Are you a female solo traveller planning a city trip to Edinburgh? Let me tell you about a great place to stay that ticks all the boxes: affordable, great location, comfortable and safe! I spent a few days at The LoFT, the first CoDE pod hostel in Edinburgh – and if you ask me, it is the perfect hostel for female solo travellers. Read more to find out why!
This post is sponsored by CoDE Pod Hostels. My review is based on my personal experience and all opinions are my own. The post might contain affiliate links, which I may make a commission from.
Hostels are for young people with questionable holiday priorities, right? Wrong!
My days of putting up with noisy dorm-mates and rude (or straight-up inappropriate) behaviour are long gone. No longer am I looking for the cheapest accommodation possible, that somehow always comes at the cost of privacy, cleanliness and a good night’s sleep.
But that does not mean, I’m over hostels! When I budget for a trip, I still try to spend as little as possible on accommodation and instead splurge on food, tours and other experiences. My bar is simply higher than it was 10 years ago, and the hostels I stay in have to tick a lot more boxes!
If you have followed my travels lately, you know that I am a huge fan of high-quality hostels, especially when I travel alone.
Scotland is one of the best places to travel solo – here are a few reasons why. Edinburgh is a great place to start your Scotland adventure. It is easy to navigate, super safe and there are tons of activities and tours to do while you are in the city. It is impossible to feel bored in Edinburgh!
There are also many hostels in the city centre of Edinburgh which are often the accommodation of choice for solo travellers – after all, who wants to pay for extortionate single occupancy supplements? But which one is the best hostel for (female) solo travellers?
I recently had the pleasure of spending a few nights at Edinburgh’s first pod hostel, CoDE Pod Hostels – The LoFT, and experience what it’s like to sleep in a pod. After my stay, I am a pod convert and think that this is definitely the best hostel in Edinburgh for women who travel by themselves.
The LoFT, Rose Street
CoDE Pod Hostel – The LoFT is a modern boutique hostel in the city centre of Edinburgh. Located in the historic New Town, which makes up part of Edinburgh’s UNESCO World Heritage Site, the hostel is a perfect home base to explore the city.
The LoFT is located on a quiet side lane off Rose Street, a pedestrianised shopping street with lots of bars and restaurants. Despite its lively neighbourhood, the hostel makes for a quiet safe haven away from the bustle. It is based in a 5-story Victorian-era red brick building that evokes memories of a New York-style loft – hence the name. It has six dorms on three floors with four to six pods each and a private rooftop penthouse apartment with its own balcony overlooking the city. Just over 30 guests can stay at The LoFT and it provides a very exclusive boutique hostel experience.
Sleeping in a Pod Hostel
Pods have been super popular all over Asia for years, but only really recently moved onto the radar of travellers and hostel operators in Europe. CoDE runs the first pod hostels in Edinburgh and Dublin, bringing this concept to the UK and Ireland. The closest I have ever come to sleeping pod-style was in a hostel in Killarney, where the bunk beds are sturdy wooden structures and all beds had curtains – read my post about hiking in Ireland if you want to know what I’m talking about.
The pods at CoDE – The LoFT are the real deal though. The pods are constructed from a sturdy metal frame, which means that your sleep is undisturbed even if the person above or below you tosses and turns all night long. I’ve never slept this good in a hostel before!
Each pod has a blackout curtain to provide privacy. The curtains also make it so much easier to pack while others are still asleep – you definitely won’t disturb them by turning on the light in the hall! The pods also have a personal light, hooks and shelves for anything you might need overnight, and a set of plugs and USB plugs to charge your devices near you. The mattress was also very comfy and the bed linen so soft – it’s not rocket science, but so many hostels do not tick this box.
I loved that I had enough space in my pod to keep my day bag with me too. I personally, found the pod more spacious than I had expected. I could comfortably sit up straight and lie completely stretched out. I could curl up with my laptop and get changed in there too. I spent one night in a female-only dorm and two nights in a mixed dorm. On each occasion, I barely saw my dorm mates in the room and loved the privacy I had thanks to the curtain on my pod. As a child, I always loved building blanket forts and cosy tree houses and something about sleeping in the pod, reminded me of that sheltered environment of my own safe space. I can imagine that if you are claustrophobic, a pod might not be the best choice for you, but I thoroughly enjoyed the pod experience.
Each dorm at The LoFT has a set of lockers – one per pod, that easily fits a carry-on size bag. If you have a larger suitcase, there is plenty of space for that inside the room. You can simply take out and lock up your valuables in the safe.
On each floor, there is a shared bathroom for both dorms. The bathrooms are mixed gender, but the shower cubicles are so spacious, it did not bother me at all. One thing I noticed around the entire hostel is how incredibly clean it was. All common areas, the dorms and the bathrooms always looked like they were just cleaned.
