i usually stay at low-end hotels. i have only stayed at 1 amazing hostel in osaka, japan. it had no frills, but it was super clean. the 2 people and i had 1 room and we had our own bathroom. it felt like a hotel and it was a value. this experience is what made me look up hostels again. however, my experience at hostal nersan is completely different. seeing as i don't have a lot of experience with hostels, i will just give you the facts so there is more info about this hostel, unlike when i first looked it up.
1) location: convenient location. it is on a small street off the gran via (THE biggest street in madrid). it is close to stations plaza espana and callou off line 3 (yellow). make sure you find out ahead of time exactly how to get here, because most tourist maps do not list this tiny street on the map. i asked 5 people on gran via and no one knew where it was. they do not know the hostel name nor the street name.
2) the place is very old. old-style elevator (you have to close the outer door yourself) and old style locks on your door. you have to turn the key to lock and unlock your door each time you leave or arrive. the paint is chipped on the walls. the furniture is old and chipped. there is a tiny "front desk."
3) my room was pretty dirty. i don't mind old furniture, but it was covered with dust. i am not sure if my bed sheets had been changed, because i found several (head) hairs between them. the bed cover was faded and worn thin. i just folded it and put it aside. i tried to stay between the sheets, which looked better than the covers which were old and didn't look very clean. the bathroom had a dirty toilet seat from the other users. overall, i just didn't want to touch anything in the room or the bathroom. once i got over the shock of the conditions, then it was ok.
3) yes, there is free wi-fi in the room. that's one of the reasons i booked here. however, just know that there is a "curfew" on the wi-fi. for god knows what reason, they turn it on at 8 am and then turn it off at 12 midnight. this is inconvenient for me, because I had jetlag and had to work in the middle of the night. in addition, i could not skype with my boyfriend before midnight since he is in NY and that is when he gets home.
4) when i booked online, they had said nothing about sharing a bathroom. i had paid for a single room all to myself, so i assumed there'd be a bathroom in the room like in the one previous hostel i had stayed at. my bad. just fyi, even if you book a room all to yourself, you still have to use the communal bathrooms. there are 2 full bathrooms in the hall (toilet, sink, and shower) and another half bath (no shower). well, it is like a public bathroom. people don't clean up after themselves. if you've stayed at hostels often, you might be ok with this.
5) i had to pay in cash ahead of time. no credit cards. no paying when you check out. make sure you ask for a receipt. the front desk does not volunteer one. if they have your credit card via online reservations, you want to make sure you have proof that you paid in cash, so they don't decide to double charge you on your card.
6) this is run by a young couple. the girl is chatty and the guy is not particularly friendly, but he gets the job done. just ask him questions. he doesn't volunteer much information. didn't orient me as to where the bathroom was, etc. you kinda just explore around. they do not routinely keep maps of the city at the front. get your own before you get here. just fyi. i don't know if other hostels provide maps, but even low-end hotels do, so i was expecting that. again, i don't usually stay at hostels often, so i am just stating the facts.
7) size. my room was an ok size. not super cramped. it's a double bed, so with 2 people, it might be a bit crowded, but it was still ok in my opinion.
8) room had a 13 inch tv. too small. not that i need a new huge flat screen, but still. this wasn't as big a problem for me as compared to the items above.
9) you get a total of 3 keys. the 2 outside doors have tricky locks. make sure they show you how to open them in case you can't.
10) noise level. it is loud. i mean, louder than a hotel (that's what i have to compare it to). this means that when someone rings the door bell outside, you can hear it clearly as if they were ringing into your room. i had the first room closest to the front door though. maybe other rooms are not as bad. the walls are thin. you can clearly hear when people walk in the hallway past your room. i could hear this baby crying and crying down the hall. it is like a few bedrooms in a house kind of feel. might be a hostel thing, but hotels don't have this. this place has less noise insulation i guess. you can hear when someone locks the door to the communal bathroom. street noise is ok. it is not really there. muted.
11) socialization. zero. i wasn't look for any, so it's ok, but i know that some people want to meet others while staying at a hostel. since you have a tv and wi-fi in your own room, there is no common area to socialize. also, needless to say there was no breakfast. not that i expected it at a hostel, but fyi.
in sum, there must be better hostels out there. i only saved 3 euro per night as compared to other better-known hostels in madrid. definitely not worth it. I would not stay here again and i would not recommend my friends either. the facts are above. you be the judge as to whether you should stay here or not.
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