My first experience in a hostel occurred when I went to Switzerland and it turned out to be a great one. Since I roomed with a few other random people from around the world I was a little nervous of getting my personal items stolen especially valuables. In our hostel we met an amazing new friend, Laura, who was from Australia. She was very nice and we talked a lot about her travels around Europe. She had been away from home for nearly a year. Her story was incredible and I was glad to have met her. The hostel’s staff was very friendly and helped us figure out our daily plans. They helped us contact the company in which we would go paragliding, enlightened us on the weather, and encouraged us to do various activities based on our budget and the clear skies. We couldn’t have had a better time while in Interlaken, Switzerland.
The hostel had a bar on the first floor where we checked in. My room was on the second floor. It was a mixed dorm – which I didn’t realize how much it was like a dorm until I got there. We shared three showers and three bathrooms with a couple other floors. Not sure how many rooms. But there were two floors I knew of and around six people in each room. I didn’t even realize that there wouldn’t be towels provided. And Laura was surprised when I told her I had not brought a towel. I think I had said I forgotten one, but honestly I had no idea that I needed to bring one in the first place. I luckily brought a t-shirt which I used as a temporary towel. I was overprotective of all my things and worried too much about my suitcase getting stolen. I put a lock on the suitcase, but before I went to sleep the second night I tucked my purse inside forgetting the key was clasped to my purse. The second before I went to bed I remembered my mistake. I easily broke into my own suitcase and retrieved the key. Now I had realized how pointless the lock was. And the lockers that were provided in the rooms didn’t even have the locking capabilities. You could shove a lock on it, but when you turned the knob it easily opened. Completely pointless. I felt worried for the rest of my clothes that sat helplessly inside the darkness of my suitcase. There were strangers in the room. But they were all harmless and nothing vanished from the locker while I was there. It was a very comfortable place, so I had nothing to worry about.
Walking through the bar of the Happy Inn Lodge to the very back around a corner and up the stairs – around a couple more corners to the room I called mine for two nights in Interlaken. There were three bunked beds pushed against three of the four walls of the room. The fourth wall had a window, sink, mirror, and one working outlet. It was a functional room, but smelled odd. I’m not sure if it was the feet of one guy in the bunk to the right or if it was the on and off smoking of the guy in the top bunk to the left. Possibly both. It was slightly sickening, but I survived the smell and was rarely in the room due to the many adventures I had while in Switzerland. It was the only unpleasant aspect of the hostel. The room was very warm compared to the shivering Italian bedroom I’d escaped from for the weekend and of course the low degree Celsius that chilled the outside.
As we talked with Laura about our future travels around Europe in the Happy Inn Lodge, we mentioned our trip to Budapest, Hungary. She immediately began telling us about party hostels around the area as well as others in Europe. She mentioned Retox and Grandio located in Budapest. I thought it was interesting how they had party hostels around Europe. I should have expected it from young travelers looking for an extra fun experience in the cities they visited throughout Europe though. I wrote down the names interested in finding out more about party hostels. In two weeks I would be going to Budapest with Ciera and Paolo. I mentioned the party hostel to Ciera partially joking about actually staying there and mostly thinking she would rather not. Instead, as an expert hostel-goer, she was very interested in the experience. It was something completely new and different. We talked to Paolo about the idea and he didn’t seem to care, as long as we found a place. I was very excited for the experience – they sent us an email about different activities that they would be doing as a hostel. The activities included a boat party down the river that divided Buda and Pest, but unfortunately we arrived the day after the boat party. I was a little disappointed in missing it because a girl we met at the hostel said it was very beautiful. The others were a pub crawl at the Ruin Bars and Sparty (spa party) in one of the baths in Budapest.
When I first arrived at the party hostel, my first thoughts were that it was a mistake to stay there and that I would be way in over my head. I judged the place too fast, though. And by the end I loved the atmosphere and the amazing people I met from all over the world. One of the girls said that Grandio was one of the craziest party hostels she’s ever stayed in – and she had stayed in many around Europe. It slightly worried me, thinking I should have started with an easy-going party hostel first. By the end, I really enjoyed Grandio and I wouldn’t have minded staying for a few extra days. Grandio had a great atmosphere and a unique personality. The hostel room we stayed in was very different than the first and you could immediately tell that it was a party hostel. There were fifteen other people in the room I slept in compared to the five other people who shared a room with me in the hostel in Switzerland. When first entering the room, there were two bunked beds in a small room and then another doorway to a larger room with six bunked beds – three on opposite walls. There was a room with two showers and another room with a sink and toilet for the entire room to share. Since everyone was out and about, either exploring the city or hanging out in the community room down the hall, there was not any problems with it feeling crowded or anything. The experience was a great one.
All the people there were friendly. Overall, Budapest was absolutely amazing and I wish I could have had spent more time there. Still, I had a great time and saw so much of Buda and Pest. I absolutely recommend staying at Grandio to meet amazing new people and enjoy the exciting atmosphere. We hung out quite a bit with two other girls studying abroad in France. There was another rather large group that was studying abroad in Europe – I believe France as well – who all went to Vanderbilt. Others were from Australia, Germany, Great Britain, and many more places throughout Europe and around the world.
My favorite thing about hostels (party hostel or not) are the people I’ve met from all over the world. It’s exciting to hear their stories and adventures and language/accent.
– Amanda –
Interested in more information? Click links in text above or the following:
Happy Inn Lodge (Hostel in Interlaken, Switzerland): http://www.hostels.com/hostels/interlaken/happy-inn-lodge/3463?source=hcgadgenericsprpn1all&gclid=CMqUr-Kf37oCFQdY3godcjAA5w
Grandio (Party Hostel in Budapest, Hungary): http://budapestpartyhostels.com/pages/index.php?page=gr&cont=zero
Ruin Bars (Budapest, Hungary): http://travel.cnn.com/budapests-best-ruin-bars-051056
Sparty (Bath Parties in Budapest, Hungary): http://www.bathsbudapest.com/budapest-bath-parties