Newest Review: ... slightly surprised to find it was right next to reception. There were a couple of other rooms on the ground floor too, plus more upstairs. ... more
Bargain Bogotá Beds
Los Andes Hostel (Bogota, Colombia)
Member Name: zoe_page_1
Los Andes Hostel (Bogota, Colombia)
Advantages: Great location, safe, not too expensive
Disadvantages: Could be noisy until 11pm for thos with ground floor rooms
`*.,¸¸,.*`*.,¸¸,.*´ Location `*.,¸¸,.*`*.,¸¸,.*´
Bogota is, like many Latin American cities, quite a spread out place with distinct 'zones'. This hostel is in Zona Rosa, a few kilometres north of the historic old town. Zona Rosa is the place to go for shopping, eating and drinking, though, so is quite a handy place to stay. The Atlantis Plaza mall is literally 1 minute from the hostel, and home to lots of shops, a nice food court and a cinema. Two other massive malls, Andino and Retiro are also close by. There is a large, 24 hour supermarket maybe 10 minutes walk away, and the Transmilenio, the main form of public transport here, is also just a few blocks walk. I felt very safe in this neighbourhood, even when walking around alone at 5.30am (on my way to class...yes, I got and job and started work within 3 days of landing here)
`*.,¸¸,.*`*.,¸¸,.*´ Service `*.,¸¸,.*`*.,¸¸,.*´
I arrived just before midnight, having been travelling for 20 hours. My flight was delayed, so I was a little later than I had told them I would be. I rang the bell and waited...and waited. I rang again. I could see bodies through the window. Eventually they opened the door and said they were guests and the owner was around somewhere... So I waited in the reception / lounge and a few minutes later he appeared. This was the only tiny blip in service, and is forgivable. The rest of the time I felt very welcome here. It seemed to be a one man show (with a little help from some cleaning ladies) but you'd never have known there wasn't a fleet of people running the place. The people I encountered speak some English but I didn't realise this for a few days as unlike in other places, if you start off in Spanish, however poor, they'll speak that back to you. That said, their English should be improving soon with the help of private lessons from a fantastic English teacher ;-)
`*.,¸¸,.*`*.,¸¸,.*´ Rooms `*.,¸¸,.*`*.,¸¸,.*´
The hostel offers rooms of different sizes. Some are dorm-style, but they are for complete bookings, i.e. you book a room, not a bed. I had booked a single room and was slightly surprised to find it was right next to reception. There were a couple of other rooms on the ground floor too, plus more upstairs. My room was really pretty, bright and welcoming. I had a single bed with sheets and blanket, and was offered another cover when I arrived as it was 'cold'. Ha. These people don't know the meaning of the word. I'm out sunbathing while they're in parkas, scarves and gloves. But on with the story. I also had a bedside table with 3 drawers, but nothing else. No table. No chair. Not rail or wardrobe. It was fine temporarily because I don't mind living in mess, but when I started lesson planning and trying to dig out my smart work clothes, it did start to look a little as if a bomb had hit it. The room was quite small, only about twice as wide as a single bed, and I had about 1m at the end of the bed before the door.
Another peculiar thing about my room was that it had no outside window. It had a tiny faux window to the reception area, but all that did was let in light (and noise) from there. This was a slit up near the ceiling, so didn't lessen the privacy of the room in any way.
The room came with an information sheet listing things like breakfast and check out time, and prices for things. Drinks were left in my room - water and beer - and the price for these was shown on the list. It also said that towels can be hired (sheets are provided free), and that you could do laundry.
If there was one thing I would say about my room, it's that it was a little too noisy for my liking. The walls are thin, so I could hear every sound from reception - the TV, music, the phone ringing, people chatting. The reception area doubled as a lounge, so some guests chose to hang out there rather than in their rooms. The hostel rules require silence from 11pm to 7am which is great, and was very much abided by, but when I'm getting up to teach super early, I tend to hit the sack a little before then. I always managed to sleep, but it sometimes took me a while to nod off.
