“ Address: Storkower Strasse 160 / 10407 / Berlin / Germany / Tel: +49 0 30 417 2400 „
As part of our travels across some of Europe, my friend and I planned on spending a few days in Berlin. We were looking for somewhere cheap and cheerful to stay and this hostel seemed to fit the bill. It seemed a bargain at just Euro 12 each per night for a single bed in a dormitory room (8-14 beds) which even included free bedding and a towel ( some lovely hostels charge you extra for such a privilege). Prices vary according to time of year and what type of room you wish to book so I can't really give prices (they probably wouldn't be accurate) but the room types include:
* Twin room with shared bathroom
* Single bed in a mixed dormitory room (from experience I have found these far more pleasant than single sex ones) with shared bathroom
* Quadruple bed with shared bathroom
* Single room
* Twin room
* Triple room
* Quadruple room
* 6-bed room
The price also includes an all you can eat breakfast! Yum yum! (tastes better when it is free!)
===Appearance from the outside===
We arrived in Berlin from Hamburg via train and then got a taxi (which was fairly inexpensive) to the hostel to save any trouble of trying to find it using trams. It was not hard to spot the hostel - it is large to say the least, which is not entirely surprising when the hostel has 241 rooms. It is a tall building that was lit up and reminded me a bit of a nightclub rather than somewhere inviting that you would want to stay the night. I would say it just looks like your typical European hotel.
I personally thought that this hostel had a great location. It was a short tram ride away from Alexanderplatz square which seems to be the main place to go within the city centre. You may be thinking that this could work out costly but I have found that you can just hop on a tram without anybody really noticing and therefore not have to pay! A bit naughty I know but I'd spent so much on my travels already that if I could save myself some money then I was going to do it! I noticed a lot of the locals doing the same which made me feel a little better about it too. The hostel is a short distance from the train station although we chose to get a taxi as it was hassle free and still quite reasonably priced. The hostel is not particularly far from anything and is close to some bars and a few shops.
At this hostel you can check in any time between 2pm and 12pm which I thought was nice and flexible which would suit a lot of travelers. We checked in at around 7pm which was a simple process. The staff were friendly enough and required to see some I.D before we were allowed to check in. Once we had checked in and paid the rest of the fee (we booked online so had already paid a deposit) we were handed keys and told about how they work. The keys are the cards that you slot in until the light goes green and then you have entry to your room. They told us where our rooms were and then off we went. There were I think 2 or 3 lifts (it was a little while ago now) that always seemed to be very busy but once we got to the floor our room was on I was very excited!
On opening the door the first thing I noticed was how bright the room was (as in the colour of the walls) but this seems to be a recurring theme throughout the building. Personally I am quite happy with this, I like a bit of colour but I don't think that it would be to everybody's taste. The room was fairly spacious and had 8 beds in - 4 bunks. The floor was laminate and there was a small sink in the corner which I really appreciated - saves queuing up in the bathrooms just to clean your teeth. There were lockers under the beds which were on wheels. These were not solid metal but looked more like a mesh, with a lift up lid and room for a padlock. Padlocks were not supplied so you could either bring your own, or I think that they were available from reception for a small fee if you didn't have one. I really appreciated having a locker as I had some valuables with me so making sure they were kept safe was really important to me. It was extra handy for it to be under the bed instead of having to go near reception or other floors as is the case in some hostels. The room was immaculately clean which I was super pleased about! There is nothing I hate more than mess and dirtiness. The beds were not the most comfortable but they were more than adequate for a short stay and were ready and made up for you with no extra charge for linen. The only sort of complaint I have about the rooms is that they get extremely hot and stuffy at night times - although this is of course easily rectified by simply opening a window. There were a number of plug sockets in the room which was really useful as at times there were a lot of people in the same room.
