My views on this hostel are very mixed. It's not that it was good or bad, it's just that there are factors to consider.
When I first got here I didn't like it at all. It was fairly far away from central Tel Aviv compared to other hostels, and the area looked very run down. I wanted to stay an extra night in Jerusalem, so I phoned the hostel about a week before I arrived telling them that I wanted to arrive a day later (I was even happy to pay for the night I had cancelled). I got a pretty rude response, saying 'Ok, this is a lot of extra work for me, you had better stick to this new date now.' from Rafi, the owner. I thought this was unusual because it's fairly common for backpackers to change their dates around.
When I arrived, at around lunchtime, no one was in at reception so I couldn't get into the hostel. Because my phone didn't work in Israel I had to wait outside till another backpacker came and pressed the code. When I got inside I thought it was pretty basic, and small for the number of people staying there (around 20-30). I phoned Rafi after another backpacker kindly let me use his Israeli mobile phone. I asked where I should put my stuff, because I had to go and meet a friend of mine. I got, again, quite a rude response, as if I was asking a really stupid question.
When I arrived later that evening, I was tired and just wanted a bed and that's about it really. But unfortunately the attitude still continued. I was greeted with Rafi, the owner, saying to me 'Oh, you seem like a funny person don't you?' I was tired, in a new city, and just didn't need the hassle. It was rude of him to say that, I've not been called a 'funny person' often in my life, but obviously he thought it was his place to say it. It made me feel really unwelcome and uncomfortable.
The next major problem was that I was allocated a top bunk in the female dorm - BEWARE - the ceiling is only about 30 cm away from the mattress! It was ridiculous! During my time at this hostel I heard pretty much every single guest who stayed in a top bunk bump their heads in the middle of the night! When I climbed to the top bunk, I couldn't even put new sheets onto it, because I couldn't even sit up straight in the bed, in fact there was such little space I could barely climb into the bed on all fours. If you stay here, make sure you get a bottom bunk. A lot of guests who were allocated top bunks were unhappy, but didn't say anything to the owner.
Because I couldn't even sit up, I asked if I could maybe sleep outside. So was allocated a mattress on the roof terrace. Well, there was an all night party going on. I lay out there for an hour or so, trying to sleep but actually listening to bad house music and a rivetting (being sarcastic here) conversation with a bunch of French, German and American men discussing what nationality of girls is the best to f*** (as they so politely put it). It was pretty depressing to listen to. By this point I was getting really exhausted, so I said to the guy at reception 'I couldn't even sit up in my bed, that's why I'm now sleeping outside. I paid for a bed, and a bed means something you can at least get into with comfort and sit up in. If I'd known the conditions were like this, I simply would have booked another hostel.' This is when I started to get somewhere. He found me a pretty comfortable bottom bunk bed in the mixed dorm. If he hadn't, I would've found another hostel. I had a good night's rest in there. But I realised that throughout my stay I was frequently bitten in bed by something, and a lot of my fellow travellers said the same. We were all very itchy everywhere, and thought there may be bed bugs, I can't verify that 100% though.
There were only two bathrooms for dozens of guests. So you had to queue for a while to get in there. Also, if you don't have a laptop (for which there is very good free wifi), forget using the internet. There is a computer, where you can use the internet totally free, which is great. Only it's exceptionally rare you get on it, because there's so much competition to get on it.
Now for the good bits - it attracts a interesting crowd. Now you do get some weird people here like in every hostel, but there are also some really lovely people staying here, and that's what made this place bearable, even good, for me. The friends I made here were lovely people and we have since stayed in touch. We had some really good times together, because this place is only a ten minute walk from the beach, and there are some great bars here. In fact, there is an excellent shisha bar just on the corner of Eilat Street on the way to the beach, we hung out there every night. In the end I didn't want to leave here, but not because of this hostel, because it is a good location to have fun, it's next to Jaffa, the beach, and some nice bars, and I made some really wonderful friends who I spent my days in Tel Aviv with.
All in all I would not stay here again. As a sole female traveller I felt unwelcome. The staff consists of three guys, and the owner was not that great towards me when I first arrived. I guess first impressions and manners count. It's certainly not a bad hostel - it's clean and basic, but really, I would find somewhere better.
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