A hostel above a pub in Walthamstow. For someone like me, who's comes into London as a long-distance commuter and works there for a week or two at a time, it's ideal. This was my first stay and I liked it so much that I've been back several times.
My room was a small, spotless cuboid boasting a bed, a table and fast wifi. It suited me fine for the price. I stayed three nights and slept well for two. If you've inconsiderate neighbours, you'll hear every footstep.
I can see why this place gets good reviews: it's welcoming and sociable, the beds are comfortable, there's lots of helpful information at hand and the 5 euro dinners can be terrific. However, having paid 20 euros a night in the off-season, I was a little disappointed by the staff's eagerness to fill dorms while others presumably lay empty (I assume it meant less cleaning). Earlier in Faro, at a guesthouse, I'd had a single room for 25 euros. At the hostel, I kind of regretted my penny-pinching.
The main thing to note about this hostel, apart from the lack of heating, was the receptionist's absence for most of the day. He was around in the morning, and showed up at 9.30pm, but if you arrived in the afternoon you had to phone the management and ask for a key code to let yourself in. I can only assume this was an off-season economy measure. That said, the rooms were fine, the beds comfortable and the common areas welcoming. Oh, and it was cheap.
The Ritz of backpacker hostels.
Archetypal anonymous resort hotel. I wanted an affordable single room for a night, and it fitted the bill fine.
I was visiting Seville with a friend in her 60s who's never stayed in a hostel before. We were happy with our affordable twin room, and my friend was impressed with how helpful the staff were. Indeed, there were lots of things she liked about this place, so maybe I've prompted a lifestyle change.
Bargain accommodation run by truly lovely people, and not as hard to find as some have made out. If you're walking from the train station, set off down the main road with the Theatre Royal on your right. When you reach Bab Doukkala (made up of several arches in the medina wall), walk 160 paces from the arch facing on to the market; on your right you'll see the Derb Sidi Mohamed Haj sign. Take that street, follow it round to the right, turn first left, walk 50 paces and you're at Riad Massine.
Efficiently run, though others have commented on the "Are you going on a tour tomorrow?" schtick. The problem with Fez's medina is that it's a huge maze of barely signposted medieval lanes, which makes some kind of guide essential, certainly on your first day. What a pity you're then at their mercy. I didn't especially mind that 50%+ of our tour took place in shops: the tannery is a great spectacle, the carpet seller provides a masterclass in BS, and dressing up in Arab clothes was a hoot.
I made this hostel's first reservation, and was one of the first guests. The management were having some teething problems on opening day, but went out of their way to be hospitable. I liked the location (Tangier seems like a dump at first, though looking back I quite enjoyed its earthiness) - however, I wish I'd known in advance that some ferries from Algeciras arrive at the new port, 52km away. To avoid having to haggle with a taxi driver, I'd recommend sailing from Tarifa instead.
Not a bad place. It’s clean and well run, and thankfully the beds aren’t bunk beds. Sure, I had to sit at a table on the landing to get a decent wi-fi signal, but that was no great hardship. If there’s a “pile ‘em in and take the money” feel to it all, then I suspect that’s just Ljubljana for you. It’s one of those cities where hostels are the only budget option, and they know it.
A bare, cell-like room. Cheap, flimsy sheets (nice portable radiator, however). No map, no advice, no nothing. A toilet paper dispenser with just four sheets in it. A shower that ran out of hot water. No sign of this Nola lady that other reviewers have raved about. A reception that’s closed from 2.30pm to 6.30pm (though the guy was good enough to let me in when I arrived two hours late, at 3pm). On balance, maybe I should have gone with one of the old ladies who mobbed me at the bus station.
A clean, comfortable, pleasant enough place run by a nice family; it’s hard for me to come to any further conclusions, as I was the only guest on the night I was there. There’s no heating, so in wintertime you have to dive under the covers of your bed in the evening.
By the time I left it was like I’d made two new friends, as Donnie and his mother are exceptionally good-hearted people. They're new to this, but with his instinctive grasp of what guests are looking for, Donnie is tailor-made for the hospitality industry. Given his entrepreneurial zeal and ingenuity, I wouldn’t be surprised if he owned a chain of hotels in 20 years.
