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The Purple House International Backpackers Hostel
Ranked #5 of 14 Specialty Lodging in David
Poznan, Poland
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“could be better”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 1, 2013

It is not a bad hostel, it`s very clean and the kitchen is well-equipped. Andrea is very helpful and can give you lots of info about the area. The only things that we didnt like is that a fee is charged if you check out in the morning and you want to wait in the hostel for the night bus (5$). We haven't seen anything like this in any other hostel in the world. The pillows were hard, big and uncomfortable. On the other hand, the staff is very nice and helpful.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Marta G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ComeToPanama, Owner at The Purple House International Backpackers Hostel, responded to this review, June 3, 2013
Thanks for your comments. It was nice having you here.

Our dorm beds are amongst the cheapest in Panama (at the time of this writing $8.80), and our check-out time is 11:00am. We believe it is OK to charge half price ($4) to those guests who want to stay here all day and use our facility for an additional 12 hours (until 12:00 midnight). We do offer completely free luggage storage to our guests who want to keep busy in the city. (Note: both of these options are only available to guests who have stayed here at least one night.)

We really appreciate the useful and honest feedback that our guests give us and we take your comments seriously. As of this week we will begin to phase out our current dorm pillows and go back to using our previous dorm pillows. (The pillows in our private rooms were phased out several months ago.) Thanks again for the input.

We wish all of you happy and safe travels!
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92 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
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Soloy
Level Contributor
11 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 23, 2013

My girlfriend and I stayed at the PURPLE HOUSE for three nights in January 2013, and had a great stay! I've been reading some of the comments below and they are simply unjustified, close-minded and self-absorbed.
1. Andrea is a very nice and welcoming lady. Perhaps she might seem a bit "intense" as some of you have pointed out, but it seems to originate from an endless concern to make EVERYONE who stays at her hostel comfortable. Of course, guests who do not understand that giving up a bit of their freedom will contribute towards everyone's comfort will not understand Andrea either.
2. The monochromatic color scheme would not be my choice of decorative theme, but it's not that big of a deal. If you allow your experience in the hostel to be dictated by the color, whether positively or negatively, perhaps you should reconsider what's important to you during your vacation/travels.
3. "Charging for every little thing" is a bit of an overstatement. I do agree that DVDs should be available to everyone for free, but hot showers are excess to requirements in David, and towel rental is common in most hostels. NOTE: Andrea never charges for fans.
4. Andrea only hires locals to work at her hostel, and I haven't read any positive reviews about what a thoughtful contribution that is. Not many people take into account the (un)employment of the local population when establishing their businesses in a foreign country. Kudos to Andrea for that!
5. David is a transit city, which means its hostels are a microcosm of people traveling through Latin America. At the PURPLE HOUSE you will meet a very interesting array of personalities and travelers!

I hope this was helpful and informative.
Safe travels to everyone!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Diego B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ComeToPanama, Owner at The Purple House International Backpackers Hostel, responded to this review, April 1, 2013
Thanks for your nice comments and thorough descriptive review. One thing we'd like to mention is that our DVD's have been completely free for the last couple of years. We must have forgotten to remove an old sign. Also, thanks for noticing (and acknowledging) that the members of our staff are all Panamanian. We believe that they are beyond compare when it comes to honesty, integrity and a strong work ethic.

Thanks again and we wish you safe and healthy travels.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
95 reviews
54 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 16, 2013 via mobile

I arrived by taxi and was greeted by Andrea who showed me around, I found her to be very friendly and informative.
I stayed in a six bedded dorm with three fans keeping the room cool. There's a good kitchen with everything you need, lots of travel information, great wifi and a tv sitting area.
Yes there are signs up all over the place but I saw them more as directions than rules.
The location is good, short walk to ATMs, good joints, supermarket, bus stop. The main bus terminal is $2 in a taxi. There's also a cinema within walking distance.
I had a pleasant stay here and would definitely recommend it to anyone. It's a good place to chill for a night or two and recharge your batteries.

  • Stayed February 2013
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
Thank gemwho
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ComeToPanama, Owner at The Purple House International Backpackers Hostel, responded to this review, April 8, 2013
Thank you very much for your nice comments and feedback regarding your stay with us. It is always appreciated when someone takes the time to focus on the positive and let us know what they liked about their experience here. Wishing you happy and safe travels!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 22, 2013

We dropped into the Purple House for 2 nights looking for a budget place in David and it was a great place to stay.

Andrea, the ever-present owner of the hostel, is a treasure trove of information on David and Panama, and she tells you how it is. We NEVER saw this as a problem, because she is friendly and courteous in all of her communication with her guests, and makes sure the hostel is always clean and comfortable.

There are extra charges for very optional things like a hot shower when it's already 28 degrees! But it's $9.90 (January 2013) for a dorm. If you pay for ALL the extras, it's still cheaper than anything else we could find in David.

