Thinking of staying at Base Backpackers St. Kilda? Here is our first-hand experience and what we thought about the Melbourne party hostel.
After hearing recommendations from friends for a few different hostels in Melbourne, we decided to stay at Base Backpackers in St. Kilda.
From what we had heard, Base was home to some legendary events and was known as the party hostel in the area. As a franchise, we assumed Base would be of a decent enough standard across the board. Also having read Nomadic Matt’s review as one of his “favourite hostels” it had to be up there.
As you walk through the automatic doors, reception is on the left, closely followed by a travel desk where you can book tours etc.
There is a communal kitchen downstairs on the right where you can leave your food. A TV, three sofas as well as tables and chairs are provided for your comfort.
The main hangout has to be The Red Eye bar – a fully stocked bar and restaurant serving standard pub grub. Decor is modern, complete with a fake grass area and giant deck chairs to slouch around in. This room also features a pool table and arcade games.
A smoking area is also provided to the left of the bar.
Our experience at Base Backpackers
When we first arrived, we were greeted by a European girl behind the desk. Like most hostels, Base employs travellers by offering free accommodation.
She led us through the main social area before heading up the elevator to our dormitory.
We were allocated an eight-bed mixed dorm, with an en-suite to share. The room was not very spacious but had large under bed lockers to stash the most of your things. The shared bathroom was of a decent enough standard with a large shower.
Unfortunately the positives of the room end there. Heavy-handed “cleaners” would wake us every morning by smashing a hoover into the metal framed bunk beds. You could tell that the room was never properly cleaned from the funky smell that lingered for the duration of our stay.
The beds themselves were also not great – every slight movement would wake up your neighbours with a high pitched squeak. Unlike other hostels the beds had no curtains or separators leaving even the slightest bit of privacy impossible.
Having read that free wifi was available we were keen to log on and search for jobs during our stay, however, it would only work in a few spots downstairs in the communal area. You can actually pay for “faster” wifi. We would suggest not wasting your money on this option as it was just as bad as the free version.
The upstairs common area and bar were great. The beer selection was not the greatest but for most staying at Base, cheap and cheerful wins the day.
We liked the up to date decor and appreciated the games when the weather outside was playing up. The events were great fun. On our first night, we ended up winning a $100 bar tab at Trivia night!
Cooking in the kitchen was not the most pleasant of experiences. At the time we stayed, there were far too many people at the hostel for the amount of space available.
If like us, you can’t afford to eat out every day then we would recommend choosing off-peak meal times to prepare and eat. The best way to keep your food safe is to keep it in a cool bag, labelled and locked.
Would we recommend Base Hostel?
Base is a decent place to crash and recover after getting loose in the “Red Eye Bar” downstairs with the many other backpackers keen for a party.
The bar puts on a different event each night. From “boozy bingo” to “thrift shop Thursdays”, all events are designed to get people mingling together, have a good time and spend money at the bar of course.
One thing worth mentioning is that Base does not allow you to buy alcohol from a shop to consume on the premises. As Brits, we are accustomed to a cheap cheeky pre-drink. Everyone still does it, just be sure to not get caught walking in with a backpack in the shape of a goon box! They are pretty uptight with this rule and will confiscate your booze.
We’re not sure if we would agree on this being one of the best hostels in the world, but would be perfect if you are a solo traveller and fancy a mad week in St. Kilda. If like us you are a couple, maybe a few nights would be enough. You can always come and join in the nightly events even if you aren’t staying in the hostel.
*Disclaimer* This was all accurate in November 2017 when we stayed at Base St Kilda.