One of my favourite things about being a part of the travel community is following other bloggers’ adventures. I stumbled upon a recent post from one of my favourite writers, Ayngelina at Bacon is Magic. I was inspired by her recent post I’m So Over Hostels and the comments she received. We all have our personal preference, but I was surprised to see how many negative comments her post received about hostelling. I’m a hosteller by heart. I love being able to crash in cheap places, right in the centre of town, with like-minded travellers, and sometimes in rooms with interesting character. I wouldn’t want it any other way! Aside from being great value, the hostels I’ve stayed at in the past have actually been better than many hotels I’ve seen. Most people cringe when I tell them where I’m staying, but despite some of the misconceptions, I want to finally prove that hostel travel can be way better than hotel travel.
On a recent trip to Madrid I stayed at THC Bergantin, a hostel that should really be a hotel and which I think dispels any myths about staying in one.
The entrance and staircase are sketchy and shabby but our room was far from it! A widescreen plasma TV, personal balcony, awesome decor, free wifi (this is key), and travel-size shampoos (which saved me a few extra euros). Unfortunately, we didn’t know about the on-going construction outside our window until we got there, so the view of the lively street below wasn’t much of a view but it was still nice to open up the French doors in the morning and hear birds-chirping. The daily cleaning service was a surprising touch! We had fresh towels and our pillows plumped every morning, something I definitely wasn’t expecting in a hostel (but then again, there’s nothing ‘hostel’ about this place!)
The doors opened into the lobby…
which led us through the hallways…
THC Bergantin is tucked away on a narrow-cobblestoned street. It took us awhile to find it. We got lost for almost two hours (it seems the streets in Madrid don’t ever intersect with one another, we ended up in the midst of a political protest when we surfaced onto Puerta del Sol, and trying to self-navigate in the dark is not an easy trick). Aside from jumping a few tiny obstacles, THC is just around the corner from the main square and metro. We were stumbling distance to some of the best tapas bars, the main street of la Gran Vía, El Corte Inglés, La Puerta del Sol square, and Mercado de San Miguel for fresh eats. We couldn’t ask for anything more central!
Tip: If you’re a light sleeper, pack earplugs. The bars are really close by and madrileños are known to party until early hours on any given night.
Like a Local
One of the best things about staying here is that you’re next to the popular ham shops (yes, ham!) and bars frequented by the locals every night. English is not widely spoken here so you can pick up a few new words and immerse yourself with madrileños. Big tip: Brush up on your Spanish! The owner at the reception desk is the sweetest lady ever who will have a full conversation with you in Spanish even though she knows most guests don’t speak the language. At first, it was a bit frustrating but then I realized it was a nice little cultural immersion and we could finally practise our Spanish! She’s also very happy to give you full access to their family fridge for drinks!
This hostel is really a hotel – without the prices of one! This room cost us €25 per person. There is also free cancellation if your travel itinerary happens to change last minute (and as constant travelers, this is a huge plus!)
Other things you should know: Contrary to Ayngelina’s commenters, this hostel is not smelly, there is no funky odour, I didn’t hear anyone snoring, and there were no drunken parties (in fact, it was pin-drop silent during our stay, maybe because we were the only ones who found this gem). Oh yes, and “old” travellers sometimes stay here too!
My mission is get more people to travel and I think hostelling is one of the best ways to do it. All you need is a lil’ research or better yet, feel free to hit me up and I promise to find ya the best hostel for your next trip!
How to Get there: Calle Victoria, 1. Metro: Sol
Where is the best hostel you stayed in?
Has this changed your mind about hostel travel?
Share your favourite spot to prove that hostelling can be better than hotels!