The place is kitted out with enough information of things to do to last you weeks, despite Lonely Planet saying there's absolutely nothing there. That's pretty awesome. There's clear signage everywhere but I don't think that should be considered "regulations". Every hostel we have stayed at has exactly the same rules, just these ones are written down much more clearly and thankfully. We LIKE quiet, courteous and clean hostels, I hope you do too!!!!!

All these negative reviews do zero justice to Andrea and her very Purple hostel.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Sean B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ComeToPanama, Owner at The Purple House International Backpackers Hostel, responded to this review, February 19, 2013
Thank you so much for your kind words and observations about your experience here at The Purple House and your personal interaction with me. It is truly heartwarming and encouraging.
It was nice to have you here also! Wishing you safe and healthy travels.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
california
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 18, 2013

I have stayed at this hostel on three separate occasions. My initial impressions were that is was similar to any hostel. As other reviews state there are many different rules and Andrea the owner charges for every little thing. It is understandable but here it is a little too much. extra for hot water showers, extra for a fan, laundry is extremely expensive, pirated dvd rentals, etc. It is also located on a very busy and loud street with constant traffic.

The staff she employs is very nice. I have talked with Gustavo a few times and thought he was very friendly and helpful. Andrea herself seems very eccentric (but friendly) and each time I arrived she wanted to take me on a long and unnecessary tour of the small place. She is very intense and high strung. You can see the replies she wrote to previous reviews.

The place overall isn't very inviting. I have stayed in both the dorms and a private room. The pillows are very lumpy, the bunk beds are some of the noisiest beds I have slept on. It makes you feel like you don't want to move around because you will disturb the other guests. The plastic sheets are a bit much, and make even more noise.

The poor dog Cute-si (who is cute and nice) has a ribbon glued to his/her head and a patch of hair missing where the ribbon is continued to be glued. Has nothing to do with the hostel but I didn't like seeing that.

After staying here a couple times I ventured to other hostels and am surprised at the difference. I should have done so sooner. The other hostels have a much friendlier and inviting atmosphere and feeling. Her hostel made me feel like I was staying at her house (which i was) not at a hostel.

I don't mean to sound totally negative but I recommend to everyone to go elsewhere. There are much better options available. There are other hostels in the area and some right in town. The purple house is quite far from downtown. Granted its only a $2-3 taxi ride but its nice to walk out and be in town.

In summary... not good not bad, but there are much better options

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank honest_dude_ca
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ComeToPanama, Owner at The Purple House International Backpackers Hostel, responded to this review, January 30, 2013
In the 11 years that we have operated the hostel we have never once charged extra for a fan. In fact that is simply an outrageous and absurd statement. Could we really tell some guests in a dorm room to not use the fans because they didn’t pay extra? Would we not allow the fans to oscillate towards non-payers? It is true that we charge extra for optional things like towels and hot water because most backpackers have their own towels and very few travelers feel the need for hot water here in David City. Rather than increasing our prices for everyone, we just let the individual traveler decide what they want. It seems to work for most people.

Cute-si, our precious ( girly) dog goes to the vet once in a while to get groomed and on a few occasions they have put on the cute purple bows. They are completely harmless and are attached with water soluble glue. She suffers from food allergies (guests feed her stuff without our OK) so perhaps that’s the patchy area that you saw at the time. You make it sound like animal cruelty…we would do nothing to harm her!

Sorry that I didn’t realize that you have been here on several occasions. Had I recognized you (or had you mentioned that you had been here already), I wouldn’t have given you our welcome tour again.

Thanks for taking the time to mention Gustavo. He, (and our entire team of local Panamanian people that we employ) are an important part of the Purple House success and positive guest experience.

In terms of your personal choices about in which hostel you would prefer to stay during your visits to David, we think of it like this: Pepsi, Coke, Sprite, Diet Dr. Pepper…everyone has their favorite flavor…

Best wishes to all for healthy and safe travels and a great 2013!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Catalina, Panama
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 3, 2012

Theres alot of rules for a hostel, somewhat understandable cause some travellers can be inconsiderate, however here, it's a little overboard. The owner/manager can be a little suffocating, although trying to be helpful its also a little bit much. The color gets a little heavy too, everything being purple. The rooms are okay, however the pillows are leather, which get warm fast and are also kind of noisy. I was lucky to escape having a plastic sheet on my bed, however 4 of the 6 beds in the dorm had them so they were also fairly noisy. Its a clean hostel but thats about all it's got going for it.
all in all not a terrible experiance but i would look for somewhere else in david before returning to this hostel.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Tim H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ComeToPanama, Owner at The Purple House International Backpackers Hostel, responded to this review, December 9, 2012
Oh please. You come to a place called The PURPLE House International Backpackers Hostel, where everything is clearly advertised as being PURPLE. We have been in business for 11 years, contributing to the local economy and becoming famous in the traveling community for being PURPLE. Our entire marketing approach has been to emphasize our love of the color PURPLE. So we are not quite sure why several of you (in the minority) decide to get online and complain that there is too much PURPLE!?!? We haven’t exactly been keeping it a secret…. and literally THOUSANDS of our guests specifically come here to enjoy the love of PURPLE…. Let’s move on already!

On the same note, since you are out here reading Trip Advisor reviews and obviously using them for your travel planning, you have clearly seen that we have explained (ad nauseum) the 2 simple “rules” that we enforce here at the PURPLE house which refer to our dear doggie Cute-si and the use of illegal drugs. If you don’t want to abide by these unreasonable (lol) tough rules, then by all means…move on! Do we really need to keep addressing this point? We think we’ve been perfectly PURPLY clear.

By now, you also must know that we have lightweight vinyl mattress covers (which are virtually noiseless when sheets are on them) and hypo-allergenic pillows. So if that is problematic for you…rather than complaining yet once again…perhaps consider that the PURPLE house is not the best place for you to stay, and choose something else.

Can we agree to move on? You all have such interesting lives and we love getting to meet you when you are here in the hostel. Come on guys, you are free to spend your money where you want, but why not let all of us PURPLE loving, VINYL loving, RULE abiding people live in peace?

As always…we wish you all healthy, happy and PURPLEFULL travels!
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Travelers are raving about these David hotels

Oceanside, California
Level Contributor
43 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 15, 2012

The place is okay except that the beds and pillows are covered in plastic like your grandma's sofa in the 1950s...not very comfortable. The owner is a little high strung and intense. We hid in our room to stay out of her way and left as soon as possible. Read through her responses to negative reviews; you'll get the picture. (I'm sure she'll come after me on here too.) When so many guests have the same concerns, maybe some introspection is in order. Very disappointed with Lonely Planet on this one. Now I have to double check them with Trip Advisor first. :-(

Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
Helpful?
3 Thank Karen L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ComeToPanama, Owner at The Purple House International Backpackers Hostel, responded to this review, November 21, 2012
As Karen mentioned, we do use lightweight, washable, vinyl mattress covers and hygienic pillows in our most inexpensive dorm rooms in order to prevent bed-bugs, foul odors, and contamination due to bodily fluids such as urine, vomit, saliva, blood, etc. Of course we provide full clean cotton-blend sheets and pillow cases for guests to use over these protective covers. Most travelers would rather sleep with clean sheets on a clean light vinyl mattress cover than a stained dirty smelly mattress or pillow. At the extremely low dorm prices that we charge we simply cannot afford to replace a mattress each time it gets stained or dirtied. The covers extend the life of the mattresses and pillows and allow us to keep our costs (and our prices) low.

Some people interpret high energy as high strung and a keen interest in the well being and comfort of each and every one of our guests as intensity. Since Karen by her own admission chose to hide in her dorm room, she never got to know me personally. Nevertheless, we thank her for her comments and to Trip Advisor for allowing us the opportunity to respond. We consider all our reviews, whether negative or positive, as a learning opportunity, and when we respond, it is not our goal to “go after” anybody, rather, to just clarify and explain our point of view.

Wishing all of you safe and happy travels!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Purple House International Backpackers Hostel

Property: The Purple House International Backpackers Hostel
Address: Calle C Sur y Avenida Sexta Oeste | San Mateo, David 0426, Panama
Location: Panama > Chiriqui Province > David
Amenities:
Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 14 Specialty Lodging in David
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome to the Purple House International Backpacker Hostel! We encourage you to visit us here in the wonderful city of David, Panama, a convenient jumping off point to many of the most popular tourist areas in Panama. Use David City (and The Purple House) as your home- base as you explore the regions! We have all the amenities that most travelers need and want, in a very safe convenient neighborhood of the city.The Purple House is a fun hostel and a great place to meet other travelers. It's homey, friendly staff, and it's very clean and comfortable because it is owned by experienced travelers who know what other travelers are looking for! Our theme is purple, and most guests are surprised to see just how many things we have managed to find in the color purple! We offer:Private rooms from 1-4 people with air-conditioning and TV, Dorm rooms from 6-10 people,Internet access including WIFI,Free Coffee and Tea all day.Fully equipped kitchen.Common Area with cable TV, stereo, DVD,Book Exchange (guests only!)Reference guide books, 24 Hour Check-in/Security.Unique Refreshing SPLASH PAD in our Outdoor Sun Garden,Laundry service.International phone calls,Eco-friendly and socially and community conscious atmosphere.A deep and abiding love for all things PURPLE! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Purple House International Backpackers Hostel Panama/David

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