Breakfast at CoDE Hostels Edinburgh
The ground floor at The LoFT serves as a reception and common area with a kitchen and several tables for guests. In the mornings, the hostel staff prepares a generous breakfast buffet. For just £4 per person, you can indulge in continental breakfast staples such as cereal, toast and Nutella, or make fresh waffles in the easy-to-use waffle iron. The kitchen is fully equipped and you can whip up your own lunches and dinners during your stay.
This common area is also a great place to meet other travellers and connect with some of the guests and lovely staff members at CoDE.
Why is this Hostel Ideal for Female Solo Travellers?
A pod at The LoFT sets you back around £30-40 per night and while there are some hostels in Edinburgh that offer cheaper accommodation, I think CoDE is perfect for (female) solo travellers for many reasons:
Safety | CoDE has a high-security keypad entry system. Each guest receives a personalised door code that is only valid for the duration of their stay. You need this code to enter the hostel as well as your dorm. The risk of unauthorised access to the building is therefore close to zero. Plus you can’t lose a key!
Privacy | The pods offer maximum privacy as I have never experienced in any other hostel before. I like meeting other travellers, but I also need a lot of downtime when I travel by myself to process each day’s experiences. The curtain on the sleeping pod is a stroke of genius and just what I needed!
Location | The LoFT is close to the action without being in a super noisy neighbourhood. From the hostel, it is a 5-minute walk to the Scottish National Gallery and Princes Street Garden. In 10 minutes you can be at Waverley Railway Station or St Giles Cathedral on the Royal Maile. Edinburgh Castle and Edinburgh Castle are just a 15-minute walk away. With plenty of restaurants, bars and shops in the immediate surroundings of the hostel, you are never far from anything you might need.
There is a pub next to the hostel called the Standing Order, but the entrance on the same lane as the hostel is a back entrance and even when I stayed in a dorm facing the lane, the noise from the street was very minimal.
Vibe | Most importantly, as a solo traveller you want a place to retreat to that feels comfortable, welcoming and safe. The staff at CoDE is super friendly and full of advice for the city. The vibe as I entered the reception was immediately welcoming – from the smooth check-in process to a member of staff making sure I knew how to use the keypad system. I felt very comfortable walking in and out of the hostel and by the time I left, it felt like saying goodbye to friends.
Things to do during your Stay at CoDE
With the New Town of Edinburgh right at your doorstep and the Old Town just a stone’s throw away, options for your Edinburgh city trip are endless. Here are some ideas for things to do while you stay at the LoFT:
- Climb the Scott Monument for an overview of the city. Located a 5-minute walk from the hostel, it is the perfect first stop after you checked in and dropped your bags.
£8 / £6 (student discount).
- Check out one of Edinburgh’s hidden attractions, like these museums, galleries and monuments off the beaten track!
- Join a beer tour with Scot Beer Tours – you have the choice of an Ild Town walking tour with beer tastings or two different guided beer brewery and taproom experiences.
£35 per person (incl. 8 beer samples), but CoDE guests enjoy a 10% discount.
- Walk along the Water of Leith and discover Dean Village, Stockbridge and Leith. The walkway along the Water of Leith offers a lovely escape from the hustle and bustle of the tourist city centre. You can walk all the way to Leith, Edinburgh’s trendiest neighbourhood near the sea.
- Explore the New Town which is Edinburgh’s 18th-century answer to the medieval Old Town. It is characterised by wide streets, beautiful Victorian townhouses and a plethora of quirky shops and restaurants. If you like photographing colourful architecture and shop fronts, this is the place for you.
Did you know that many people who originally owned buildings in Edinburgh’s New Town, benefitted from the transatlantic slave trade? Find out more about this here or join a Black History Walking Tour of Edinburgh with Lisa Williams.
Is The LoFT fully booked? Stay at The CoURT!
In 2019, CoDE Pod Hostels expanded and opened a second hostel in Edinburgh’s city centre. CoDE – The CoURT welcomes you to the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town. Located in former Police chambers, complete with holding cells and a courtroom, The CoURT offers higher capacity, larger common areas and a whisky tasting room for special experiences.
The location of the new CoDE pod hostel is hard to beat. The hostel is right on the Royal Mile, but slightly set back on Parlament Square, so that many rooms will actually face the quieter back of the Old Town.
Some of the rooms look out over the Cathedral, while others have views of Arthur Seat, one of Edinburgh’s extinct volcanoes. Most dorms are made up of eight to ten pods and a series of single and double private rooms will be available too – these private rooms are mostly located in the former holding cells of the courthouse and CoDE has decided to leave some of the old metal gates and arched ceilings from back then in tact! Ready for the lockdown?
As you can see, staying in a hostel does not mean that you have to say goodbye to privacy, cleanliness or a good night’s sleep. I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at CoDE pod hostel in Edinburgh and hope to be back there soon – especially to check out the new hostel on the Royal Mile.
Are you ready to sleep in a pod soon too?
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All photos by Kathi Kamleitner.