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“Good service; layout not optimal” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Hostel Mamallena

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Hostel Mamallena
Calle Media Luna, Cartagena, Colombia   |  
Hotel amenities
New York City, New York
Top Contributor
100 reviews 100 reviews
76 hotel reviews
Reviews in 76 cities Reviews in 76 cities
79 helpful votes 79 helpful votes
“Good service; layout not optimal”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 20, 2012

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.

Room Tip: Private rooms on the left-hand side are quieter because they don't face the alley with loud bass...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Casa762, Owner at Hostel Mamallena, responded to this review, November 22, 2012
Well, you do make some good points, especially the good ones! Thats part of our attraction, that we do have good service, good facitlities and a good place to hang out. There are very few hostels in cartagena where you will get what we prrovide for the price that we charge, along with an open air patio. Most of our guests say thats the best part of the hostel. We´ve never hidden the fact that the rooms come off the patio either, if you check our photos you´ll actually see that. We do try to keep the noise down and it´s not like theri was a roaring party going. It was a few people talking quietly and playing some music on their laptop. We do ask people to respect others and keep the noise down but that can bedifficult. It all depends on the other travellers as much as us. We also feel that Saturday is a bit different than days during the week and most people know and accept that. We let people stay a little longer in the courtyard. We feel everyone is adults and we don´t need to act like their mother pushing rules and regulations. Guests themselves are allowed to ask other guests to lower the volume if they can´t sleep.

Unfortunately the hostel is what it is. We can´t change the layout as it´s already built!!! At least our privates have bathrooms, and how much time do people spend in them anyway? It´s Cartagena and the rooms are hot, because it´s Cartagena. We can´t change that either. There is no alley on the back of your room, but there is a house back there with a low income family. Again, thats Cartagena.

I´m glad that you enjoyed some parts of our stay, but I do apologise for what you felt was bad. Unfortunately when you get all that we offer you do have to make allowances for things like a little bit of noise. Please remmebr it wasn´t a huge party and it wasn´t a bunch of drunk people either. just people chatting queitly and playing some music.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
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Barcelona
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
48 hotel reviews
Reviews in 46 cities Reviews in 46 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 15, 2012

We stayed there for a few nights until we realized the next door hotel (Marlin) was cheaper and quieter.
You find the common area just when you open the door of your room, so we had this kind of backpacker people that just travel to sit and drink all the day.
Until 00:45 they don't stop the music (the one the hotel plays) and they don't ask for silence until that time, so you guess at what time you are able to sleep.

The room was just ok, very basic, but very expensive in my opinion.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Casa762, Owner at Hostel Mamallena, responded to this review, November 18, 2012
I must apologise. I am so sorry that we put you out so much that you could only stay a few nights, instead of more. I understand the hardship, and how hard it was to find a place thats actually cheaper than us. I´m not sure how it was the Marlin though, as I know for a fact that it is more expensive than us. But luckily it doesn´t have that pesky open air courtyard that annoyed you so much. I also apologise on behalf of your fellow guests. I will now instruct my staff to only accept real backpackers, not just the ones who want to sit and drink. But that might be discrimination so I´m not sure how that will go. Let me look into it for you. We usually do get a good mix of people though, so you must have had a real bad crowd when you were here.

I will also speak to my staff as well. The night shift guy is usually much stricter than me, and often has everyone out of the courtyard around 12am. My instructions to him are that people may stay there if they are talking quietly, if they are loud then they have to move inside. The music is also usually turned off at around 11pm, and is never turned up to a high volume anyway. I am actually sorry(seriously!) that this wasn´t followed when you were here. It may have been a Friday or Saturday when we do let things go a bit longer. Being the weekend I´m sure most people can understand and accept that. I would also sugest that next time you have a problem like this that you come and let the staff and management know. It´s easier to do something about it when you make a complaint in person, rather than over the internet where no one knows who you are.
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Montreal, Canada
Top Contributor
86 reviews 86 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
80 helpful votes 80 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 5, 2012

I chose to move over to Mamallena after a night at Media Luna Hostel. While I could have stayed on at MLH, I was happy to move over. The crowd is very different accross the street. Most were into serious travelling and rich experiences rather than the younger partying crowd. The rooms are spacious enough. The dorm rooms have ensuite bathrooms. Free pancakes are available for breakfast but they were not made. We were just given the batter to make our own. My stay coincided with a city centre wide water outage. The hostel did not get a water supply during the one and half day without water. That means no water to wash, flush toilet, cook, etc.
That said, I did not hear of any other hostel supplying guests with water either. However, I think that if money is charged for a room, it is the responsibility of the establishment to supply at least some water to keep the place reasonably hygienic.

