Open since 2011, the Generator Hostel Dublin is a modern hostel located on Smithfield Square, north of the River Liffey in Dublin. Housed in a former hotel, this property has a very contemporary feel and a range of room types – from spacious private rooms to a 10-bed Ladies Jacuzzi Suite – plus a very popular bar. I stayed here for four nights in April 2018 and this is my review of my visit. To give you a real feel for the hostel, I’ve included my own video above plus images below. If you find my Generator Hostel Dublin review helpful, be sure to leave me a comment below and let me know! 👇
Smithfield Square is a recently redeveloped part of Dublin, with a number of new build apartments and restaurants around it. The hostel is a short walk (around 10 minutes) from Temple Bar, the touristy area of Dublin. To be honest, this city is quite small so you’ll never be more than 20 minutes walk from anywhere you need to be. It’s a good location, because the Temple Bar area feels a bit like a pick-pocket hotspot, whereas this part of the city still feels a little edgier and cooler.
The hostel backs on to the Old Jameson Whiskey Distillery and the distillery’s chimney tower and the observation deck that sits on top of it is visible from the front of the hostel. Unfortunately, this viewpoint is no longer accessible to the public as it was closed some time ago due to health and safety concerns. The distillery itself is open for tours (from its Bow St side) and Generator can arrange a discount on an immersive tour and tasting (€16 instead of €20).
I stayed in a 6 Bed Female Dorm for four nights. This room is normally more expensive than the standard mixed dorms, but they come with benefits of an in-room ensuite (while the others have to use the shared bathrooms), hairdryers and full-length mirrors. The room was clean and spacious, never feeling too packed even when all the beds were full.
Each bed had multiple UK power points plus a reading light. Underneath each set of bunks was a really large locker, lockable with your own padlock. The pillow and bed linen was clean and of decent quality, and although my mattress had spring poking out the side, it was still very comfy. Like the spring, my room had a wooden Venetian blind on the window that was fine but also a bit old.
This was something that I found throughout the hostel, in terms of furnishings and style: everything was very clean but a little tired. I really felt like the hostel was starting to be just past its prime. You wouldn’t describe it as cool. Everything from the poor quality graffiti in the bar to the shonky blind in my bedroom showed how dated the hostel is. Whilst nothing is wrong with the property, it stood out for not having the designer poshtel feel you would expect from the Generator brand. It simply needs a refurb and a refresh. Otherwise, the hostel was faultless.
I’m very particular about bathrooms (I hate seeing even a suggestion of mould) so I was very pleased to discover that the ensuite bathroom in my dorm was spotlessly clean. The bathroom consisted of a toilet, a shower and a sink with a mirror. The shower had a slip matt on the floor and strong water pressure. The water was always hot, sometimes even too hot – the cold frequently cut out during my showers leaving me feeling momentarily scolded. That’s better than a cold shower on a freezing April day, though, so I’m not complaining.
Breakfast is served every morning, from 8am till midday, and includes lighter options such as a continental breakfast from €4, whilst a cooked breakfast (such as a Full Irish with sausage, bacon, eggs and beans) is more expensive. I didn’t eat breakfast here as I prefer to explore the brunch options that the city has to offer when travelling – and Dublin has some great ones.
The Generator Hostel Dublin has a very vibrant bar that held events every night while I was there. Being located right behind the Old Jameson Whiskey Distillery (now a museum that you can tour), the spirit is a key feature of the bar – there’s even a chandelier made out of its bottles. This bar was always busy after dark, with both guests and locals (well, that was my assumption from the accents). It wasn’t especially cheap, but few places were in Dublin.
In addition to the bar, there’s also a cafe-style area that extends from the reception where you can easily chill with a book or a laptop. The wifi was strong throughout all the spaces around the hostel and in my room, which was good as I read many complaints about this that were a couple of years old.
There is also a cinema room and a laundry room apparently, although I didn’t check these out. One of my roommates said the laundry was quite filthy when she tried to use the facilities, which is surprising to me considering how clean everything else was around the hostel.
Outside the hostel, there were multiple places to eat on Smithfield Square: Freshii apparently offer great healthy options for breakfast and lunch, whilst Boojum is a Tex Mex chain that does HUGE portions and is especially good for anyone vegan or gluten-free as their menu is broken down with all their ingredients on the counter. If you fancy experiencing traditional Irish music in a proper old pub, you shouldn’t miss The Cobblestone also on Smithfield Square. The beers were cheap and the locals were really friendly.
The Generator Hostel Dublin is a good choice for this city as many of the other hostels are not very stylish, fitting with the more traditional image of what a low-budget hostel is like. Unfortunately, this means it can be expensive: I booked well in advance and still paid around €40/night, which felt really pricey. It also means that the hostel doesn’t need to make much of an effort to attract travellers and is probably in need of a refurb. As I mentioned above, the graffiti theme in the reception and the bar feels really tackily done and isn’t really fitting with the chic interiors of the other Generator Hostels I’ve stayed at. I imagine until there’s another poshtel in Dublin to really give them competition, they won’t spend much money changing this one – which is a shame as it’s a great property in a good location. I’m probably being a little picky about the hostel’s style because aside from this, my experience was pretty faultless. I enjoyed my stay at the Generator Hostel Dublin and would recommend it for any fabulous traveller.