Loved staying here; Buso was the best. Although she didn't speak much English and I spoke no Croatian, we managed very well and became friends. We had planned to stay here only one or two nights, but ended up returning to Split a couple more times as we took the ferries to various islands...each time we came back to Bulovic. Being above the bakery and waking up to fresh bread smells every morning was the best, as was the fresh market directly across the street.
This was an accidental stop-over - after a pair of crooked AGRAM conductors threw us off the Budapest-Zagreb train because we refused to pay the extra $120 US apiece they tried to extort from us. I had always wanted to see Lake Balaton, so this was a great stop, and Christian was the best. Staying at Bella Villa was definitely a great way to otherwise end a tiring day on the crappy Hungarian train. If you are going to Siofok (or thrown off a Hungarian train) Bella Villa is the place to stay.
A rating system doesn't do justice to any place, but this is especially true for Mali Mrak. Don't be discouraged by having to take public transport from the main arrival points; getting around Zagreb is easy, cheap & fast. The upside is you are located in a truly unique hostel that offers amenities - unusual philosophical debates, art & atmosphere - plus information about Croatia & Zagreb that even the Lonely Planet doesnt know. You will make friends that last beyond your stay.
Although I was put in the "bunkhouse" across the alley, I really liked this hostel (being in one of the rooms around the inner courtyard is much preferable, if you can manage that). The common area is delightful, especially with all the orchids, and the large fish tank. Location is great for getting around Beijing, as well as for reaching the hostel via the metro. I also took their featured trip to the Great Wall at Jinshanling - highly recommended.
Avoid staying at Badaling at all costs; you can do a day trip from Beijing for cheap. Although this place was OK, it was not really what it's billed as in its adverts. I also was charged twice what a taxi from the airport to Badaling should have cost, by a relative/friend of owner, but was too tired to argue. Although the owner was very pleasant (as were the rooms), she tried to get more $ at every turn (ex. more food items than asked for ); there were few other choices for places to eat.
Wonderful place to stay in Lijiang, though if you are looking for a place that has a lot of recommendations on what to do while there and/or to help you line up tours, etc. this is not the place for you. The owner and family are very friendly and nice, but speak limited English. However, if this is not a priority for you, as it was not for me, this is a great place to stay, and its well located for either exploring Old Town or getting out of it into Lijiang proper. Highly recommend it.
By far and away, Wind's is the best place I stayed...a combination of character, friendliness, and cozy relaxation. Pay a little extra and get a room on the 2nd floor with its own little porch and a great view of Lugu Lake. The grill stand across the street is an added bonus, as are the beautiful photographs of Lugu Hu taken by Mr. Wind. Lots of opportunities for hiking and biking, tho if nightlife is what you are seeking, Lugu Hu may not be for you.
There are undoubtedly other hostels with more local character but for location, information, assistence, and security as well as cleanliness, these two hostels cant be beat. and the price was the best I got in China - for a private room. These are great places to stay, especially if you are new to China and dont feel comfortable with the language barrier. The fact that their internet routes through Hong Kong is even better, as it means you can access news & social sites otherwise blacked out
Despite my ratings, which are average, I really liked Swallow's Nest, because it was rich in character & funkiness. I also liked the fact that most of the guests appear to be Chinese students. I stayed close to a week & enjoyed it - it was like staying in someone's home. The companionship of the hostel's little dog in the AM when I had tea was a plus for me. Location & price cant be beat, & although many might consider the security to be a bit lacking, I felt very safe there.
This is the first hostel I stayed in when I reached China - and its a great place to start one's China trip - especially if you are new to China. The atmosphere is great, the beds are soft, and the showers are hot...all things which matter when you step off a long trans-Pacific flight. Sim's deserves all of its high ratings; although I didnt care much for Chengdu itself, I would have stayed there longer just to stay at Sim's.