Due to a Turkish public holiday, and to my annoyance, the hostel was overbooked when I arrived. We sorted things out amicably in the end: I was given the bed in the common room on the top floor, which no one can be bothered to use. The place is adequate, but nothing to write home about.
The good news is that you get an ensuite, hotel-style room for a hostel-style price. On the downside, the breakfast is risible, the TV doesn’t have any English channels and the night staff speak nothing but Albanian.
A nice property with attentive hosts and the option of home-cooked meals. One thing it needs, however, is adequate directions on this website - I used a Berat Backpackers flyer because a reviewer here said the two were neighbours - so here goes. From the Hotel Palma, follow the road parallel to the river, then cross the stone bridge into Gorica. Looking to your left, the guesthouse is a shot walk along the cobbled road that runs at an angle to the river, and is clearly marked.
Really good value, particularly for solo travellers who want their own room. I didn’t meet Antonio, but his parents were charming hosts; the map-cum-factsheet they provide you with is invaluable.
This wasn’t as easy to find as I’d hoped; when I emerged from the bus station, Skopje seemed like a bewildering maze. With all the street signs written purely in Cyrillic, I had to fall back on the “Excuse me, do you speak English?“ routine. But it’s a very good, welcoming hostel. I especially liked the cavernous lockers under the bunk beds. They’re so big, you could probably fit a person in one if you wanted to (not that I’m saying you should).
A top-notch hostel with wide, wonderfully comfortable beds and a delightfully convivial atmosphere.
This hostel has a great many virtues (see other reviews) and Boris, who runs it, is a good guy. But it needs to introduce a late-night noise abatement policy. Listening to your fellow guests talking till 2am, in a communal area right outside your door, can be very annoying, particularly when you have a bus to catch next morning. Or maybe I’m just a grumpy old man.
I’ll admit it: I booked a dorm bed here hoping that the dorm would be empty. On my arrival, the owner showed me the bare room, which at the time had two occupants. With three sets of bunk beds crammed in, it put me in mind of a battery farm. At that point I upgraded to a private room, which was great. The hostel is also much closer to the main square than I'd been expecting - it's an easy 10-minute walk, in fact. The owner (think Bob Hoksins circa 1980) is a little gruff, but seems to mean well.
Close to the rail and bus stations and easy to find, this terrific hostel is owned and managed by an ebullient, very likeable Dutchman. In England we'd call him a thoroughly good egg; he's clearly put a lot of thought into how best to serve his guests, and the result is quite the home from home.
A friendly, delightful place in a very picturesque location. The manager, Cristina, is a gem.
A no-brainer for those seeking budget accommodation. There’s nana, who lives here; her daughter, who speaks so-so English and patiently answers all your questions on day one; and the granddaughter, who’s fluent. The family are good, conscientious people who will do their best for you, despite Moldova‘s sometimes frustrating shortcomings. The single room suited me nicely, while the city centre is an easy bus ride away. For wi-fi and great food, try La Placinte restaurant, a 10-minute walk away.
I hadn’t shared a dorm since 2002, but I couldn‘t have picked a better place in which to get back into the habit. Putting aside my initial peeve (the front door was obscured by scaffolding when I was there, making it just about impossible to find without help), I soon came to appreciate the laid-back, low-key atmosphere and the sense that this is a genuine travellers’ community founded on mutual respect between staff and guests.
Homely, safe, efficiently run and in a convenient, easy-to-find location (though if you speak British English, it’s on the ground floor, not the first). I liked my single room a lot and appreciated the staff‘s commitment to making their guests feel welcome.
Perhaps it was the frame of mind I was in, but I felt that the hostel was impersonal, that the dorms were cramped and that the staff’s English skills left something to be desired at times. On the other hand it’s cheap, spotlessly clean and in a good location, and since I had a dorm to myself for the best part of three days during the low season, I can’t in all conscience complain.
Standout value in an expensive city. The facilities are good, the owners are charming and the tour they arranged for me (with one of the smaller Icelandic operators) was quite simply magical. Recommended.