Liverpool – Mathew Street YHA

This YHA is located at the end of Mathew Street, located close to the Cavern Club and the heart of Beatles territory. It was operated by another hostel company until just a few weeks ago and it’s now marketed as a “hip hostel”. I mean, that clearly describes me doesn’t it? Hip? Yeah, maybe not. Anyway, they had an offer of private en-suite rooms for £12 per night, so I was tempted by that alone.

This was, until recently, a four bed dorm room, although it’s now a double room. The cleanliness was a bit skin deep, as visible surfaces were sort of clean, but other surfaces such as under the bed, and indeed, under any surface weren’t at all clean. But, it’s a little hard to complain at a price of £12 per night.

I think a lot of the decor actually comes from the previous hostel operation, which was itself not that old. From what I can see, the YHA have tried to take over the ‘hip hostel’ theme here, although it’s all a bit muddled now as it doesn’t quite fit with their usual branding. Although that probably doesn’t matter, it’s just providing cheap and cheerful accommodation.

Mathew Street is popular with stag and hen groups, as I discovered during my three-night stay. Fortunately, I actually like this sort of background noise, although I can imagine it might irritate some guests. I was pleased they allocated me this room though, it was quite enjoyable people watching down the street.

The building that the YHA is located in is a former shop and there are some traces of the history of its original use, although it’s not all in great condition. I’ve seen some of the YHA’s recent efforts and I think it’s fair to say that they throw cash at some sites, with refurbishments often being multi-million pound projects. I’m not sure where they get all this money from, as some sites now have the appearance of hotels and seem over-spec’ed, but perhaps that’s what customers demand. This YHA doesn’t seem to have had the same love, it seems to just be a takeover of what was here before, with I imagine some changes now planned in phases.

The whole set-up was very unlike a YHA though, there’s a strange lack of structure to the site, with an absence of food menus visible at the location, although they are on-line. And the prices for the food are, frankly, way out of proportion with the local competition. They’re charging the best part of £15 for a cheeseburger and pint of beer, which might be tolerable in a quiet out of the reach location in the countryside, but they are literally fifty feet away from a Wetherspoons. It was no real surprise that every time I walked by the cafe there was nearly no-one in it and I never had any idea what time breakfast was served, and that menu isn’t available on-line to check (although I did find the breakfast times on-line when writing this). I’m not really sure why the YHA don’t just set up a cheap bar on the ground floor so that visitors can drink there if they want. If they’re determined to offer a mid-price point restaurant on site, they probably need to put menus in the room, or at least in more visible locations.

Anyway, I can’t complain too much about this stay as it was so cheap and the location couldn’t have been much better for reaching Liverpool city centre. The YHA seemed quite quiet when I was there, but I’m sure it’ll get a lot busier when people get used to it being there, as for groups it’s a convenient and easy option which isn’t too expensive. For the money, it was all very lovely.