How is staying at an hostel in New York City? Part 2
Some weeks ago, I wrote a post on the blog with three testimonials from Brazilians that chose to stay in hostels here in the city – if you did not read it, click here. A hostel can be a good option for those looking for a cheap accommodation and have no problem sharing a room. It is the choice of many people traveling alone – it ends up being an opportunity to meet people and make friends. At this time, two other girls share their experiences at the HI Hostel here in New York.
Carolina Martins – she stayed at Hostelling International , known like HI Hostel , for 10 nights.
Address : 891 Amsterdam Avenue. – near to 1, B and C subway lines.
“Knowing that New York is a city where hosting is expensive, I thought that a hostel would be a nice alternative for know many people around the world – and is usual staying in hostels during my trips. After all, we’re talking about New York, right? As I always do, I search giving priority to cleanliness and areas in common. I always do my research onBooking, Tripadvisor and Hostel World. I was in doubt between HI and another hostel, but I opted by HI because the great recommendations from some Brazilian that loved the place. Even at the airport in Brazil, when I did my check in, the woman from the flight company saw that we were going to stay at HI and she said we were going to love it. And everybody was right! We depart from JFK airport using Airtrain and the hostel is 1 block from the subway station.
We arrived at 8 am and even that check-in was only at 3 pm, we could check in and go up to the rooms. We received a card that acted as room key and hostel facilities and a towel to shower (which could be replaced when it need be). All staff were super friendly and welcoming us. Our room had 12 girls, but when we got in the room there were only 3 and, with each passing day, the room was getting a bit fuller. All beds had a plug and a single light, plus a giant locker to put the suitcase and belongings and a heater that had worked very well! The internet was very good, it worked in all areas of the hostel, especially in the rooms. The bathroom, my main concern, surprised me by cleaning: I had never stayed in a hostel with a bathroom as good as the one at HI. There, we had individual cabins with shower rooms to exchange (this is essential – have had enough trouble with wet clothes in the cabin), clean and organized toilets. Every time someone came to clean. Very cool!
My room didn’t include breakfast, but some rooms have. I did not think it was as essential as the hostel had a sort of place selling some options for breakfast / lunch / dinner and a giant, well-equipped kitchen, plus a deli in front of the hotel and a Starbucks in the area along of cool coffee options in the Upper West Side.
Conclusion: It was a very interesting experience, one of the best hostels I have stayed. The building is huge and has several living areas, game room, TV room, kitchen, etc. It is a very complete and giant hostel, with many living area for guests. They always promote “Welcome parties” aimed at the exchange of experience between people. The hostel met all my needs during the trip.
The coolest part: Despite not having been a lot at the hostel hotel (I left in the morning and only returned at night), it was a nice experience to have known people around the world and have exchanged experiences with them.
The negative part: Despite I was already being used to, if we think about privacy ends up being a negative point. I arrived usually at night and I was tired and sometimes you just want to drop your things and rest. In the hostel, you end up creating a routine to reach making no noise and not turning the lights (because other people may be sleeping), change clothes under the covers (like Big Brother hahaha) or even in the bathroom, store things and not let thrown there, because you never know the people. But at the same time, you will get used to the space of a small bed – and dark – hahaha.
What’s your advice for those who think about type of accommodation? I think the experience worths! It is good to do a lot of research about the place you’re going, see the recommendations and reviews of travelers and just go without fear! Accommodation ends up being a great value for money especially for those who only come to the place to sleep, take a shower and use the internet.
Silvia Goulart – she stayed at Hostelling International , known like HI Hostel , for 13 nights.
Endereço: 891 Amsterdam Avenue. – próximo às linhas 1, B e C.
Valor que pagou na diária: U$56
“I found out about HI Hostel searching on the internet. I read reviews on Trip Advisor and sent messages to the authors of recent evaluations – I used a filter according to my profile (traveling alone) and then I found some girls and I sent sent message to them. Only a few answered me and all positively. I also searched information on Hostel World. I just read good reviews. My concerns were: security, location (I always go out at night and I did not want to walk thousand blocks from a subway station) and activities (guided tour, tour, tours, and more importantly, pub crawls haha). The facilities are amazing: is the largest hostel I have ever been in my life, it is a huge building, full of space, super divided, very organized, very clean and safe. Because it is so big, also makes it a little impersonal: I am used to European hostels where you know everyone and at HI Hostel you barely get used to people of your own room.
I shared a room with 5 more girls, but they were not always all there. The internet was wonderful and it worked in all hostel areas. There were 3 bunks, each one had its own light with two socket outlets. It was possible to change the bathing suit every day or take more than one (I always use one for the body and one for the hair) and there was always an extra blanket ready – although was not so cold for locals, everyone was cold there, even with everything closed and no air conditioning. My room was a premium one, so I had breakfast – it was not bad, but it was not amazing… It was possible to choose between two fruits (banana or apple), hot drink (coffee, tea or chocolate) and something “major” – I always asked the bagel with cream cheese but I remember that there were other options. I did not do any daytime activities because I had my own schedule – made my personalized script with Nyorquina (see details here) – but those who did the activities loved! And the most excited pubcrawl was on my last night because we were about 50 people, but does not compare with European pubcrawls … here they take you to a bar and leave. The staff was nice, some more, some less … but always attentive and willing to help. Oh, you can receive online orders at the hostel (like Amazon) without charges – but just during the guest stay and the package must be in his name.
Conclusion: I loved the whole experience, but I am not sure I would go back for that hostel alone. That’s because I like to stay in a hostel having my own room or sharing with fewer people and there is no such option, the most privacy is a room for 4 people haha.
The coolest part: the price and making new friends. I’ve met great people, I am still in touch with a Turkish and a Chilean girls who shared the room with me, and there are also the three girls here in South America that I will meet again soon. But the fact that the hostel is so big and there are not evening activities every day it’s not so good, because people don’t get to know each other. But this hostel is undoubtedly the most democratic that I already have been: people over 65 years old, of all styles, etc … really cool!
The negative part: having to keep opening and closing my bag thinking that someone will take your stuff – and I lost a Clinique moisturizer and a super good Japanese sunscreen in the bathroom. There is a box where everyone puts lost and found – I found several things like makeup and shampoo, but I never got my products back, I already bought new ones and now that’s ok. It is also not allowed to drink in the hostel, which forces you to drink only at a bar as it is illegal to drink outside. However, everyone broke that rule, but even so, I thought super annoying not being able to drink there.
What’s your advice for those who think about type of accommodation? Go with an open heart, be sociable and have fun! And be practical with your stuff – I was opening and closing the bags 30 times until I created a system.
Laura Peruchi is a Brazilian blogger, author, and entrepreneur. She has lived in Manhattan with her husband since 2014. Since then, she has shared on her blog varied content about the Big Apple. From travel tips, including unusual things to do, shopping tips, etiquette, restaurants, and a lot more, her blog has become a reference in Portuguese (also available in English) for anyone planning a trip to New York City.