GENERATOR Hostel to open in Paris!


Generator are set to go Parisian chic in Winter 2014! Yes, the secret is out and confirmed on new promotional materials, which first circulated at ‘City Fair’ Wembley at the end of June.

The huge property is located in the 10th Arrondissement, close to  Gare du Nord… and coincidentally just a few blocks from the newest St. Christopher’s hostel to open in Paris.

While St. Christopher have the location (you will see it first as you come out the station), Generator have the beds – almost 1000! By far the biggest hostel bed offering in a hostel in France.

Once the property is fully renovated and individually styled with French flair, it will offer penthouse rooms with private terraces, a vast selection of dorms and private rooms, large bar and nightclub, cafe and lounge and a range of entertainment – making it a premier addition to the haven of arts and cafe culture the area is now bursting with.

The property will have views towards Montmartre and the Sacre Coeur and will obviously be in high demand for both FIT and group bookings, the latter which will be keenly utilised by both buyer and supplier.

So – the question is… which part of the year of Winter 2014 will the property actually be unveiled in all it’s ‘je ne sais quoi’?! That’s something that the Generator are keeping secret for now 😉




Traverse Brighton, April 2013


Finally – I booked to go to this travel blogging conference in the UK… this weekend!

Very last minute, but as I live in London and it’s in Brighton… I can definitely squeeze it in  🙂

Would have loved to have stayed for the full three days, but I am off to Athens for a work trip on Sunday. At least the main conference day (Saturday) I will be able to attend.

Traverse 2013 bills itself as being:

‘a brand new conference designed for travel bloggers who lead busy lifestyles and want to gain real hands on knowledge that they can apply to their own work. The conference aims to bring together travel bloggers, PR’s, tourist boards and travel companies to experience an alternative conference’.

There will be excellent speakers giving sound advice and great tips on how to really improve your blog and promote yourself. Speakers include professional bloggers, photographers, marketing and social media whizzes, freelance journalists and travel editors for major publications!

Of course, majority of the other attendees will be fellow bloggers of all ages and at all stages with their blogs. The purpose is to learn, network and hopefully exchange lots of info and support each other in our similar quests. I have met a few bloggers at other major travel conferences before. This time is different though, as I am not there to represent the OTA I work for, but for myself! Ryan Bennett of RyansAirAdventures! See the world for less.

Hopefully it will be easy enough to book some 1:1 time with the professionals (Pro Bars) who are holding personal chats with us bloggers. There are even competitions to win while at this event. The first includes a seven day ship cruise around Italy, Spain & France courtesy of MSC Cruises (a sponsor). The second is courtesy of Visit Denmark and includes a few weekend packages to Copenhagen for multiple winners – with the aim for one of the bloggers to win the title of “Visit Denmark’s Blogger of the Year”.

The following people will be on panels or invited as guest speakers:

  • Steve Keenan

» Travel Perspective

  • Tom Robinson

» Tom Robinson Photography

  • Kirsten Alana

» Aviators and a Camera

  • Greg Brand

» Travizeo

  • Adrian Land

» My Destination

  • Julie Falconer

» A Lady In London

  • Kevin May

» Tnooz

  • Matt Preston

» Places To Go
» Travel with a mate

  • Frankie Thompson

» As The Bird Flies Blog

  • Jayne Gorman


  • Jodi Ettenberg


  • Ruth Haffenden

» Four bgb

  • Will Peach

» The Gonzo Traveller

  • Liz Scarff


  • Carol Driver


  • Chris & Hannah Alford


I’m really excited now… flying by the seat of my pants! If you read this and are attending – please let me know.

Check out the full details on the Traverse website

Happy travels!


Tearing down the remainder of the Berlin Wall?

Berlin Wall

Huge news coming out from Berlin the last few months was regarding the plans for the destruction of the remainder of the ‘East Side Gallery‘ section of the Berlin wall. Can you believe it?! When i heard i was shocked, but not surprised…

I was recently in Berlin for ITB again… the last two years I have happily stayed wt PLUS Berlin, which is just a few minutes walk away from the East Side Gallery. Great location, right near Kruezberg and hot clubs like Chalet and Berghain/Panorama.

Berlin Wall

While I was there, my good friend living in Berlin was telling me how these German property developers wanted to build river side apartments, right where the wall is. So, that was that – the wall was meant to be coming down, much to the disgust of many locals. An uproar was of course brewing back then (a month ago), so no surprise when at 5am this morning, when two hundred police turned up to ‘protect’ the developers (builders doing their dirty work) and protesters – it quickly filtered through to news around the world. Especially when a chunk of the wall was removed!

