Review: Big Apple Hostel

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When I decided to spend a few days in New York City in January 2009, I knew that I needed to do things as cheaply as possible. One of the ways I saved money was by staying at the Big Apple Hostel rather than a hotel (which probably would have been super expensive considering the location).

Overall, I’d say my experience was fairly positive. I mean, it’s cheap, so don’t expect a five –star like hotel. The rooms are fairly bare bones; they’re equipped with two bunk beds (so a max of four people can be in a room) and mirrors and that’s about it.

With that said, here are what I consider to be the pros and cons of my experience.

Pros:

  • Location – The hostel is located at 119 West 45th Street, which is basically right off Times Square. This location was important to me because I was planning on seeing Broadway shows at night and didn’t want to be walking very far by myself in the dark.
  • Price – I only paid $39 a night.
  • Clean – I’d consider the common areas, including the shared bathrooms, to be fairly clean. From what I could tell, someone was in these areas cleaning on a fairly regular basis.
  • Security – people entering the hostel had to pass the front desk, which had someone behind it 24/7. If the person behind the desk didn’t recognize you as someone staying at the hostel, they’d demand to see your key to prove you were a guest. Also, all the hallways and common areas (expect the bathrooms and the rooms) had security cameras.
  • Roommates – I suppose it’s a crapshoot as far as what sort of roommates you end up with. However, I lucked out and got some very nice roommates.
  • I’m pretty sure they have Wi-Fi access. I didn’t take my laptop, so I can’t say for sure, but I did see other people using their laptops, and I’m pretty sure they were surfing the internet.
  • Friendly staff – the staff I encountered were over all incredibly friendly and helpful.
  • Coupons/discounts – there were tons of coupons and other discounts available in the lobby of the hostel for some of the more famous NYC tourist attractions.

Cons:

  • Temperature – I’m one of those people who gets hot really easily. In fact, I often have trouble sleeping if I feel too hot. So I was upset when there seemed to be no way to adjust the heat in the rooms and consequently was hot and had trouble sleeping the entire time I was there.
  • Laundry – I found myself needing to do laundry while I was there and was happy that the hostel had washers and dryers available for use. However, the dryer I attempted to use didn’t dry my clothes and I ended up being out the money I put in the machine. In all fairness, however, I didn’t complain to the front deck.
  • Cleanliness – Yes, the common areas we clean. However, I was given linens for my bed that were stained and this sort of grossed me out. Also, all beds came with a blanket and I question how often those blankets are cleaned. Come to think of it, I wonder how often someone comes in to clean the dorm rooms. I realize that with people’s luggage all over the floor it must be hard to vacuum and I guess I can deal with the rooms not being cleaned everyday. I guess I wonder if they rotate which rooms are used and then clean the ones that aren’t in use.
  • Public Computers – There were two public computers for use in the common area. However, I had trouble getting them to work. I logged into one of them and when it came time to put in more money, the machine wouldn’t take my money. I lost information as a result. The other computer seemed to have some sort of virus on it and I constantly got error messages when I tried to use it.

With that in mind, I would recommend this hostel to budget travelers who need a cheap, safe place to stay. I’d stay there again. However, I personally don’t think I could handle staying there more than one night unless I really had to. However, different people handle things differently, so take what I say with a grain of salt.

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