much of a breakfast person, but breakfast ran until 11am weekdays, and midday on the weekends! Now that’s service :)

Hostel Koln is pleasantly odd in other ways too: children under six stay free, and under 12 at half-price, so young families might stay for just €89 including the use of a free baby bed: that’s amazing value. They don’t have dorms at all: all guests hire by the room, so if you’re a solo traveller, you won’t save money here — but you will have a four- or five-star hotel-quality accommodation and breakfast for hostel prices. They do a lot of work with student groups, and have good disabled facilities (hard to find in hostels), as well as catering to many executives in town for trade fairs or other business.

Prices fluctuate depending on season and especially for the larger trade fairs, but current availability and pricing can be found on

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