“Inn Bruges”: Or, How St. Christopher’s Inn Taught Me to Stop Worrying and Love Hostels

With a Belgian beer bar, nightly beer tastings, and clean rooms, St. Christopher's Inn in Bruges, Belgium taught me to actually like hostels!

I’m going to let you in on a secret: I usually don’t stay in hostels. Maybe it’s because, at 31 years old, I don’t want my beauty sleep interrupted by some young whippersnappers bursting into my room at 3 AM singing “We Are The Champions.” (File under experiences from my 20s I’d rather forget.) St. Christopher’s Inn in Bruges, however, changed my mind 100% about what an excellent hostel experience can be.

From their friendly service to hosting one of the best beer tastings in Bruges, here’s why I would stay at St. Christopher’s Inn again and again.

Where is St. Christopher’s Inn?

If you zoom in on the map above, you’ll find that St. Christopher’s Inn is located close to a river. Said river has beautiful windmills dotting the landscape — I had to keep reminding myself that Toto, we’re not in Amsterdam anymore!

St. Christopher’s Inn is situated about a 15-minute walk from the Bruges city center. Its location is one of the many reasons I loved the place: it’s not too far from the “main attractions,” but not too close that you’ll hear loud foot traffic at night.

Guess what – this windmill ain’t in the Netherlands!

Fun fact: St. Christopher is the patron saint of travelers (a question I used to always get wrong at Trivia Night but will never forget again). Legend goes that he carried a small child across a dangerous river, and that child turned out to be Christ! St. Christopher also looks out for gardeners, motorists and drivers, epilepsy, and surfers, among other things. Basically, he’s got a lot on his plate when it comes to taking care of folks.

Tell Me, What Are the Rooms Really Like?

St. Christopher’s Inn Bruges has a variety of accommodations, from the traditional coed dorms and female-only dorms to apartments with a shared bathroom and kitchen.

What changed my hostel experience, however, was staying in a private room with a private bathroom. With prices for the private twin bedroom ranging from roughly 17 to 58 euro (depending on the day of the week and season), it was perfect for budget-conscious travelers who enjoy staying in a place with delicious beer and getting a comfortable, solid night’s sleep.

As a travel and booze writer, I can promise you I’m not some cantankerous grouch poking a broom on the ceiling to get some peace and quiet. It’s just the older I get, the more I value balancing nightlife and quality accommodations, and St. Christopher’s Inn manages to do both quite well. St. Christoper’s Inn 1, Julianne’s erroneous assumptions about hostels 0.

The first thing I noticed about our private room was how clean it was. Totally spotless. Beyond that, it featured multiple outlets (which is key for two bloggers with a gazillion devices), way more space than I expected, and a window that let in lots of sunshine.

The shower was big enough to move about without feeling restrained — as an experienced cruiser used to tiny showers on cruise ships, this was a total blessing — and we were provided with fragrant, orange-smelling shampoo.

Clean bathrooms!

So Why Should I Stay Here Instead of Somewhere Else?

If there’s one thing you know about me, it’s that I love a place with good drinks. You know what I love even more? A place with good beer where I can literally walk upstairs to go to sleep. Double win!

I’m not gonna lie: one of the main reasons I was drawn to St. Christopher’s Inn was the hostel’s location at the Bauhaus, which is their Belgian beer bar. At the Bauhaus, you can choose from one of over 25 beers that are regularly offered at any given time. Belgian beer everywhere and a comfy bed to boot? Sign me up, stat.

Happy hour deals at the Belgian beer bar!

Staff members at the Bauhaus were super helpful and patient in explaining the differences in Belgian beer to us — a free Beer Education 101, if you will. They clearly knew their Saisons from their stouts and were passionate about the several varieties of beer available.

I’ll admit that I was intimidated by their laminated beer menu, which was as thick as a tome about Belgium itself. With staff guidance, though, I discovered La Chouffe, an unfiltered blond beer that’s 8% ABV. It didn’t hurt that the beer’s label featured a mischievous Santa gnome, which provided me with at least 5 minutes of genuine entertainment.

Note to self: don’t drink your beer before taking beer photos.

Pizza and beer. Because St. Christopher’s Inn knows what works.

There’s even more good news, too: guests at St. Christopher’s Inn receive 2 for 1 drink offers at Bauhaus. Am I dreaming?!?

But Wait, There’s Even MORE Beer!

If you can’t get enough of the beer at the Bauhaus, you’re in luck, because St. Christopher’s Inn has a nightly beer tasting. Yes, you too can go to a top-notch Belgian beer tasting in your very own hostel on any night of the week when you stay here. (I couldn’t help but start humming “What A Wonderful World” to myself when I discovered this. Suh-weet!)

On this particular evening, we were led through six beers that showcased the breadth and depth of what Belgium can do. Our unintentionally comic but thoroughly knowledgeable guide started by describing the ingredients in beer (during which time I accidentally inhaled some hops from the bowl that was passed around and snorted them back out), then took us through the process of creating said beer.

Beware of accidentally snorting hops.

