I am annoyed. I am annoyed at the fact that, every now and then I pay to stay in hostels that do not deserve my money. Hostels that run like cold businesses without understanding that travelers, the people that go there to stay, deserve better.
It’s 2013! And no matter where in the world your hostel might be located, it’s time for you to take some of your profits and make sure you provide your guests with decent conditions.
If your hostel incurs in more than one of the below sins, then I’m sorry to say but… YOUR HOSTEL SUCKS
Check out earlier than 12pm
If I wanted to wake up early, I’d stay in a convent. I come across early check out timings most commonly in small hostels, where they tend to keep cleaning personal on a part-time basis. As the staff leaves before lunch time, they obviously have to be finished by then. This means you have to wake up with the rooster, so that they have enough time to clean and the hostel owners have enough time to make some more profit too.
If you charge to store luggage
Oh c’mon! Seriously? All you have to do is place my backpack in some back room and tag it with my name… and you want a few dollars for this? I find less and less hostels doing this now-a-days, and that’s why when I come across one that does it, I feel like making the top of the head of whoever made up this stupid rule my very own storage space!
If your charge for internet (or disconnect it at night!)
At this day and age, if you have an internet connection, this should be made available, included in the room rate. Sometimes hostels charge for WIFI per minute and sill dare to provide a terribly slow connection (even in areas with good connectivity otherwise). I find this so shameful!
And if you are indeed providing internet inclusive, please don’t pull the ridiculous move of disconnecting it at night as if the internet needs to get some beauty sleep.
Also, if your connection sucks, do not make lame excuses like “today the weather is not good, that’s why the WIFI is down“. Spare some bucks and upgrade your connection already!
If you provide 1 ply toilet paper
If you are so cheap as to provide toilet paper with 1 ply only, kindly train your staff to place the roll in the correct position, with the rolling part away from the wall. In bathrooms with poor ventilation (which is something fairly common in hostels) the toilet paper absorbs the moist from the walls, resulting in a rather poor cleaning device.
Also, more than 1 roll per toilet would be nice. You never know when you’re going to need extra material!…
If you do not have hooks in the bathroom
Sometimes I get the feeling that people that own and build hostels have never stayed in one, and that’s why they don’t have a clue about what people might need when staying there. Well, let me shed some light with you then: hooks in the bathroom are a must. You need to place your clothes in a place where they’ll stay dry while you shower. Sounds pretty basic, right?
If you use the “help us save our environment” excuse to make money
I am a social and environmentally conscious travel, yes I am. I like having as less impact on the environment as possible, but I also like my comforts. I have found that, in recent years, hostels have started exploiting the environmental consciousness of travelers beyond proportion. Specially when it comes to water. You’ll find boards both in bathrooms and kitchen sinks asking you to “Use less water. Nature will thank you!”. Those are not a problem per se, what bothers me is to understand that some businesses are doing it mostly for them to save money, not to spare the environment as such. If you care so much about the environment stop serving breakfast in disposable plates and cups and start offering drinking water (free or at cost) for guests to refill their bottles. And then, maybe then, I can take your environmental bullshit a tad some seriously.
Also, make sure you offer hot water 24/7. One should be able to shower at whatever time is convenient, not as per your saving preferences.
If your toilet flushes don’t go with the flow
I once stayed in a hostel where the toilet flush didn’t work properly. This would have been bad enough if I had the bathroom all by myself, but we all know that when you use shared facilities, you can find some nasty surprises in there. When I was checking out the lady at reception asked for my feedback, so I told her there was a flush that wasn’t powerful enough to take down the stuff. Her answer to this was, and I quote literally: “maybe you do not know how to flush properly!“. Yeah, customer service was ace at this place!
If you take pride in offering a kitchen, do it right!
This means: you should have more than 2 pans and these should not have been around since WWI. The kitchen should be open during extended hours and not be invaded by hostel staff taking over all the utensils and stove during meal times. Someone should clean the kitchen more than once a day and, overall, make it look like an appetizing space.
Please don’t put a “contributions tin” near the spices. You come across as damn stingy if you expect people to pay for salt and pepper. Specially because you and I know that you didn’t purchase those spices yourself and they used to belong to previous guests who left them behind.
If you do not serve milk with breakfast
I have stayed at hostels that pride themselves in offering cereal for breakfast, yet do not make milk available. I am not one to eat my cornflakes with a disgusting mix of water and coffee creamer. But I guess if you only provide Coffee-mate that’s what you’re expecting me to do, right? Nice try selling milk in the hostel’s vending machines. I guess what people pay for their room is not enough, so you need to extort some milk money out of as well, right? That’s called knowing how to milk the cow! Damn straight!
If you clear the breakfast buffet on the clock and throw away the food
Almost as annoying as early check-out timings is the fact that breakfast tends to end rather early in most hostels. That would be fine, if you didn’t have the hostel staff clearing away the food the moment the clock reaches a given time, right in front of your nose, while they can clearly see you are trying to help yourself.
Worst than denying you food (and I have literally been denied of a piece of bread once because “it’s already 10AM!!!!“) is to see those lovely buns end up in a huge trash can right in front of your eyes. This makes me SICK!
If you charge for book exchange
This is, quite possible, the most cheap-ass thing I’ve seen some hostels do. It’s call book exchange, not book purchase. If we wanted money to be involved in this transaction, we’d just head to a regular book store that offers more variety. You really want to make $1 for the book exchange and come across as the cheapest people on earth? Up to you then…
What do you think makes a good hostel?
And what makes a really bad one?