All was good save for location which is really excellent - close to a metro station in a great spot; and for correspondence which was a big problem. The partner in charge of the email address listed in US websites would not respond to repeated requests over a five-month period to simply confirm the reservation. Only a long-distance telephone call got a confirmation; this is a real problem which puts a question mark on the wisdom of booking here.
Of 8 Chinese hostels, this one in Shanghai has been my best. Front desk staff - always more than 1 - are fluent in English and very responsive. Location is on top of 3 different metro lines. A goldfish pool and flower garden set the tone outside; lounge areas are attractive and busy inside. Beds are comfortable, with top sheets large enough to actually tuck in. Towels are changed daily, rooms are kept very clean. Internet access was constant and unbroken. Great in every respect.
A story of woes. 1) Five attempts to confirm a reservation, zero responses. 2) Obsolete and incorrect info on mailing for transfer from hi-speed rail station to hotel; no mention of new subway line. 3) Denial at sign-in of Chinese Hostal Assoc. discount: 'Already within internet price'. 4) Very limited English-speaking staff - 1 good, 1 fair; but night coverage inert, even in Chinese. 5) Had to argue to get a receipt; failure on the first attempt, then success. Book elsewhere.
The Hofang IYH is an extremely well-run organization with a very responsive and effective staff, including several who are either good or outstanding in English. I have given it top marks in every category save for a good in the over-all value for money. That was not because it was overpriced, but simply because the square footage is pretty tiny in the individual rooms, more like Tokyo/ Hong Kong/Singapore standards than one would expect in a much less dense city like Hangzhou. Very nice.
Delightful hosts, a married couple who actually run the place themselves. Location is in a prosperous and safe residential neighborhood with multiple food places nearby. Value for the money is extremely high. Computer-internet and kitchen access were extremely welcome. A problem caused by confusion on the part of two other guests was handled extremely smoothly and graciously by the hosts. A wonderful place to stay, highly recommended.
I was extremely pleased by almost everything at Mystic House Hostel. Security was perfect, with a locked gate opened up only for people passing in or out, and then relocked - with an open grill of railing bars to speak through to the staffer sitting at the desk a few feet inside the office for all twenty-four hours a day every day. Only complaint: the printed policy of not allowing noise-making in common areas after 11:00pm was not enforced on at least two nights, with much noise at 1am-4am.
Dar Nell hosted me for six consecutive nights, then later a final night. It was a treat: right in the Medina close to two main taxi points, completely secure, very comfortable with a good bed and linen, tasty breakfast at a reasonably early hour, and a reasonable price. The host, Maggie, is a real pleasure - knowledgeable, funny, attentive, and discerning about likely interests of varied guests. Her reliable presence at the house was the best feature of Dar Nell; I'm very glad I stayed there.
Space in Hong Kong is extremely tight and therefore very expensive. Given this context, Apple Hostel provides a quite good value for the typically tiny space. The location is really wonderful, with the Star Ferry from Kowloon to Central a great way to start and finish a day. The staff are very responsive. Sometimes, the outer door to the shared corridor is left unlocked for the convenience of the staff; it would be more secure if it were always locked.
The location is perfect, just minutes from one of the two direct bus runs from and to the airport, on a one-way and therefore more safe street, in the relatively quiet French Quarter. The staff - Tony, Nghia, and Lan - were each terrific, with English good to excellent. E-mail responsiveness was terrific. Facilities were fine. Value was tops. Really a hotel rather than a hostel. A great find.
Nhi Trung Hotel is about midway between the bus stop and the middle of the Old Town, a bit closer to the later, so it's location is great. Facilities are fine, and value is excellent. Breakfasts were quite good, internet connection always worked fine, bathroom was excellent. No complaints at all.
Good Times is a jewel in several respects. First, it is located within the French Quarter on a main street with very very easy access by taxi cab or mini-bus, and extremely close proximity to one of Hanoi's two airport bus services to and from the center of the city. Second, given this location, it has an almost unique relationship of value to cost. Staff is outstanding: Tony, Nghia, and Lan are all proficient in English, have a response time to advance emails that is virtually instantaneous.
Tran Ly faces Hue's central Perfume River, about a 5-10 minute walk to the Citadel and Imperial City. It is very clean, well-appointed, well-staffed, very secure, and well-provided hotel that provides fine bathroom, a/c, television, internet access, free breakfast. Value for money is great. No complaints at all.
The Hump is in the central Kunming, perfect location. What is saves on low costs is offset by low services: group shower area, men and women together; shower stalls that can be locked but lack adequate space to keep clothes dry; poor and erratic heating; no top sheets; ear plugs that don't protect against late night noise; lots of non-residents in the halls drawn by the money-making central lounge cafe; charges for internet computer use; charges for any routine bookings. A barracks, to avoid.