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“Best hostel ever”

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Nightingale Ensuite Hostel
Ranked #430 of 670 Specialty Lodging in Budapest
Reviewed June 15, 2011

This place is without doubt my favourite hostel i have ever stayed in. I mainly travel with my partner so i prefer quieter hostels to party hostels.

Liked=staff,kitchen,dorm room decor, beds, free breakfast,book exchange, ambience.

Disliked= literally nothing

Room Tip: Indian theme dorm had great decor
See more room tips
  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank thesarcasticnomad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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36 - 42 of 92 reviews

Reviewed May 15, 2011

The hostel offers 'private rooms', which are in fact not in the hostel at all, they are in an adjoining apartment owned by an elderly couple. While the set up is unusual, it does give travellers a chance to stay in a real Hungarian home and myself and my companions decided we were ok with this.
However, due to a breakdown in communication, we were meant to stay until noon check out and instead when we happened to wake about 10a.m, were confronted by the owner of the apartment shouting at us in Hungarian. It seems that the couple who owned the apartment were meant to leave that day and had explained to the hostel owners we needed to be gone by 9a.m We were never informed of this and if we had been we would not have stayed as we purposely booked into the hostel to get as much sleep as possible.

To be fair, the owner of the hostel did give us a half refund, but there was some confusion about whether we paid, he hadn't given us a receipt and couldn't remember and we had to insist that we actually had. We weren't able to use the washing/drying facilities. Overall, the refund didn't make up for the fact that it wasn't a good experience, there doesn't seem to be much organisation

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled with friends
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Thank mojokiss
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 6, 2010

I think this is one of the best places in the city, at least for travelers who enjoy being in the city environment.

First, the location. It is literally right on top of the Blaha Luzja ter metro station. I visit Budapest frequently and I think this is the best area for me - there are many Accor hotels in the area and a new Courtyard. I like this area because it is the hub of many major public transport lines - metro, bus and tram - and you can get anywhere in Budapest from here. However, it is in the middle of the working city - it is not "charming old Budapest". There is noise from the traffic in the intersection. If your intent is to be in a location where you can get to anywhere, this is great, but it might not be perfect for everyone.

For me, a reliable internet connection is critical, and the Mandragora was great. I used my laptop extensively - internet was free, fast, and never dropped out.

I had the opposite problem of a previous visitor - to me, the room was too hot (in December). I found the temperature adjustment on the radiator and turned it off, opened the window, and the room temperature was fine in a few minutes. There is no air conditioning.

I was given a large room with a comfortable bed. I wish there was a desk and chair, as I was using my laptop, but I managed.

The shower was OK - the water temperature was fine, the pressure just OK. I didn't have the problem of a previous poster with the plumbing - I found the plumbing to be fine. There was a shower curtain on the shower - this is not always guaranteed in Budapest.

About the reception... as a previous poster commented, the one person working reception also cleans rooms on the first and third floors. It would certainly be a good idea to telephone the hotel before arriving. In the Blaha Luzja ter metro station (just down the steps from the hotel entrance) there are public phones that work with coins. At the main door to the hotel, there is a buzzer that has a mobile phone number listed. (When dialing locally, preface the number with 06 to replace the +36.) When I arrived, I got lucky and the receptionist answered the buzzer and let me in. But she told me almost immediately that it is good to call the mobile if I needed anything.

For me, this place was nearly perfect. For someone looking to be in the touristic old city, the location would not be suitable. Overall, I was very happily impressed.

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled solo
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1  Thank bobby_l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 8, 2010

Really a cool and relaxing place to sleep in Budapest

Stayed: May 2007, traveled solo
Thank LucaS188
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 23, 2010

We stayed at Mandragora Hostel for 2 nights in August with our 2 teenage children. We arrived quite late from the airport but the reception girl was waiting for us when we arrived to check us in. What we didn't realise was that the hostel is spread over 2 separate apartments on the 1st and 3rd floor of the residential building and because we hadn't made it clear that we were a family, we'd been given 2 rooms on different floors. It didn't matter too much for us but if you're in a group, you might want to make it clear if you want to be on the same floor.

We loved the warm colours and Indian theme decoration - the rooms were stylishly decorated and they all have en suite shower rooms. The place was very relaxed, really like staying in a friend's apartment and it felt like a home from home. The location is good on the Pest side of the river, not bang on top of all the sights but only a few metro or tram stops from most of them. There is free wifi in the hostel and an internet computer terminal in the lounge area for use of guests.

We ordered the breakfast for €4 per person on the first day, which was a good spread of fresh rolls, meusli, eggs, cheese, hams, yoghurt. However on the second day we just made our own in the good size and well equiped kitchen, which is easy as there are plenty of food shops around the neighbourhood.

The main reservation that I had was with the noise at night, as the hostel building is on a very busy square with traffic, trams and buses running past late into the night, not to mention the odd police siren. Our room on the first floor was lovely and spacious but it fronted the square and despite the double glazing, I didn't get a great night's sleep. The room we had on the 3rd floor faced the internal courtyard and was a lot quieter, so you might want to choose your room carefully.

I have to praise the girls working at the hostel as they were both incredibly friendly and helpful and spoke excellent English. They went to the trouble of looking up information we needed on the internet and even made phone calls on our behalf, and made us feel really welcome. There is someone on duty for most of the day but the staff don't sleep on the premises at night.