Room Tip: The dorm room without windows stay cooler during the day.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Casa762, Owner at Hostel Mamallena, responded to this review, November 8, 2012
Hey,thanks for the positive comments, they´re much appreciated. I do have to make a couple of points though. Breakfast actually is cooked for you, it´s just one day a week when it isn´t. Thats a change from our hostels in Panama where guests cook their own breakfast every day. We do also have a limited menu of other items for purchase, along with frozen juices and milkshakes.

As you said the water shortage was over a fair part of Cartagena. We did our best and we do have a water tank for a limited number of showers. We also had as many containers of water spread around the hostel for use for flushing toilets, a quick wash and for cooking. The problem is that i guess afetr the nearly 2 days of water shortage it ran out. We did have a good effort of refuilling them in the big storm that happened that afternoon though!! And a number of people took the opportunity to get under the drain ´pipes for a natural shower!

Hope you can come back for a visit sometime.
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Wellington, New Zealand
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 5, 2012

My boyfriend and I stayed in private rooms here for 5 nights. Rooms are basic but clean. Good beds and pillows! Breakfast is free and tasty as is coffee and use if computers. There is a great value bar on site. The kitchen is well equipped but small. Courtyard can be noisy but staff are pretty on to it with tips and encouragement on where to go out after midnight!
Staff are the best I have come across in colombia so far. Friendly, efficient, helpful with fantastic English. All tours/tickets are good value. We mentioned we were heading to mompos next and the receptionist instantly was able to sort out a bus ticket at the normal price and then change the date later on when our plans changed! Thanks again for that. Stuart's book on Cartagena should probably be the official guide book! Would 100 percent stay again.

  • Stayed October 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Brisbane, Australia
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 2, 2012 via mobile

The atmosphere and location of Mamallena are very good! We stayed in a private room before and after out trip to Playa Blanca. The first room was pretty good and had shutters but when we came back we got a different room which was very basic and had no shutters, fly screens or mosquito net, so we got bitten like crazy... They are still renovating bits though, so hopefully this will be fixed soon. Mamallena also has a bar and a big courtyard where people hang out during the hot hours of the day and at night. Unfortunately the dogs and cat pee and poo into this area from time to time... Staff always cleans it up but it's not ideal... Overall it's a good hostel though which they are still improving. We'd stay there again!

  • Stayed October 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Casa762, Owner at Hostel Mamallena, responded to this review, November 4, 2012
Hey Charlotte, I´m glad you enjoyed your stay. Luckily we usually don´t have too many problems with mosquito´s, but as you say, we can put fly screens opver the windows. We´re going to get that done as soon as possible. Sorry about the cat and dog, just not a lot we can do about that. The dog is taken outside, but the cat......... No control there!! Overall I do think they add more to the hostel than they subtract from it. Most people are pretty happy to see them around. Hopefully when you come back we´ll have finished the bar and the other minor renovations as well.
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Melbourne, Australia
Top Contributor
307 reviews 307 reviews
116 hotel reviews
Reviews in 120 cities Reviews in 120 cities
159 helpful votes 159 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 31, 2012

staff are friendly and helpful, rooms a decent size, good common area, great cable TV channels

rooms could do with some flywire on the windows to keep the bugs out and hooks to hang towels and clothes

can get noisy from the common area in the rooms at night

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Casa762, Owner at Hostel Mamallena, responded to this review, November 4, 2012
Flyscreens are coming! As are more hooks and so on. We´re in the process of getting a lot done and it´s been hard to get everything done at once. Most of the bigger parts have been done so now we can move onto the smaller things to make it more comfortable. We do try to keep the noise down after 12, but we also encourge guests to throw shoes or anything available at the worst offenders. We{ve found that this has worked in the past :)
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Lund, Sweden
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 28, 2012

Lovely hostel in a nice area in Cartagena. The staff is helpfull, the bar is nice and serve fantastic Bailey milkshakes :D, and common areas all around. It´s a great place to meet people or just camp out while in Cartagena. Complete with a pancake breakfast and the friendly animals.
We just stayed here one night having tried out Media Luna first, but I loved the place!

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Casa762, Owner at Hostel Mamallena, responded to this review, November 4, 2012
And you were the first to get the Baileys ice cream milkshake!! We might just have to now name it after you :) Shame you didn´t get to try our other great frozen juices and ice cream smoothies. Come back and the next one is on me. Glad you enjoyed yourself.
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Additional Information about Hostel Mamallena

Address: Calle Media Luna, Cartagena, Colombia
Location: Colombia > Bolivar Department > Cartagena District > Cartagena
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 74 Specialty lodging in Cartagena
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
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