One final comment about my room is that it had one of those odd locks, where you lock it from the inside and the shut the door, so you only need the key to open it, not lock it. I never feel quite as secure with those types as with others, but in this instance being next to reception made me feel a little better, as they could keep an eye on things. Also, this seemed quite a nice, safe hostel, and pretty soon I started leaving the door unlocked or even open if I popped to the loo or the kitchen. This was also a good way to get some air in a room without a window (or air con).
I peeked into a few other rooms, which seemed a little different. Some had shelving, and most had windows, though I suspect the one across from mine also didn't have sight out the outside as it appeared to be a converted garage... My room was a basic single, as opposed to a deluxe, so I think that explained the differences.
My sheets were changed once during the week which is more than I expected (and more than I would do at home). I always think it's overkill when hotels do it every day, and don't really expect a hostel to change sheets except between guests.
`*.,¸¸,.*`*.,¸¸,.*´ Bathrooms `*.,¸¸,.*`*.,¸¸,.*´
The hostel has a mixture of en suite rooms and those with shared bathrooms. There was one main shared bathroom upstairs, and another toilet and sink downstairs. There were additional showers out on the terrace, but I didn't investigate these, as even enclosed and with hot water, I thought they might be chilly. Out of 6 showers I took, I had to wait twice, and not for long each time. Only one day did I have to do without hot water, and the rest of the time the shower was not only warm but powerful. The bathroom is big enough to get dressed in, but they did seem to run out of toilet paper every other day. Considering it was being used by a lot of people, the bathroom always seemed to be nice and clean, though on my final morning the shower didn't really want to drain properly.
`*.,¸¸,.*`*.,¸¸,.*´ Facilities `*.,¸¸,.*`*.,¸¸,.*´
Breakfast is included in the rates, and served from 8.30am to 10am which meant I missed it a couple of mornings when I was up early for work. It tended to include eggs, ham, toast and fruit, plus tea or coffee (no juice, but the tap water here is super clean and safe to drink). A couple of days I also got cheese which was nice. Breakfast is served in the kitchen at a small table which can only seat 3 people at once, but I only had to wait once, and at that time I was offered the option of eating in the lounge instead.
The hostel has quick, free wifi throughout which I made good use of. It was very reliable and I never had any problems. There were various unsecured networks also available, at least in my room.
The hostel has a fully equipped kitchen, available from 12 noon to 9pm. I didn't cook while I was there but did put things in the fridge, and nothing ever went missing. Just beside the kitchen is a covered terrace with washing machines which can be used for a reasonable fee.
The hostel had an array of local information - maps and brochures - and a few magazines (all Spanish) and books (mainly English) to look through, but not what you'd call a dedicated book swap.
There is no curfew, and you get a key for the front door so you can come and go at any time, though certain people seemed to insist on ringing the bell which was annoying if it was late at night.
`*.,¸¸,.*`*.,¸¸,.*´ Price and verdict `*.,¸¸,.*`*.,¸¸,.*´
You can book this hostel through a number of websites, and prices vary slightly. Rooms can be normal or deluxe (I think those have more furniture and are the ones shown on the website) and with a shared or en suite bathroom.
I paid £140 for 6 nights which seemed reasonable for a private room, and I feel like I got value for money, though other hostels locally can be cheaper if you don't mind a less convenient location.
You cannot pay by card in the hostel, but a cash point is available in the mall. They accept dollars or Colombian pesos for room payment. At the moment the exchange rate is 3000 pesos to the £1.
Some of the complaints I heard were that it wasn't 'social' enough. I think they mean it didn't have a bar for people to get hammered in each night while they 'meet each other'. For me, it was perfect because I got to talk to people over breakfast but didn't feel obliged to socialise the rest of the time, and because the lounge was small, it limited the number of people who could congregate nosily at any one time
I enjoyed my stay here, but wouldn't have wanted to stay much longer due to the noise. That said, I have stayed in much worse hostels than this and would recommend it for a cheap, secure place to stay for a few nights, as a good alternative to a hotel. The location is excellent, and the staff friendly, so though not outstanding, it was pretty good all round.
Summary: A nice place to stay for a few nights
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