Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Roaming Redhead's Guide to Europe: Hostel Reviews Part 1

City Backpackers

Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Rating: 5/5 Swedish Meatballs

This hostel is a really easy walk from the main train station, so don't worry about public transportation. It's pretty much a straight shot down the road and if I didn't get lost you won't. It's located right next to an ATM, and right next to the main shopping street that has touristy shops, restaurants, and clothing stores. This is also the street that goes straight down to the historic district. It's about a ten minute walk to the historic area, where you can see palaces and museums and catch a boat to other areas. The hostel is clean, and provides a locker (you provide the lock) and a reading lamp for every bunk. My room had en suite showers, but no en suite toilet which was a little annoying. Wifi is free as are the computers, and there's a great little common area with couches and a TV where I made a lot of friends. A fully stocked kitchen is provided so you can save some money and buy a box of pasta and make it yourself. There's also an outdoor common area with couches and blankets because Sweden is cold. The staff is very friendly and they all speak good English. There's also a little cafe at reception where you can get coffee and muffins and fruit and the like, and they were happy to fill up my water bottle for me every morning. The hostel is very safe, there's a code to get into the building with the dorms which changes every day, and a separate code to get into your room. You can get a single gender or mixed room. Bring your own sheets and pillow case, as bedding costs extra and a sleeping bag doesn't count (I used mine anyways). Also, it's Swedish tradition to take your shoes off indoors so make sure your feet don't smell!

Copenhagen City Hostel

Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Rating: 3/5 Yorick's Skulls

This hostel is INSANELY HUGE. It used to be an office building. It's pretty centrally located and it's an easy walk from the train station. The rooms are clean, but the bed organization is a little weird. I was in a six bed dorm, and two of the beds were pushed right next to each other, basically creating one giant bed. This was fine as they were taken by Sarai and I, but if I was alone I would be super uncomfortable sleeping there. Especially because they don't have gender specific rooms, so there's a chance you could be sleeping next to a man who may or may not be a creeper. I felt pretty safe, you use your keycard to work the elevator and to get into your room. They provide a locker (you provide the lock) and a reading light for every bed. There's a bar on the first floor which can get kind of loud at night. You have to pay by the hour to use the computers and they say wifi is free if you have your own device (like a computer or ipod touch) but we could never get it to work in our room. Bedding costs extra and once again a sleeping bag doesn't count. In the basement there's a little common area with a TV and a few couches but it wasn't really as warm and inviting as the one in Stockholm. I never really hung out there and it didn't seem like a place to make friends. The staff are very helpful and fluent in English, and some one is at reception 24 hours a day.

Hostel Ruthensteiner

Location: Vienna, Austria
Rating: 5/5 Wiener Schnitzels

This is probably the nicest hostel I stayed at. The walls were painted lovely colors, there were nice hardwood floors, gorgeous outdoor areas to hang out in, even pictures on the walls in the dorm! The staff was very friendly and helpful and some one is at the front desk 24 hours. There's a really nice kitchen, and even an outdoor grill. Everything is really clean. The common areas are comfortable and a great place to hang out and make friends and there's a bar, but it closes down at midnight (I think) and there are hostel wide quiet hours so don't worry about loosing any sleep. This hostel is a quick walk from the train station and is located on a quiet street right off of the main shopping street. There's plenty of cheap restaurants and grocery stores right next to the hostel. It's also an easy walk to see the sites, you just go down the street for 15 minutes to get to the museum area, opera house, and palaces, and about 20 minutes the other way to get to Schonbrunn Palace. I walked alone at night back to the hostel from both Schonbrunn and the opera house and felt perfectly safe. Don't worry about bringing your own bedding, and every bed has an outlet and reading lamp. You use an old fashioned key to get into your room, and another key to get into your locker. The computers cost money but wifi is free if you have your own device. The shower was a little wonky, the spray would stop after a ridiculously short amount of time so you kept having to press the button over and over to get a full wash in.

Villa Olmo Hostel

Location: Como, Lake Como, Italy
Rating: 2/5 Lasagnas

This is a place to sleep. I do want to say that the staff is insanely nice. It's run by a family and they are lovely and accommodating and understanding if you have train issues and need to check in a little late. You feel like a part of their family. That said, this is a place to sleep. The hostel closes down from 10-4, and has a midnight curfew. The mattresses are really uncomfortable, but bedding is provided. There are no reading lamps which I didn't realize would be a problem until I didn't have one and wanted to read. This is a really basic place. You have a locker, and there are a bunch of basic metal bunk beds, a bathroom, and that's it. The dorms are gender divided. There is a common area in the little reception building with a computer (pay to use) and free wifi, and while there isn't a kitchen they do provide breakfast and dinner (dinner costs extra). It's a bit of a schlep to the train station but doable, and there are signs pointing the way to the hostel along the roads. It's located right next to the Villa Olmo (the hostel used to be the Villa Olmo's stables) which has a nice little park area for sitting by the lake and enjoying the view. It's also about a 10 minute walk to town. There are a few restaurants close by, but your best bet is going into town to eat. And the staff is really really friendly!

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