Just like my time at Heineken Experience in Amsterdam, the length of my notes about each beer was inversely proportional to the amount of beer we consumed. However, I can tell you that we tried:

  1. Toye Goedendag (Sterk Blond) — Notes of citrus and banana. On July 11, 1302, a small Flemish infantry defeated the knights of the French king in the Battle of the Golden Spurs. This was a big deal, since those French knights were supposed to be the most powerful army in the world at the time. “Goedendag” — which means ‘good day’ — refers to the notoriously feared weapon used in the battle, basically a club with a spear.
  2. Barbar — Strong pale ale with notes of honey and some citrus; a little banana, but not as much as #1. Some people smelled pineapple, which I didn’t (phew!) since I’m allergic to that dreaded fruit.
  3. Jack’s Precious IPA — Well balanced beer with 5.9% ABV. Brewed by 4 friends at The Musketeers Brewing Company. Delicious.
  4. Hoegaarden — Somehow, this beer tastes better when you’re drinking it in Belgium. The end.
  5. Westmalle Tripel — My favorite that we tried on this list. Young Trappist beer. Lots of carbonation; bubbles give the beer a creamy mouthfeel. Recipe has not changed since 1956. It’s 9.5% ABV — oh boy!
  6. St. Bernardus Abt 12 — Our guide tells us it’s a “knockoff” of the better Westvleteren 12, which I tried earlier in the day. This beer tastes good to me, but at this point in the tasting, probably anything would.

The damage. (I promise we had help drinking it all.)

Our fellow traveling beer guzzlers at the tasting were wonderful, too. From a middle-aged couple to college students on holiday, everyone was fun-loving but respectful and kind.

Other Goodies at St. Christopher’s Inn

Granted, I’m all about the beer when I travel. However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention some of the other great features of the hostel:

  • A bonafide, sizzlin’ hot continental breakfast. There’s a pretty good spread here: from ham, cheese, and toast to hard-boiled eggs, orange slices, and cereal, you definitely won’t go hungry in the mornings.
  • Free WiFi in the bar (and reception area). You mean I can have a Belgian beer while I work on my laptop? Crikey!
  • Security and safety is taken very seriously. St. Christopher’s Inn has secure luggage storage with coin operated lockers – something really important for travelers like me who are paranoid that their stuff will get stolen. There’s also free lockers in the shared rooms (padlock required). Because there’s no curfew, they have 24-hour reception, so there’s always someone available to help if needed.

Straight chillin’ inside one of the common areas

There’s also bike and laptop rentals available, free city walking tours and printing services, and towels provided in the hotel rooms and female only rooms. Credit cards are accepted, and nobody under 18 can stay at the hostel.

Interior of the common area

Would I Stay There Again?

Yes. In a heartbeat.

I never would have imagined writing that about a hostel, but St. Christopher’s Inn in Bruges exceeded my expectations over and over. Clean rooms? Check. Safe and secure? Check. Awesome beer bar? You betcha. Color me impressed.

Connect with St. Christopher’s Inn

St. Christopher’s Inn in Bruges can be found at 133-137 Langestraat, Bruges, Belgium, 8000. You can connect with St. Christopher’s Inn here:

In addition to Bruges, you can find St. Christopher’s Inns across Europe, from Barcelona and Berlin to Edinburgh and Prague. Bon voyage, my fellow travelers!

 

Essential Info:
Need a map of Bruges? Check out this one.
Want a guidebook for Bruges? I like Rick Steves and Lonely Planet.
If you want to brew beer like a monk, check out this book.
And don’t forget to stock up on Belgian beer glasses before your trip!

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With a Belgian beer bar, nightly beer tastings, and clean rooms, St. Christopher's Inn in Bruges, Belgium taught me to actually like hostels!


A tremendous thank you to St. Christopher’s Inn for having me as a guest and for a wonderful beer tasting. While we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves during our stay, all opinions are my own. Not even a delicious cold beer can change that.

Also, some of the above are affiliate links. This means that I will earn a tiny percentage of the sale if you purchase through them at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting It’s Five O’Clock Here!

7 thoughts on ““Inn Bruges”: Or, How St. Christopher’s Inn Taught Me to Stop Worrying and Love Hostels

  1. Mel

    You had me at beer :). Looks like a great hostel and what a perfect location. We recently stayed at a hostel (with two adults and two kids!) and were pleasantly surprised with how nice and quiet it was. I am putting this one on my list for when we get to Burges.

  2. Tracey Kifford

    This is really interesting. I’ve never considered staying in a hostel before. I travel mainly with my children and this means we need a private room, with private bathroom. I wrongly assumed that ‘hostel’ stood for dorms and shared facilities

  3. Lisa

    I’ll be honest, as a flashpacker, my hostel days are well and truly behind me, and thank god! That said, I’m always curious about these more upmarket type of hostels, and wouldn’t mind trying. It’s so cool that the Bauhaus is a very short walk away, I applaud you for this! I always enjoy a Belgian blond beer, but I’ve also tried Jack’s IPA, and it’s really refreshing after a long day!

  4. The Travel Ninjas

    To be honest, I have only heard horror stories about staying in hostels which is a reason that I have never stayed in one. From your pictures, it appears that you may have found a nice one. It looks like you had a really good time.

  5. Suzanne

    I have never had really terrible hostel experiences so I’m quite open to staying in them. They are a great way to meet other travelers. I like that St. Christopher’s Inn is sparkling clean. I also like its central location. And of course, the beer certainly helps its case a lot! 🙂

  6. Maggie

    What a fantastic location! I love Bruges, it’s seriously like a fairy tale. I’m not a hostel fan either but this one looks pretty good. The beer bar is the best part!

  7. Janiel

    I’m actually going to Amsterdam in November and wanted to visit Belgium as a side trip when I was there. What a wonderful experience for you! The hostel looks amazing actually, and if you hadn’t of called it a hostel I would have totally thought it was a fancy hotel. I mean, what hostel actually does BEER TASTINGS!!! The bar looks so quaint and cozy as well. From the front view of the hostel I never would have thought it held such gems inside.

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