The red building is unmissable on Carlisle Street, just one street away from Melbourne’s most popular city beach, St Kilda.It’d taken me three attempts to get to Melbourne this year but the wait was worth it. A friendly staff member walked me to the elevator instructing me where to to go. Personal service for each new guest, an atmosphere mixed the relaxed beach vibes and a party atmosphere; I had arrived and I was ready to get pumped… Base Backpackers St Kilda style!
There are four room options at Base Backpackers St Kilda starting at $30 per night for a 8 bedroom mixed to $115 for a Private room sleeping two people. I was lucky enough to stay in two different types of rooms during my stay – a private room and in one of the girls only Sanctuary rooms. All of the rooms were neat and clean, had an adjoining ensuite, and included air conditioners/heaters – perfect for the humid days or cold nights.
Simple, spacious and comfortable is the adjectives I’d use to describe Base Backpackers private rooms. Designed to sleep two people in a large queen bed, the big rooms are perfect if you need to escape dorms for a while or feel like spreading out but don’t want to have to pay a fortune for a hotel room. The room includes most hotel amenities such as ensuite bathroom with a shower, TV and a nice view from the window.
The bathrooms are a little hard to access, the door only half opening because the loft beds are in the way, and the ensuite, which includes a toilet and shower, is small but it does make up for it in cleanliness and with a decent water pressure.
Other little inclusions include cookies – perfect for the midnight munchies, and ear plugs, though I am a light sleeper and except for the gentle vibrations of the tram below and one or two faint yells from the people partying in Red Eye all was peaceful. Not bad for a ‘party’ hostel which pumps the bass 7-days a week!
The Sanctuary (Girls Only!)
Sorry boys but these rooms are Girls Only, providing a safe ‘sancturary’ behind a door which can only be accessed if you are staying in one of the rooms. Each room has eight bunks with a ensuite bathroom.
Apart from the obvious perks (no smelly boy smells, no boys leaving the seat up in the bathroom… just to name a few!) you also get a special welcome pack including a towel, Evida shower pack, and a voucher for a free drink in Red Eye, the bar on the ground floor. Each night Sanctuary girls also get a free bottle of bubbly and the option of having a hot tea or coffee in bed at 10am!
Sanctuary girls also have access to hairdryers, straighteners, and beauty kits available from the front desk – everything you need to look stunning when you’re hitting the town!
What was particularly impressive was that both the private room bed and the dorms beds were so comfortable. I’ve slept in plenty of hostels and even at Summer Camp where you could feel the wooden slates through the pitiful mattress, but not at Base. I slept well and was ready to tackle the exploring St Kilda the next day.
Visitors often overlook St Kilda as a place to stay because it’s not in the centre of the city and this often is mis-translated into being “a long away from all the action” but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
St Kilda is one of the most trendy suburbs in Melbourne and Base Backpackers is located in the middle of the best that St Kilda has to offer. Acland Street, famous for it’s pastry shops and restaurants, is a street away and it’s only a 5minute walk to St Kilda beach, one of the most popular beaches in Melbourne. Famous for it’s gaping mouth which you walk through to access the theme park inside St Kilda is also home to Luna Park – great fun for both the young and old with old school carnival games, roller coasters and old school dodgem cars!
If you prefer to head into the city to explore or party there are trams right outside which can take you there in 20minutes or less. These even stop at Southern Cross Station where the SkyBuses (airport to city buses)
Even when the sunsets you are spoilt for choice with a choice of bars on both Acland Street and Fitzroy Street or the hostels bar on the ground floor which draws crowds of visitors and locals, especially on Ladies Night (Thursday.) There is always something going on in the hostel or near by.
Breakfast, Dinner or DIY
There are some breakfast facilities available at Base – a range of cereal, juices and toast – however you need to buy breakfast vouchers from the front desk for AU$5 each. Is it worth it? Well, it’s defiantly cheaper than heading to a local cafe (breakfast around St Kilda is approx. $10 for a hot English breakfast.)
Each night dinner is available for purchase for $5. Options can range from shepherds pie to BBQ, pancakes and burgers – pretty decent considering meals around Melbourne start at $10.
There is also a kitchen available with basic utensils to cook your own meals so don’t forget to bring a texta to label everything you want to keep in the fridges or cupboards!
Whilst Base doesn’t have free Internet or wi-fi (sorry digital nomads!) they do have a computer area on the ground floor with a number of computers available for use at any time. Base’s Internet runs through company Global Gossip, which are used at quite a number of hostels and Internet cafes around Australia, and the prices are pretty decent. Alternatively, head down to the McDonalds 3minutes away and soak up the free (but slow) Wi-Fi.
If you’re a techie traveller or a digital nomad power point access won’t be a problem during your stay with plenty of room in the rooms and on the ground floor to recharge.
Located on the ground floor of the hostel Red Eye is the name of the hostel bar open every evening, or used as a lounge throughout the day. Even with the bar inside the hostel it is a popular hangout for both people staying there and the locals with events happening every night – from KY jelly wrestling to Wii competitions or perhaps free pancakes and bingo competitions are more your forte? The best night to visit is Thursday nights Ladies Night for both the crowd and for some of the crazy activities they have on! Although the action is happening on the ground floor they’ve designed the hostel well so it won’t disturb those who want a good nights sleep upstairs.
There is also a travel desk to help organise the next leg of your journey, guidebooks and boardgames to rent from the front desk, foozeball table, beer garden and nightly pre-arranged activities including BBQs, jelly wrestling (seriously!) and themed costume nights – heck yes!
They have a talented artist! – KY Jelly Wrestling on Nacho Libre night on the window looking out to the beer garden.
If you’re looking for a base (pun intended!) in Melbourne, a place to meet some great people, or a way to get into the swing of meeting some awesome people on your Melbourne trip, defiantly have a look at the Base Backpackers website for a great location, lots of activities and at a decent price; And get ready to get that Base pumping!
Base Backpackers St Kilda is located at 17 Carlisile St in St Kilda, Melbourne.
To book a room with them phone: +61 3 9123 456 or visit their website.
For everything Base St Kilda, including competitions, check-out their Facebook page.
A big thanks to Matt for arranging my stay (and for a delicious lunch!) at
Base Backpackers Melbourne – St Kilda.
As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
All prices are in AUD and are correct as of December 2011.