What do I expect when selecting a hostel / hotel?
When travelling cheaply, I do not only focus on the price of the hostel or hotel I am planning to stay in but also on living conditions, customer service and what I consider to be the most important- hospitality. Moreover, I want my belongings to be safe, meet some great people, get some local and or western food and take part in some activities in around not far away from my hostel. I always leave the hostel early in the morning and come back late at night, however sometimes I might want to stay in and chill out with other travellers for a little bit longer.
Money vs. standard
I always thought that if you pay a little money, you should not expect too much and dirty rooms and unpleasant staff are not a surprise. In many cases that is so true. However, I found a few places, travelling in China and Hong Kong, where, despite the fact you do not pay a lot for a room, you can still get a great service, have fun there and the staff are more than happy to help you with many things such as good restaurant recommendation, visa documents and so on. During this whole adventure I have learnt one thing- always give an objective feedback on the website where you book your hotel hostel and keep sharing your experience with others on this or any other travel websites. Thanks to this, we can help each other a lot and recommend some good and cheap places to stay in.
How to find a good hostel hotel living up my expectations?
As probably most of travellers I visit hostelworld website. The website offers a wide range of various hostels, it is easy to book and not time- consuming. Personally, I always grab some leaflets of numerous hostels around the place I stay in and then try to find some information about them on the Internet or ask people in the hostel. I also compare prices and the distance and then make my decision to move out or stay in. Moreover, I use my Lonely Planet books and follow the recommendations there regarding the best choice of the hostel or ask local people around for some advice, who mostly show me the most expensive hotels :-).
I have been to a few hostels and hotels in China and Hong Kong so I decided to share my feelings about them. Let’s start then!
1) Beijing- Peking Youth Hostel, China
Bei Chi Zi Da Jie, Dongcheng, Beijing, China, 100006, +86 10 6526 8855, +86 10 6527 8855 (Fax), +86 139 1155 2798 (Mobile), website: yhachina.com
Pros: good location, friendly staff, cheap.
Cons: Extra charge for the locker and the safe (RMB1 everytime I put something in and took it out).
2) Dragon Town Guest House, China
26 Kuan Xiang Zi Street, Chengdu, Chengdu, China. Website: .
Pros: helpful staff, nice rooms.
Cons: A little bit expensive in comparison to other places.
3) Yangtze River Youth Hostel, China
Dock 11, ChaoTian Men Port, Chongqing. Website: http://www.yangtzeriverhostel.hostel.com.
Pros: The best hostel I have ever been to, super friendly staff, clean rooms, pool table, cheap and there is a small cinema and a bar, the hostel provides lots of cheap activities such as Yangtze River Cruise, Zhang Jia Jie tours and Tibet permit. They make the best squeezed juices in the world! And the location is great, free pick up from the North Train Station.
Cons: Difficult to book, it is always full of people.
4) Fenghuang- Hunan International Youth Hostel, China
ChinaNo. 20 Wujia Nong Lane, Dongzheng Rd. Fenghuang, Hunan.
Pros: Excellent location and views from the window.
Cons: There are numerous hostels there cheaper than this one, not worth booking it in advance, you will probably find cheaper options- the same or better standard.
5) Chengdu Mix Hostel, China
Website: mixhostel.com, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pros: Nice staff, cheap rooms, various tours provided, nice western and local food.
Cons: Location is not very good.
6) Ashoka Hostel, Hong Kong
A Blk. Flr. 13, A4 Chung King Mansion, 36 – 44 Nat,Tsimshatsui, Hong Kong, p. +852-23112170, f. +852-37435334, email: email@example.com.
Pros: Great location, easy to find, nice and clean rooms.
Cons: Unpleasant staff (never smiled), no receipt given.
Important: There is a huge building in Hong Kong (the same address as Ashoka Hostel) with many hostels inside. There are more than 16 floors (as far as I remember) with at least two hostels on each floor. There is no point in booking a room in advance as you can get there and find something cheaper. For example, I spent about HK$150 (6- bed dorm) in Ashoka Hostel and had to check out next day as there were no rooms available. Next day I went to the 2nd floor and found the same standard 8- bed dorm for HK$100, no deposit needed.
7) Sanlitun Youth Hostel (Wangfujing hostel), China
No.1 Chunxiu Lu(Gong Ti Bei Lu), Chaoyang District, Beijing, China, p. +86 10 51909288, f. +86 10 51909289, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pros: Excellent service, great activities to get to know each other (different every day, for example: cooking dumplings, etc.) , reliable trips to the Great Wall of China, Tibet permit, big and tidy rooms, bike rental.
Cons: Extra payment for the safe, RMB1 every time you open it and close.
8) Le Tour Traveler’s Rest Youth Hostel, China
Bldg. 36, 319 Jiaozhou Road, JingAn District, Shanghai, China, p. +86-21-62671912, f. +86-21-62671912, email: email@example.com.
Pros: Great location, tidy rooms, friendly staff.
Cons: Expensive food and drinks at the bar.