I'd definitely recommend the hostel to friends as a stylish and relaxed place to stay with very helpful staff, but I'd choose your room carefully if you don't want a disturbed night's sleep.

You can read my full review with photos at http://www.heatheronhertravels.com/mandragora-boutique-hostel-budapest-review/

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled with family
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Thank Heatheronhertravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 6, 2010

Mandragora was a last minute choice, because we had decided to stay an extra night in Budapest and the place we were staying at had no extra room. First of all, the shower didn't drain properly, and whenever you turned on the water the tank (wherever it was) would make these insane noises, until you turned the water off. The walls were also paper thin, you could hear people coming and going all night long, making it difficult to sleep. The internet connection kept cutting off as well. The location was right next to a park that was full of homeless people. Not the hostel's fault, but it didn't make a good impression. On the plus side, they did keep our luggage locked away after we checked out so we could come and get it later. Also, they were pretty relaxed on the time we checked in, and the girl there gave me her cell number so I could call her in case of anything. Unfortunately those were the only good things.

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank TrishLovesHabs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 16, 2010

We stayed at the Mandragora for 3 nights in April 2010.
I've read over the other reviews on this site,!and I must say, our experience was not as pleasant as some people have obviously had in the past. I do not want to be unfair, but I will be honest. I have travelled a lot and have stayed in many hostels across Europe, so I feel I have a fair idea on what makes a good hostel.
Firstly, the GOOD bits: the hostel location is great, literally at the steps on one of the inner-city metro lines, which was really convenient! The interior decoration is also quite nice, a sort of Buddhist-Indian style, relaxed and friendly, like you are staying in someones home. There is also free wi-fi, and a computer to use in the common lounge. The staff were also lovely girls, and I want to be clear that I don't think any of the "negatives" are the fault of the girls working here.
So, the BAD bits: first of all, it was freezing! There was no heating anywhere in the area we stayed (the "doubles" section including the kitchen/reception, the lounge/common room or the double bedrooms. There were radiator heaters in all the rooms, but I guess there must have been some problem with them (or they just had them turned off), because it was often warmer OUTSIDE than in the hostel. The staff did what they could to help, and have us (and also another couple we were talking to) some extra blankets for our beds so we wouldn't freeze.
Because the rooms were all so cold, it meant our towels didn't dry during the day so they were always damp, which was not good. There was also NO fan at all in the bathroom, so the room would get really steamy and damp after your shower, and unless you open the bedroom door (no privacy) or the window (freezing!) then you will have a permanently damp, yucky room.
The "laundry" was just an old bathroom (also freezing) with a single washing machine, and no dryer. There was also nowhere to hang any of your wet clothes because all the hanging space on the room was taken up with hostel sheets and linen.
The other thing we found was a BIG problem initially is that there is only one staff member working at one time, and as we understand it, this one person is responsible for running reception, and also fixing up the rooms when people check out. This means that obviously, she cannot be in the reception/kitchen area all the time.
When we arrived at about 2.30pm after a very long train ride, there was nobody here to let us in! We rang the bell, we knocked, we tried to call, and there was no response!! You cannot imagine how frustrating this is when it is cold and raining outside, and there is nobody inside the hostel to let you in or even answer the phone!! We waited 30 minutes before someone came to check us in (she was a very nice girl and explained she had been cleaning the other rooms on the other floors - we were very surprised that there is only a single staff member working!).
We were almost ready to leave and find anoter hostel before this point because we had no idea what we should do or how long we are expected to wait!?
During our stay, we also let in new guests because there were no staff in the hostel reception area, and they were knocking, ringing and trying the bell...just like us.
I think this is very bad. I know this hostel declares it doesn't have 24hr reception, but we found a lot of the time during the day, there is no one here, even during the peak "check-in" times (12pm - 5pm).
There is usually only someone here in the morning until breakfast is finished, but it is unlikely that anyone would check in so early.
Breakfast cost extra, and was not good, even by normal hostel standards. There was bread (VERY STALE), some jam, some
meat/cheese, and some cereal. It cost €4 per person, which sounds cheap, but is expensive for Hungary, especially when you can go to the bakery downstairs and get fresh and delicious pastries etc., for about €3 total for 2 people!!

Overall, although this hostel looked nice on the inside, it was not really very comfortable because it had no heating and was damp. The location is really great, but I really think a few simple things like better facilities (heating, laundry, bathroom fan), and more staff would be a huge improvement. Also, the breakfast was not a great standard, so it should either be better, or be included in the price of the room. It is a shame about these things because this could be a really nice place to stay. I think there just needs to be more effort from the owners to consider guest comfort. I think you could probably find a better place to stay in Budapest for your money.

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Thank Roxy86Europa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Nightingale Ensuite Hostel

Address: Jozsef koerut 2 | Blaha Lujza square, Budapest 1088, Hungary (Formerly Nightingale Mini Hotel)
Location: Hungary > Central Hungary > Budapest
Amenities:
Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly )
Hotel Style:
Ranked #430 of 670 Specialty Lodging in Budapest
Price Range: $33 - $57 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The charming Nightingale Ensuite Hostel is housed in a historic building on the central Blaha Lujza square, a major public transportation hub with metro, bus and tram stations. Choose from nicely furnished, en-suite rooms and make use of the guest kitchen and the lounges situated on every floor, featuring a selection of English books and DVDs. In the vicinity of Nightingale Ensuite Hostel, you will find supermarkets, many restaurants and shops, a pharmacy and numerous sights. ... more   less 
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