Berlin Wall

I don’t personally know all the details…but I can’t help think – wtf?! What are these guys thinking of starting the process of demolishing a unique part of Berlin’s history. Something that has become a major tourist attraction.. something that has brought art to the community and city… colour to grey… life to oppression. Is it simply better to erase and forget the dirty history for some, rather than having to be reminded of it daily? I think for the majority – NO!

Berlin Wall

Leave the damn wall alone. It was already iconic when it stood, a legend when it fell…. and now the remainder is an institution. Why plan to put it in a museum somewhere, or in a ‘retirement’ art park elsewhere in the city? Why not let it live where it has stood, live where it belongs… where visitors from Berlin, from Germany, who are connected in some way to its history – can come and visit and reflect. Where tourists and history buffs can wander freely, can touch the wall of former division, take photos of the iconic images in natural settings. Why make way for ‘gentrification’ and erase an important part of WORLD history. An important freestanding tourist attraction and multiple human interest story.

Berlin Wall

I will be watching the news keenly for how this story unfolds… and my friends and clients in Berlin will be keeping me up to date of course. I can’t image visiting Berlin and not driving or walking past a hugely relevant piece of its history.


Berlin can be reached by Ryanair or Easyjet

One80° Hostel Berlin win ‘Best Newcomer’


One80° Hostel have picked up yet another award – this time from Hostelbookers in their recent Awards for Excellence. I met up with some of their managers at ITB today to congratulate them of their win. Stella Lindemann, Guest Relations Manager for the property says of the win, ‘Wow, we did not expect to win anything, being new and not established….but now it feels like we made it! All the work, the blood and sweat, it all makes sense!’

Asked about the brand philosophy of One80°, she continues, ‘We are all a team. We all live and breathe One80°…it is love, positivity, kindness. It is a love for Berlin that comes from the staff, the knowledge….being informative and helpful.’

Walking into One80°, one could easily expect to be in a hotel. High spec finishes, high quality materials, vast communal spaces and am amazing basement nightclub and band room. Part of the Azure hotel group, they are quick to add, ‘we are definetly a hostel! This is part of the philosophy. We are a hostel, but from a hotel background. We bring a different perspective – a high customer focus but easy atmosphere’. Stella should know, her title says it all… Its not something that a typical hostel provides, but something found in four and five star hotels.

Asked about the biggest challenge faced when opening, Stella says, ‘It was to get people to see and recognise something new. For OTA’s to see us as a serious player. That, and the size – over seven hundred beds is big..we were so surprised at how many beds we sold…. A huge amount…even before we had opened. It was a high anxious energy when we opened. The first few days, all of a sudden it was all hands on deck….there was chaos, but in a beautiful way, where everyone worked together and it just became normal…it gelled.’

Already under an investor group of hotels, I ask if the One80° ‘hostel’ concept will be pushed further. I’m happy to know that their investors are already scouting for other locations. Where this will be is anyone’s guess, although Prague and London seem to denote a positive response. Wherever it is, the location must be central to attract a young and funky crowd – something which lent to the success of the current stand alone property in the heart of the city, Alexanderplatz. You know you are in Berlin when the looming view is the iconic TV tower ‘Fernsehturm!’

‘What about the name – there must be something in that?’, I ask. Of course there is a story which encompasses the response already given. Stella states, ‘Yes – One80° was thought of by the investors…. As they worked in hotels and wanted to open a boutique conceptual hostel, it was a one eighty degree turn on what they did, on what they thought a modern hostel should now offer…a hotel approach in a hostel environment…so, the brand is born!’

Brand?! Yes, confirming the brand again is exciting – a brand that is set to grow quickly off the back of the current success of one of the best new hostels opened in recent years. Not just in Europe, but worldwide. A feat that all Berliners should be proud of – party and highly desirable travel capital of Germany.

Get your photo taken in their photobooth after partying in their nightclub!

Get your photo taken in their photobooth after partying in their nightclub!

So what next for the current product? What has been missed that could be introduced? What other strategy is there for 2013? Both girls giggle and talk of how cool it would be to have a rooftop terrace, an infinity pool or rooftop lap pool, but these are most likely ideas for the next hostels. For now, the concept is perfect. The strategy revolves more around pushing the club facilities and promoting bands and dj’s, who they are happy to give a few free nights stay to in exchange for service and talent.

