Category Archives: Hostel Reviews

Hostel Review: Gracia City Hostel [Barcelona, Spain]

Hostel name: Gracia City Hostel
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Barcelona is the first city I’ve ever visited outside of my country, and it’s hands down one of the most beautiful cities in the world; going there is always a special experience for me, which is why I always want to stay at a special hostel. This time, I chose Gracia City Hostel.

Location

1

I found the location of the hostel quite good. It’s close to the center of the city, in a quiet and nice area, and you only have some 7 minutes of walking from the subway (metro station: Diagonal). It’s not exactly in walking distance from the Ramblas or the Bari Gothic, so if you want to hang out there in the night, you might want to check out some night buses (there are a couple), or return while the subway/bus is still working (about 23:00). However, if you want some peace and quiet, without the fuss of downtown Barcelona, the location is perfect.

I was walking at night near the hostel, and it seemed pretty safe to me. The building is in a small street which seems a little strange, but I didn’t see anything to make me anxious.

The Accommodation

The sleeping conditions were really good. Clean, fluffy beds, big pillows, thick blankets if you’re feeling cold, all is good. If the hostel is full, a little line might form at the bathroom, but that goes for most hostels I’ve been to, it’s not really a problem.

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The lounge is at the basement, but that’s the only downside to it (the lack of windows) – it looks really good! I loved the bean bags, which are always comfortable after a day of walking in the city. They also have a nice table, a couch, a TV, games which you can play; all in all, everything you could want in a hostel lounge. Everything looks brand new, is clean, and is very enjoyable.

But for me, the best thing was in the next room – the kitchen. I feel like this is one of the most underrated aspects of any hostel: having a kitchen is amazing! Not only do you save time and money, but you get a lot of freedom – the freedom to just pick up whatever you want from a supermarket and make it there. Personally, I really love hanging out in the kitchen, making some light food, after a full day of urban exploration; even just a tea or coffee in the morning can work wonders. All the facilities are there, including some pots and some basic food you can take (rice, sugar, tea, etc). Really loved the kitchen.

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The only thing I found a little strange (though understandable) was that the light goes out at 1AM, for environmental purposes. However, you do have a bed light on every bed, so it’s still possible to read or browse the internet even after that.

The wifi works pretty well, and they also have 2 computers which you can use.

The price was 12 euros (16 dollars) for a night in the common room when I booked it. It’s not the cheapest hostel in Barcelona, but it’s definitely one of the cheapest – and for the conditions they offer, I’d say that it’s more than acceptable.

The staff

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The staff was really great, quite pleasant to talk to, answering any questions I had, no problem. You can read an interview with Luis, the hostel’s manager, here. He’s a really nice guy, with lots of good insights, so I really recommend reading the interview if you plan on going to Barcelona.

What was interesting about the staff is that they are international. There are two girls from Russia and one from Slovenia, the manager is Mexican, and the cleaning man is a local Catalan – he didn’t speak much English, but he was really fun, and he sings pretty well.

Conclusion

So, a nice chill out location, close to a subway station, nice conditions, low price, friendly people – I enjoyed my stay at Gracia City Hostel in Barcelona a lot. I’d definitely recommend it to other travelers.

Booking hostels online. The ABC of important sites

We all know how important it is to find the perfectly suitable accommodation so serve your needs and to be affordable at the same time. It’s even more important if you know that over 70 per cent of the travelers who aren’t happy with their last vacation associate the most unpleasant happenings with their accommodation and you wouldn’t want that happening to you. So that’s that: you’re a budget traveler looking for a place to stay. The thing is you really have to take lots of things into consideration when choosing a hostel. Off the top of your head it is the quality-price report, and yes, it’s usually the most important. Another thing to be taken seriously is the area where the hostel is, as well as the kind of people visiting the place.

 

You may pick different hostels from the same trip if you’re traveling with your girlfriend the first time and with your friends or parents the second. Unfortunately, hostels’ sites aren’t always reliable. This is when a third actor comes into discussion: the specialized sites giving reviews from people who have been to some hostels and are willing to share their experiences. And while not all the users are fair, most of them don’t lie on the internet because at their turn they choose the hostels on basis of others’ reviews. So the first thing we know about these sites is that they’re self-regulatory. The second thing you’d like to know are, perhaps, the most popular and trustworthy sites of this kind.

1. Hostels.com is the place where you’ll find over three and a half million guest reviews from people who have visited different hostels and B&Bs (Bed & Breakfast for the ones who aren’t familiar with the term) from over 180 countries of the world, a number of over 35, 000 accommodation places. The review system makes the site trustworthy, and the grades and stars given are to be seriously regarded before making such a choice. For instance, we wouldn’t really recommend a place with an overall review of less than 75%, while 70 per cent means you should really run away. Because each of the services in reviewed in particular, you have even more opportunities to choose from. If hostel A and B offer the approximate same services but B seems to be cleaner as the reviews show and you’re a sort of a freak about this (or it’s simply something very important to you), your decision’s already made. Plus, the property type doesn’t only include hostels so if you’re looking for a different type of accommodation this site’s appropriate for any kinds of needs.

This is, perhaps, the most popular site of hostel bookings. The amazing thing besides ranking any hostel according to the travelers who have submitted reviews and comments is that there are no booking fees. So besides being a reliable source with an amazing capacity, it’s also a place to be trusted. The accommodation you’re looking for is not only found to best fit your interests, but its booking price is also automatically transformed into your country’s currency so that the math’s easier for you. Everything here is designed to be user-friendly and reliable.

 

2. Hostels on lonelyplanet.com  is a place where you can book and search for hostels without any problem. Its over 27,000 destinations included cover most of the world’s touristic attractions. The fact that lonelyplanet.com is such a successful site is the perfect guarantee that you’re not wasting your time and the source is reliable. Also, the booking made here is one of the most secure on the internet, mainly because of their reputation and the responsibility that comes with it. Plus, a great thing on this site is that you can also take care of other issues of your trip, such as mapping some important key destinations you’d love to visit or finding an affordable car rental company to best fit your budget.

 

3. Hostelbookers.com is one of the best specialized sites giving you in real time the possibility to know how many rooms are free where you want to make the reservations, as well as what’s the most affordable hostel near some specific destinations or what’s the starting price for a bed in a hostel (depending on your specifics: if you’d like it with shared or private bathroom, in a room of 6, or 4 or maybe in a private one, if you’d like the breakfast included etc.). From apartments and guesthouses to campsites, any information you need is on this site. On Trustpilot, the site is ranked as being excellent (with a score of 9.3 out of 10). Again, as high ranking bring responsibility, there’s a clear case of site doing its job.

 

4. Hostelz.com is, finally, the fifth very popular web destination for hostel bookings. Over 43,000 listings in almost 10,000 cities make it the biggest database of its kind currently on the internet. So the search results here are, most importantly, diversified. Besides providing updated photos and prices of the suggested places, you’ll also find (sometimes) shockingly honest reviews from travelers who have been disappointed or, on the contrary, very satisfied with their choices. The community of travelers who vote here are not only trustworthy (as are all the other ones), but very open in saying the most minor things that can make the difference from horrible to decent or from fine to amazing.