So some of you are probably wondering how my hostel stay went. I find that most people are really polarized on one side or the other of the hostel debate– it seems to go from “hostelling is a fantastic experience always” to “I WOULD NEVER STAY IN A HOSTEL” without any middle ground. I had actually never stayed in a hostel before this trip, so I was curious to see which side I’d end up leaning towards afterwards. The verdict? Read on.
Hostel: BASE Auckland
Dates: Feb 3 – 10, 2014
– Full online booking system
– Girls-only dorms (and extra points for having these available through the booking system– no need to call in separately)
– Full kitchen facilities
– Travel agent and job search help on-premises
– Wi-fi available in entire facility, decent price too for 7 days of unlimited wi-fi
– Computers available for those who didn’t want to use wi-fi
– Super friendly staff, front desk was staffed 24/7
– Short-term luggage storage available for no extra fees
– Rooms had keycard entry
– Storage lockers under each bunk bed with enough room for both of my backpacks in one (bring your own lock or buy one from the front desk)
– Washrooms were decently clean
– Entertainment readily available– hostel-affiliated bar was next door, there was another bar in the hostel (I didn’t visit this one), two TV lounge rooms, big general lounge area
– Buffet breakfast was available for a fee
– Showers were hot, and water pressure was great
– Laundry facilities on-site (I believe it was $4 for a wash, $2 for a dry? I didn’t use them)
– NO bedbugs or other equally nasty things
– Showers were not well maintained– the floors were gross, one door didn’t close at all (I propped it shut the one time I had this one, and avoided it after that)
– Sheets were not changed regularly, even if you left your bed clear of personal items. At least one girl did not have her sheets changed in a full month– I am not sure if she asked to have them changed or not, though. I was sleeping on my own sheets which I brought with me (not a bad idea if you’re planning on staying in a hostel, for a couple of reasons).
– It’s not the hostel’s fault, but sleeping in a room with 7 other people has its own problems… everyone keeps different hours, so it’s impossible to coordinate things like when the overhead light should be on. Someone’s alarm might go off loudly at 6am. A group of people might come back drunk from a bar at 2am. People might still be sleeping at noon. Luckily I’m a really heavy sleeper (*except in squeaky beds, apparently), and I can fall asleep pretty much anywhere in any circumstances, so this was tolerable, but if you’re neither of those things, this might be the dealbreaker for you for a large dorm.
– Breakfast was really tiny for the amount paid ($8 per meal). I realize it was all-you-can-eat, but when all-you-can-eat means toast and cereal, you might as well just buy your own bread and Corn Flakes and have a week’s worth of breakfasts right there for the same price. The coffee was extra-super-bitter and sludgy too (but hey, maybe someone likes it like that?).
– Kitchen fridges were overcrowded, and I had food stolen from my grocery bag (all bags were labelled).
– There was an open window in the dining area/kitchen, so birds would fly in and walk all over the tables and counters– this is a bit unsanitary.
Overall, the number of Ups definitely outweighed the Downs, and generally speaking I had a good experience at BASE Auckland. I’d probably stay at a BASE property again (they are spread out across NZ). I wouldn’t recommend staying at a hostel for much longer than I did though (~1 week); after a while, it just starts wearing on you– the constant noise, not much privacy, sharing bathroom/kitchen facilities with large amounts of people… you don’t realize how nice it is to have your own shower (or even sharing with just one or two people) until you’re sharing with 30!
So for those of you who would NEVER stay in a hostel, maybe the Downs list didn’t dissuade you from your opinion, and that’s ok– but for a hostel, BASE Auckland definitely had a lot of Ups, so I would still recommend it to people who either have stayed in hostels before or like hostelling in general.
On that note, I’m pleased to be able to say that I’m moving again on Sunday into a place with a much nicer bed! It’s a shared flat with two girls. Fingers crossed that there’s nothing else drastically wrong with that place, but at least the bed will not be waking me up at 1am (like it did last night) with its darn creaking…
Have a good night!