I stayed at The Loft Hostel for two weeks in October, 2013 and I loved it! I had never been to a hostel before so I booked a single room with a king size bed and a private bathroom. The staff at The Loft are its biggest asset. They're all in their 20s and are friendly, helpful, efficient, generous, hard working, and they speak English! The decor of The Loft is really stylish and eclectic too. It's a converted warehouse of painted brick, rough floors, and high ceilings. There are many nooks, crannies, and a TV/DVD nook with comfy cushions to chat with the interesting, friendly, adventurous people you'll run into there. There's also a pool table in the back patio/garden area. I felt hip even though I'm middle-aged! The location was central and within a 10 minutes walk to Kuanzhai Alley, People's Park, the subway, buses, and taxis (very cheap and handy). If you don't mind walking about 15 minutes, you can walk to McDonalds and Starbucks. Also, for you animal lovers like me, there's a sweet, shy cat who lives at The Loft.
Here are some important things to know though so you have accurate expectations.
1. There is no elevator so if you're room is on the 4th floor like mine was, or if you want to sit on the roof on the 5th floor, prepare for some exercise. This is not a shortcoming for the hotel though, it's a cultural thing. Most buildings in China with less than 8 floors, don't have or legally require an elevator.
2. You can buy a token at the front desk to use one of their 3 washing machines to wash your clothes but be aware that the one tiny clothes dryer doesn't work well at all. Almost everyone dries their clothes by hanging them from provided hangers on clotheslines on the 5th floor roof. However, Chengdu is often damp and rainy city so it may take 3 days for your clothes to dry. Also, they didn't have a iron at the hotel but I bought one for hotel use so hopefully it's still working when you visit. There are no laundromats around, only dry cleaners.
3. There is air conditioning and heating in the rooms but I never could figure out how to operate the complicated remote control with everything on the buttons printed in Chinese. Ask the front desk for lessons on how to use it in advance!
4. The restaurant in the hotel has wonderful desserts made by Gio, a lovely young woman who I became friends with. However, if you're an early bird you're out of luck. They don't open until 9 am and the night time hotel employee doesn't even have a key to the soda fridge so you can't buy an early morning soda. Don't worry though, about 2 blocks away there is a wonderful French bakery, Rosa Cake, with the best bread and pastries I've every had and you can sit on their narrow front porch and people watch while you eat. Also, when you want an easy dinner, ask the front desk to alert you when the noodle man comes by on his bike around 5-5:30 pm. I'm a picky eater but I LOVED his cold noodles so much I ate them 6 times in my two weeks there and each time it only cost me the equivalent of 50 cents US. By the way, you get a 10% discount at the restaurant. They don't have Diet Coke but you'll be walking off your calories. Also, they don't allow outside food to be brought into the restaurant which was frustrating when I wanted to eat my cold noodles in there. Even if you buy the rest of your meal from them, you can't bring in your cold noodles. I'm hoping they fix this before I return next time.
5. If you're staying in a room without a private bath, the shared bathrooms aren't always as clean and fresh smelling as they could be. Lesson, get a room with a private bath! However, my private bath was a bathtub with a shower curtain only on one side so water got everywhere. I guess that didn't matter much though because the tub water actually drains onto the bathroom floor and then goes down a drain in the floor. Also, if you're new to China, be aware that toilet paper seems to be a valued commodity and is carefully doled out in small quantities. Save yourself the worry of asking for extra tiny toilet paper rolls at the front desk by just walking down the street to the convenience store and buying several bigger rolls. Same goes for soap and shampoo. They sell tiny packets at the front desk but it's easier to buy some at the convenience store.
6. There are area maps in English at the front desk but you need to ask for one, The staff is happy to write the name of where you're headed in Chinese for to you give a taxi driver. Most drivers don't speak any English and couldn't understand my poorly accented attempts at speaking Chinese.
7. If you are from a country like the US and need to use your hotel booking receipt to apply for a tourist visa to China, the online booking receipt from The Loft is not detailed enough for most Chinese consulates. I had to book at another hotel, submit their receipt, then cancel the reservation, and stay at The Loft.
8. There is wifi in the lobby of The Loft but it's not up 100% of the time. If you'll be in China more than a few days, I suggest buying a cheap smart phone and prepaying for voice and data so you can stay connected to the English tools you'll need such as Google Translate and Google Maps. Also, the wifi signal doesn't reach the 3rd, 4th, or 5th floors but my room had an ethernet plug and the front desk let me borrow a cable (and power outlet strip) so I could have access there. I installed virtualrouter.com software on my laptop to create a wifi hotspot in my room to use my cell phone with.
Overall, I loved The Loft and will stay there again. Take the time to get to know the hotel and restaurant employees. They will make you feel right at home!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome to the Loft Hostel, a fun and comfortable place to stay. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Loft Design Hotel Chengdu