I really wanted to love Zleeping Hostel, and then I spent time there. I booked for one night, planning on leaving the next day for another hostel that had more facilities for the guests in town. I am very thankful I only reserved the one night.
Everything was fine when I arrived. The owner checked me in and inquired about my stay in Santa Marta, if I spoke Spanish (I do, and understand it VERY well--something that would come in handy later), and was generally very friendly. I booked a private room with shared bathroom and was given one right next to reception, the bar area, and kitchen. It was not quiet, and had no window, but after a nine hour flight I just wanted a comfortable bed. The hostel is impeccably clean and the shared bathrooms (there are several) are individual with sink, toilet, and shower all in one room so you have plenty of privacy. The room itself had a double bed, TV, small table, and armoire for your clothes. The A/C was quiet and worked perfectly. There is a rooftop terrace where you can relax, if the wind allows (it is very windy in Santa Marta) and a bar of sorts where you can have a beer. There is also a hot tub that looked clean--I did not go in. The location is decent. I walked at night alone and it was safe. There are restaurants in the area to eat at that are inexpensive and delicious. Do not ask the staff for recommendations as when I did they wanted to send me to Subway. Just walk down the street a couple blocks and you will find a place all on your own. It is about twenty minutes walking to the beach and center of town. A taxi will cost you 5,000 pesos as it is a flat rate to anywhere in the city. You can negotiate down to 4,000 if you want. These are the positives of Zleeping Hostel.
Now on to the negatives...
Traveling solo I am used to being asked why I am traveling alone and having to often times defend my choice. It is nothing new. But at a hostel it is commonplace for a woman to travel by herself and you expect to be treated with respect and made to feel safe. I did not feel this way at Zleeping Hostel. The bartender continually made comments to me about traveling alone, and insinuated that I was out to "hook up" with other guests at the hostel merely because I was talking to them on the terrace. He made kissy faces at me and harassed me repeatedly about being all alone and how I feel sleeping by myself. When he asked if I had a boyfriend--which I do--he called me a liar and said I was "looking" for one. I felt so uncomfortable I left the terrace and went to my room early--and secured the door because I was concerned he may come knocking. I have never felt this way traveling by myself and it was a terrible experience to have happen.
Then it got worse when I checked out the next morning...
I left my bags in the office area so I could go across town to an ATM before going to my other hostel in the city. When I returned there were three staff members in the room--the owner, whom I had already met, and two new faces. I sat down and was taking items out of my backpack in order to find my passport. The two staff members to my left did not know I spoke Spanish, and must have assumed I did not, because they sat there and made comments to one another about the items I had in my bag. My computer, kindle, and other items were commented on, as well as curious looks given to some small items I took out and placed on a table. The owner, knowing I spoke spanish, gave me a look that showed how embarrassed, ashamed, or "caught," he felt over his staff's actions. He knew I understood what they were saying and while he could not say anything to me about it because that would be admitting his staff is shady, the look on his face said enough. I packed up my stuff, hopped in a cab, and never looked back at Zleeping Hostel.
It is a shame what happened to me here because it was a clean, reasonably priced, nice looking place. But the treatment I encountered makes it impossible for me to give it a good review, or to recommend it to anyone else.
If you decide to stay here do not do it alone, and make sure to secure your belongings well in your room.
Oh, and they make you wear a wristband which screams "I am a tourist" to everyone in the city. It is absolutely terrible. Rip it off as soon as possible.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Zleeping Hostel boasts brand new facilities with top of the line brands that will comfortably accommodate our travellers who look for the best in hostels here in Santa Marta, Colombia. Our hostel is conveniently located in one of the main avenues of Santa Marta, allowing us to bring this extraordinary city as close as we can to you. We have 18 beautiful rooms, each portraying an iconic artist creating a cool, welcoming theme revolving around the history of music. Our rooms are perfectly designed to serve individual travelers, couples, and of course groups traveling together. Our amenities and services will make your stay a more than pleasant one, combining all of the necessities and luxuries a hostel of high caliber should provide. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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