Shining Cliff hostel is quite unique and the hostel website provides clear information on what guests need to bring and about the limited access to the hostel.
This guest stayed at Shining Cliff in January 2019, during a period of redecoration and I accepted the last-minute booking as the guest sounded like he had nowhere to stay that evening. He stayed a few nights, and on some nights the hostel was not available (it had a group booking) he used the local campsite, then returning for another few nights when the hostel was available again.
Because the visit was last-minute (on the day) and arranged via a phone call this guest did not receive the information all other guests have (although the 'what to bring' section of the website does state what is available at the hostel).
Full payment for the stay was never received.
The hostel is heated with storage heaters, as other forms of heating are not practical for the building. The storage heaters were all replaced in February and March and the hostel is kept at 21 degrees, with the option for guests to increase or decrease this ambient temperature. The bedroom heaters are now all on individual thermostat settings so guests can heat the room as they desire.
Shining Cliff hostel is a building constructed of brick and stone in the 1970s, it is situated in a woodland, so in the winter months, as with any older, rural property, condensation will be an issue. There are several mitigation measures in place to reduce the problem including a Nuaire positive ventilation system. This condensation issue is not mentioned in this review, but was part of the feedback the guest emailed me personally.
The toilets were inherited when I took on the lease in March 2019. They have now all been replaced with waterless composting toilets, which work really well if the 'how to use' instructions are followed (they work differently from a regular, household toilet - such as they need you to sit down every time you use it, so some people find this tricky....).
The shower cubicles are basic but do the job, and they are clean, have a place to put your soap, and have a push button operation, there is enough space to wash yourself. I have no plans to replace them until required as they work well at the moment.
There is a boot brush and hose outside the hostel. There are two boxes in the kitchen under the sink, one has cleaning materials and products for the bathrooms, the second has cleaning materials and products for the general areas. The porch contains an indoor and outdoor brush, 3 sets of dustpans, a hoover and an airer for clothes. There is no space in the hostel for a washing machine at the moment.
Belper, the local town, has the acclaim to be the best British high street in 2020, so although the hostel is off-road in a woodland, Belper has a lot to offer guests and is well worth a visit, as is the other lovely, local town, Matlock.
From this review I have made the decision to only accept advance bookings, so the necessary information is received by guests in a timely manner and I can be assured that they are fully aware of the limitations of this wonderful, unique, off-road woodland hostel.