Breakfast was continental - I can't quite remember the time that it was available but I do remember that there was a fairly decent period of time in which you could go get your FREE breakfast! The fact that we got free breakfast made our stay even more of a bargain. It was very busy when we went to get breakfast which made it a little less pleasant than it could have been. It was basically a self service buffet that included : cheese, cold meats, bread, condiments, tea, coffee, juices, cereal and I'm pretty sure there was some yoghurt there too. You simply helped yourself to everything you wanted and took this to a table. I found the tables were always clean, and as this is a self service breakfast you are expected to clear away your things yourself. If the breakfast had run out of things - e.g. cheese, then this was quickly replenished. Evening meals were also provided here but I never ate here so can't really comment on these but I do remember that they were fairly reasonably priced so could be a good option for those who do not want to venture out to eat.
* 24 hour reception - staff were helpful e.g. they are quite happy to call a taxi for you, try to book you in for a longer stay and just generally answer any questions that you have
* Bar - I never personally used this but it certainly looked lively! And I did see some fliers with drinks deals. Some of the staff also organize pub crawls which I'm sure would have appealed to the many young people staying! I thought this was a great idea as none of the other hostels I stayed in organized anything like this. They also organized walking tours of Berlin which we wanted to do but the rain put us off - we went for a bus tour instead!
* Wi-fi - I couldn't get this in my room but there was a communal area on the ground floor or you could sit in the restaurant/bar area. This was completely free and staff were happy to show you how to get onto it.
* When having breakfast I noticed there was a garden outside with plenty of seating - we didn't personally use this as we did not spend all that much time in the hostel and to be quite honest the weather just wasn't nice enough to sit out in.
* There was an ATM machine which I'm sure could come in very handy and a laundry service which I didn't use so can't comment on - although I'm sure that many would appreciate this service.
* Shared bathrooms - these were not particularly large but considering that they were on more than one floor this was not really a problem. They were nothing special but they were reasonably clean (although they could have improved on this) and adequately equipped - showers with curtains, toilets, sinks, and hairdryers. I never had to queue at any point for using any of these facilities which I think is due to the hostel having many shared bathrooms.
I think the way that I would describe the atmosphere of this hostel would be in a word - 'buzzing'. It is a very lively hostel and I think that it is primarily targeted at the younger market. I'm not sure how much a more mature person would appreciate this place. It could be very noisy at times, although I had no trouble sleeping and didn't notice much noise when going to bed. I think if I had spent more time in the hostel it would have been very easy to meet other like minded people through the activities the hostel provided, or simply going to the bar for a few drinks. I think the hostel was more than adequately equipped for anything that you could need.
===Would I recommend/stay here again?===
If I was in Berlin (which hopefully I will revisit one day as it is a wonderful place full of things to do and see) I would most definitely stay here. It was an absolute bargain and definitely one of the better hostels I have stayed in generally. The breakfast included was an added bonus and made my stay that much more valuable and enjoyable. I would recommend staying here to anyone, although I would definitely say it appeals more to a younger audience.
I visited this Hostel a few years with my sister and have nothing but praise for it, it's facilities and staff.
Firstly, the whole place was impeccably clean, the rooms, the cafe, the bathrooms, even the bar. While there was nothing on the extravagant side in terms of facilities in the dorms or bathrooms, there was plenty on offer elsewhere, with lots of free Wifi connected computers, vending machines, a canteen and the mentioned bar, which was lively and cheap. The staff all spoke excellent English and tolerated my patchy German with good humour, though it was very much an international crowd in terms of staff and visitors. There was a hostel led pub crawl, in addition to all the tourist information we could ask for.
Perhaps one of the things that distinguished this hostel from others I have stayed in was the free continental breakfast. Now don't get your hopes up, this was nothing more special than a few cold meats, breads, fruit, yogurts and cheeses, but combined with endless cups of tea and coffee this was a god send, especially the morning after the pub crawl.
In terms of location it was perhaps a little out of the city centre and quite far from the airport, but it is located right next to the tube station and most taxi drivers will know the place you're talking about if trying to get back late at night. In terms of crowd, this is definitely a hostel for the youth, but that is not to say that families wouldn't be comfortable in one of the private rooms as I remember no unsociable activity in the sleeping areas.