My Kick-Ass time – Best Hostel Experience?

For my visit to the Athens of the North that is Edinburgh. I was staying in the Kick-Ass hostel at Grassmarket for a few nights. It actually feels like it’s been months since I went Edinburgh because I’ve been so busy in my life the last few weeks.

Anyway I knew there was so much to talk about the hostel so I opted to save it for a separate post instead of my trip review as usual and give it the attention it deserves.

First Impressions

As heading in initially I saw old noticeboards that said “female hostel” at front entrance. It got me slightly panicking by thinking I had booked into a female only hostel and started thinking of cross-dresses I could do to try and fit in and not come across as a perv.

Fortunately I saw a few guys also walking into the hostel so I started to relax a bit more xD

My thing with hostels are that when i first see them from the exterior always look like a TARDIS – bigger on the inside than out and Kick-Ass was no different. Since it was locatted in Grassmarket, the convenience of the location relative to the biggest attractions in Edinburgh was very handy. For example Calton Hill was only a 20 minute walk, Royal Mile was literally a block or two away from the hostel. I could literally see Edinburgh Castle in front of me if I head out of the front doors.

Dorms And Bathroom

Kick-Ass had virtually an infinite number of shower and bathroom facilities so I never had to worry whether I have to wait for a bathroom to be free, which is a big factor in me deciding my choice of accommodation. Although they were quite miniscule in size, literally just as big as a fitting room in Topman or H&M.

At Vagabonds in Belfast I bared the brunt of some awful snorers during my niggt there. This time I thought ahead and took ear plugs from the reception preparing for any jarring snorers. Thankfully no snorers near me this time so that was a huge positive. The beds were these narrow circular pods with blinds at the front. Each pod was numbered and at check-in you were given a number for the pod you would be staying in. Also got your own storage space underneath the pod.

In general I felt I had more privacy than expected when it came to sleeping and chilling in my space. As alluded to earlier, it helped that the other people in the dorms were quiet and respectful during the night.

My Kick-Ass time: Best Hostel Experience?

My Kick-Ass time: Best Hostel Experience

Staff & Hospitality

Everyone a part of the Kick-Ass hostel team were helpful and approchable for both hospitality matters and for a general chit chat about Edinburgh and our adventures there. There was always someone available at the front desk if you needed them. There was a point where all my luggage in the dorm was gone and I started to lose it – thinking someone had stolen it. Only for them to tell me that they had taken it to their desk instead as I took up the storage space for someone else, thus reassuring me. You wouldn’t get the sense that the place is understaffed.

As part of stay I got 25% off food at the hostel’s cafe and 15% off all drinks. Made the most of it via cheap Scottish breakfast in the morning and the quality of the food was good too. Makes me wonder why don’t I stay in hostels more often and milk dry the cow that was discounts. Speaking of food quality I do recommend you go to the sister hostel Budget Backpackers for the better food. Only 3 minute walk from Kick Ass.

My Kick-Ass time: Best Hostel Experience?


They also had nightly activities they would throughout the night to bring everyone together. Monday nights is movie night. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, the nights I stayed at the hostel, they do bar crawl and pub quiz respectively. Thursdays is pub crawl again, Friday is a mystery activity, Saturday is party time and Sunday is Karaoke. Quite a variety that’s appealing to different sorts of individual and always an opportunity to meet new people. Hostel staff were the ones who also led the activities.

I attended the hostel’s bar crawl, which was only £5. Came with 4 free shots, a jagerbomb, 15% discounts on drinks in most bars and opportunities to mingle and socialise with other travelers and backpackers. You definitely could count me in! I got mad excited! Met a guy called John too (furthest to the right in the first picture below). Funny enough he’s from Manchester, which is where I’m heading during the spring. He was such a chatty patty with large doses of fun and warmth injected into him – just what I expected from a northerner. He even walked back to our hostel with me to make sure I was alright because I was super drunk. Massive MASSIVE shoutout to him!

My Kick-Ass time: Best Hostel Experience?

Final Word

Overall I was impressed with my time at Kick-Ass hostel. It looked well-run and up to date. I felt like there was more on offer in terms of activities and facilities compared to a standard hostel or B&B. Kick-Ass definitely exceeded my expectations and kicked ass on all fronts! Did I mention that it was only £35 for the two nights in total. Yeah – you read right!

Shoutout (not for the first time) to all the staff that work there – whether they’re the cleaners, receptionists, caterers or event organisers. You’ve made the stay the success it was and may I check-in for another night or two again in the future.

What’s your best hostel experience? Do you like staying in hostels or B&Bs or are you more of a hotel/private accommodation person? Let me your thoughts in the comments below!

Thanks for reading guys! More to come as usual, I’m not even done with my Edinburgh-related posts so watch this space 😉

Johnny | Johnny’s Traventures


Johnny is a 23-year old solo traveller and travel blogger with a craving to know the world better and make the small world bigger!


  1. Extracts of Alex
    March 21, 2019 / 12:27 pm

    Brilliant post. Hostels are the way forward, I’m from Newcastle an hour away from Edinburgh. However I don’t visit Edinburgh that much as the accommodation is so expensive. I think I will now though as this hostel looks such good value for money! Thanks for putting it on my radar.

    • Johnny
      March 22, 2019 / 12:16 am

      No problem Alex! From what you said about accommodation being expensive £35 for a few nights is an absolute deal. Had no idea Newcastle was THAT close to Edinburgh btw

  2. Millie
    March 21, 2019 / 1:02 pm

    £35 for all that sounds like a deal and a half!? Ive never stayed in a hostel before and before recently never wanted to however those pods looked quite cosy! Heading to Edinburgh next week and staying in an AirBnB but if I go back I may look at staying here!

    • Johnny
      March 22, 2019 / 12:19 am

      Thanks Millie! Absolutely, though I booked a good few months in advance so that may be why. Hopefully you enjoy Edinburgh and that I’ve changed your mind about hostels

  3. March 21, 2019 / 1:49 pm

    I am a lover of AirBnB’s and maybe a hotel if needs must. HOWEVER staying in a hostel is actually one of my new years resolutions as I want to challenge myself to a new way of travelling. You’ve put my mind at ease about the whole situation lool! Hopefully my experience will be similar to yours with this awesome company.

    Elle x

    • Johnny
      March 22, 2019 / 12:22 am

      Glad I’ve made you feel more comfortable about staying in hostels. It’s a shame they come with certain negative stereotypes though, understandably so however. Let me know how your first hostel experience goes when you stay in one 👊🏾

  4. March 22, 2019 / 2:05 am

    Love it! Great review! I love those pods, I could see myself spending a few nights in there. I’ve stayed in a hostel in Montreal before but our group took up the entire space (So not quite the hostel experience). I’m definitely more eager for another hostel experience after reading this!

  5. March 22, 2019 / 4:48 pm

    Great review! It looks like a lot of fun!!

    • Johnny
      March 23, 2019 / 8:01 am

      Thank you 😊

  6. March 23, 2019 / 5:54 pm

    I might have commented on one of your other Edin posts but I stayed in Kick Ass twice and loved it too! My all-time favorite hostel as well. When I first went in 2016 the dining/ game area was upstairs and I think I prefer that to the ground floor cafe, but it’s still the best.

    Rachel ||

  7. May 4, 2019 / 12:42 pm

    Cross dresses yeah loooool!! Those hostel beds look lit and I that hostel seems like one I’d enjoy. Shout out to John, I love meeting people like him and seems like you had fun, I’m happy for you bro

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