Julia Schroeder, Sales Manager adds, ‘All of us, the owners and investors, are really happy with the awards we receive. To see everything come together, from the design, to the customers, to the atmosphere created in our communal spaces where people are working, socialising, having fun….its amazing! We just didn’t realise the affect it would have.’

Chatting with the girls, I can see the passion and enthusiasm they have for the business. Julia has excellent experience in hospitality management, which she studied and worked in places such as the London Ritz Carlton and the Holiday Inn Berlin, before being snapped up by the Azure group. On the other hand, Stella comes from a teacher background, bringing the nurturing and caring side into the customer relations mix. They are a dynamic duo, riding a high wave of celebrated success.

So, who knows what is next? It seems like anything is possible for the One80° concept. Philosophy and strategy aligned, the Azure group’s next projects sound set to be touched and turned to gold…this could be the new brand to take on the likes of current ‘best chain’ winners Generator, PLUS and Equity Point in future years! Congrats!

For a full list of HostelBookers ‘Awards for Excellence’ 2013 winners – view here

Best Hostel Chains 2013

HostelBookers ‘Awards for Excellence’ have announced their ‘Best Chains’ for 2013 and the winners are:

Generator, PLUS and Equity Point!

All are juggernauts in the industry and set for expansion in 2013.

Generator Berlin Mitte is due to open towards the end of April, along with their two Barcelona properties (Hotel & Hostel – same building, separate receptions). The growth that Generator has experienced in the last two years has been phenomenal. Long gone are the days of having a stand-alone property in London – they now hold fort in Hamburg, Venice, Dublin, Copenhagen and Berlin East. They have recently re-branded with a new bright pink logo and have modernised their look, moving away from the rave hey day of the nineties.

Generator Logo

I was at ITB last week and attended a great party by Generator – billed as “rising from the ashes for one night only!” in the Mitte property. Great location for the hot ‘industrial Berlin’ party that ensued, with VJs, DJs spinning proper vinyl, fire performers and classy mixologists creating deadly cocktails for the night.

Equity Point is considered the most worldly of the three chains, with properties in the USA, UK, Spain, Portugal and Morocco. Equity Point also opens in Prague within the next few weeks. It’s location can’t be beat, in close proximity to Charles Bridge in the ‘Old Town’, where you find the famous Prague Astronomical Clock.  Equity has always fared well in regards to recognitions and industry awards, with a lot of other hostels trying to follow in their footsteps.

Equity Point

PLUS has really grown due to its Berlin opening a few years back, making it the third country it has foundations in. Infamous already for providing fun and varied accommodations in Italy, the chain also has a base in Prague…. and is rumoured to be eyeing off their next country  to conquer! Their camping grounds and facilities really set the brand apart from the other winning chains…. if you want a real ‘Roman holiday‘ than this chain is definitely for you!

PLUS logo

Congrats to all three on the amazing achievement and for forging their niche products in what has become an extremely cut-throat, competitive market

Check out all the Awards for Excellence winners here:

Most destinations mentioned are cheaply reached by budget airlines

I prefer to use Ryanair or Easyjet

HostelBookers ‘Awards for Excellence’ 2013

Well – that time of year is upon us again, where we get to award all the best properties from around the world who work with us at HostelBookers! For the second year, I have had the honour of selecting the winners – a mind boggling task. So many excellent properties working hard to achieve their personal objectives of creating great brands and customer experiences.

The selection process took roughly 3 days and involved analysing a lot of data based largely on customer reviews. This year’s categories include Best Hostel Chains, the first time we have done this in the four years history of our Awards for Excellence! Other categories include the following:

Most Popular ; Best Overall ; Best Atmosphere ; Best Staff ; Award for Cleanliness ; Best new accommodation ; Best for solo travellers ; Best for families ; Best for couples ; Best value hotels ; Group recognition

So many awards – 200 to be exact! This is such a small percentage of the 22,000 properties that we have on our books at HostelBookers… so it is rather exclusive.

The Awards for Excellence launch at the start of March, so keep your eyes open for this year’s winners…. this is definitely the strongest list put together ever. You will see all your favourite brands and some great independent properties…. small (6 beds) to large (800 beds)… hostels, hotels, B&B’s, apartments and even campsites!

I should stop there, as I don’t wish to give too much away… needless to say, we are all super excited for the launch…. check out last year’s winners here: