Sunday, October 03, 2010

From Hotels to Hostels

After BBS left Australia, I was relegated once again to living on the cheap. Despite my best (i.e. barest minimum) efforts, I was unable to find a new and affordable flat in Sydney prior to his departure. The thought of leaving the comforts of the Circular Quay-area hotel, with its amazing views, comfy duvets, and lovely business lounge did not sit well with me. Since my quest to go local was meeting with only limited success and few prospective flatmates had rung me back, I cringed and prepared to bite the proverbial bullet.

My housing slump left me with the unenviable choice of living on the streets, staying in an overpriced hotel, or moving into a hostel. I am far too spoiled to live on the streets and far, far too broke for the hotel lifestyle, so I pulled up my big girl panties and accustomed myself to hostel living.

As you can expect, I did a great deal of research into my choice of hostel and eventually settled on the one closest to the hotel where BBS and I stayed. Since I made my decision to stay there at the last minute, I was relegated to bunking in a room with five other girls for a sum slightly greater than one might expect of a hostel.

I have to admit, the newly opened Sydney Harbour Hostel impressed me from the moment I entered its airy reception area. The large comfortable living area features plenty of natural light and fronts the impressive cooking area with its six professional-style ranges.

What surprised me most, however, were the residents of this particular hostel. With rooms to serve 354, the clientele run the gamut from grandparents in their 70’s to children on their first overnight field trip. The 20-something backpackers certainly make up the bulk of the visitors but the contemporary furnishings, banks of computers, and quiet efficiency of its staff are a reminder that this hostel has more than stoned kids on gap year vacations in mind.

The YHA tends to nickel and dime its guests with charges for everything from post checkout luggage storage to overpriced barista coffee in the mornings. The hostel does, however, do its best to entertain the masses. Every night, there is a themed meal people can sign up for. The first night I stayed, I enjoyed ’Roo Burgers on the roof for $6.00 AUD. The following night found me flipping pancakes with other residents while we made a mess and enjoyed the surprisingly free prepare-it-yourself meal.

Located over an archeological site, the best feature of this family-friendly hostel is the roof deck. The views from BBS’s pricey hotel are easily eclipsed by these panoramic offerings. The unimpeded view of the Opera House with the Harbour Bridge to the left is a popular feature here and people can often be found on the roof snapping photos or simply enjoying the fine Australian weather. Best of all, they also have an unimpeded view of the Canadian High Commission!

Lest you think this effusive post is a sign that I have become less spoiled and am suddenly willing to live like a proper backpacker, I wish to assure you that I am still the expat princess you all know and love. That said, if I had known that hostels could be this nice I probably could have saved myself a bundle by now.


Brenda said...

I've never stayed in a hostel but I would be willing to, the conditions have never come together for me to stay in one. My kids have stayed in them a lot and have mostly good things to say.

This was a fun post.

Melissa said...

That place is super expensive, especially for the privilege of sharing sleeping quarters with a bunch of strangers. You need to find a flat pronto!

Lydia said...

Wow, that is leaps & bounds above my hostel experiences! BTW, the hostel formerly known as the Sherief Hotel; now known as the Bob Marley House Hosetl, is dirt cheap & an amazing free custom-made breakfast. But the beds, they suck. It was something like 20LE a night.

Lydia said...

i meant to include that it is in luxor. and it's a hostel, not a 'hosetl'.

Anonymous said...

I've never stayed in a hostel either but this sounds OK in terms of facilities but 6 in a room? Hummmm. Reminds me of Boarding School!
Was it better than the hostel in North NZ?
Well, you never know what could happen if I went to Sydney!

sprinkles said...

I've never stayed at a hostel but wouldn't be opposed to it. At least you kind of get to know people a little bit there, sharing a room and making a meal with them.

San said...

The hostel does sound lovely. Haven't had a chance to try that out in Syd yet. Reading your Sydney posts make me so miss the food over there! *drool...*