Last month took me and some friends through Northern Europe, mainly through Latvia, but also to Sweden and Denmark. We bookended our trip in Riga on the weekends, but during the week we took a Tallink ferry to Stockholm, and then we flew to Copenhagen.
Arriving in Copenhagen at 8:15am on a Thursday morning required us to leave for Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport at an even more ungodly 4:30am. Once in Copenhagen, we took our luggage on the train several stops towards the Generator Hostel, where we would be staying.
Stepping out of the Copenhagen Metro at the Kongens Nytorv station, it was but a 7-minute walk over cobblestone streets that took us past the Kongens Nytorv (“King’s New Square”), Copenhagen’s largest square, before reaching the massive, industrial-style building that is Generator Hostel on the Adelgade street. Generator immediately feels welcoming, with its signs all over speaking about itself in the first person (“When it comes to Great Dane’s, I am the greatest.“) and the energetic buzz of dozens of backpackers eating breakfast emanating from the dining area opposite the reception.
We were quite early, as check-in time wasn’t for several more hours; however, the hostel has a useful room for guests like us wishing to let some weight off their shoulders, and the staff kindly allowed us to throw our luggage in there so that we could go wander the city until check-in time. As we were about to head out, a guy with a clipboard came up to us and asked us if we’d like to join his 3-hour walking tour, and we happily accepted; though the free walking tour of Copenhagen is not affiliated with the hostel, Generator is large and prominent enough to attract such attention, adding to the convenience of the place.
Upon getting our room card, we went up to our 8-bed dorm on the elevator. The room had four bunk beds, as expected, organized into a 2x2x2x2 pattern along the length of the room on one side, while the other side of the room offered two showers, a sink and mirror area between them, and a separate toilet, quite sufficient even for the busiest of times – and every dorm has similar installations.
The beds are comfortable and firm, and you are provided with a blanket, a blanket cover (for free, something that I’ve had to pay for at other hostels), pillow, and pillowcase. The bunk beds are surprisingly sturdy, as I immediately noticed how the metal frame did not creak and groan as I climbed to the top. At the head of every bed, built in to the headboard frame, are 2 electrical outlets and a reading light, a small luxury that goes a long way and that spoke volumes of the numerous features that Generator has to offer. Generator sets the bar high.
The in-dorm showers and toilets are immensely convenient, but I woke up at the crack of dawn and wanted a shower, not knowing how loud the sound might be for my fellow dorm mates and not wanting to arouse them; fortunately, on each floor are more public showers and baths, for just this idea. I was able to take my time and not fret about waking my friends and the others in this 3-toilet, 1-shower, co-ed facility adjacent to my room. Remember to bring your own towel, though you can also pay to borrow one from the front desk.
Dining Area & More
The dining area is located on the second floor (I’m American, perhaps you’d refer to this as the first floor; it’s the one above the street level), opposite the reception area. There is ample stool seating to one side, which seemed to be a popular staging and waiting area for guests no matter what time it was. Going past the seating area you get to the breakfast buffet area on the left, followed by the cafe where you can pay for the breakfast (using little plastic chits obtained at check-in) or order something off their menu.
The morning breakfast is a simple affair, though the energy with all the other guests might make it seem a bit chaotic; simply give the guy/gal behind the counter your breakfast token, and have a go at the small but sufficient buffet. Breakfast is a relatively inexpensive (for Copenhagen) DKK 75 (~$13/£8), and is served each morning at the café from 7am to 11am; if you pay for the breakfast in advance, that is, at check-in, I believe that they knock off about DKK 10 or so. The buffet items are mostly of the cold variety and include such things as rolls, jams, yogurt, sliced deli meats and cheeses, cereals and milk, coffee, tea, and some juices.
Aside from breakfast, food can be purchased throughout the day at the café, with a dinner served between 5pm and 9.30pm every evening. After the café is a small bar, and like any regular bar, there are happy hour times as well as special nightly themed activities, such as “Ladies Night” and so on. Drink prices are not bad, and knocking back a few beers at the hostel might be a frugal pre-game plan before venturing into the exorbitant prices of the real Scandinavian world outside. Continuing past the bar, the room opens up into a massive lounge area, replete with islands of cushioned couches in a magnitude that can only be compared to the living room/salon department of a giant furniture warehouse. Some are positioned around a television, while more are simply facing each other to accommodate groups of guests wanting to rest outside of their dorm.
Behind the large common lounge area are some computer terminals. And on the window side of the lounge area, extending all the way back towards the dining court, is an outdoor patio area where one can smoke or get some fresh air (probably not concurrently); chairs and “sun loungers” are set up to relax on outside.