I try to leave strictly factual reviews so that other travelers can decide for themselves whether a specific place fits their needs (something I like to see in others' reviews when I'm looking around for a place to stay). So here it goes.
We booked a private room about 2 months ahead. Seemed like a decent deal at 55,000 pesos per night with ensuite bathroom. No A/C, but generally rooms with A/C run 70,000 and up in town. We had asked for a quieter room as I'm a light sleeper. We arrived around 8pm as we had advised the hostel in advance. The staff was really nice, but gave us the last private room available (#5), which was very stuffy (at least 10 degrees hotter than the balmy temperature outside), came with a tiny bathroom and faced the courtyard where everyone in the hostel hangs out (past 1 am on Saturday - I had to ask the staff on site when they were going to tell people to stop playing music and partying in the courtyard at 1am as we had a 15 hour travel day and wanted to get some rest by that point). The fans were ok, but didn't do that much since it's hard to get any ventilation in the room with the only openings facing the courtyard (especially if you're trying to close the only window to drown out the noise in order to get sleep at night or in the morning). On top of it, all the rooms on one side are ligned along an alley which plays very loud music with some serious bass until wee hours in the night.
Generally, Mamallena has a nice vibe, great staff, clean rooms, free computers with internet, WiFi, books, bar/restaurant, and is located in the prime part of Getsemani neighborhood where all the action is, a 5 minute walk from the old city. So all the basics of a great hostel are there. But in my opinion the layout is poor as the hangout area is basically the passage way between the rooms on the ground floor and the rooms don't have any soundproofing or ventilation.
It wasn't the right fit for us given our needs, so we moved to a local guesthouse nearby the next day where we had a private room with a strong fan and a huge bathroom for 50,000 pesos. No backpacker atmosphere, but we sacrificed that for the ability to sleep.
Bottom line is that if your primary goal is to party and you are a deep sleeper who can pass out under any type of conditions (heat, noise, bass, etc), you will probably really enjoy the atmosphere and service. But if you're looking for a private room because you want privacy and quiet and the ability to choose when you'd like to party, this is probably not a good fit for you. Overall, just really wish we were warned over email when we reserving the room that there is no such thing as a quiet room at this hostel to save us time looking for a new place.
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