Before I began Airbnb-ing I was a hosteller. I still do enjoy hostels if I am travelling solo. You can crash in cheap places, right in the centre of town, and sometimes in rooms with interesting character. Aside from being great value, the hostels I’ve stayed at in the past have actually been better than many hotels I’ve seen. Most people cringe when I tell them where I’m staying, but despite some of the misconceptions a lot of times hostel travel can be way better than hotel travel.
On a recent trip to Madrid I stayed at THC Bergantin, a luxury hostel which I think dispels a lot of the myths about staying in hostels.
The entrance and staircase are sketchy and shabby but our room was far from it! A widescreen plasma TV, personal balcony, awesome decor, free wifi (this is key), and travel-size shampoos (which saved me a few extra euros). Unfortunately, we didn’t know about the on-going construction outside our window until we got there, so the view of the lively street below wasn’t much of a view but it was still nice to open up the French doors in the morning and hear birds-chirping. The daily cleaning service was a surprising touch. We had fresh towels and our pillows plumped every morning, something I definitely wasn’t expecting in a hostel.
The doors opened into the lobby…
which led us through the hallways…
THC Bergantin is tucked away on a narrow-cobblestoned street. It took us awhile to find it. We got lost for almost two hours (it seems the streets in Madrid don’t ever intersect with one another, we ended up in the midst of a political protest when we surfaced onto Puerta del Sol, and trying to self-navigate in the dark is not an easy trick). Aside from jumping a few tiny obstacles, THC is just around the corner from the main square and metro. We were stumbling distance to some of the best tapas bars, the main street of la Gran Vía, El Corte Inglés, La Puerta del Sol square, and Mercado de San Miguel for fresh eats. We couldn’t ask for anything more central!
Tip: If you’re a light sleeper, pack earplugs. The bars are really close by and madrileños are known to party until early hours on any given night.
One of the best things about staying here is that you’re next to the popular ham shops (yes, ham!) and bars frequented by the locals every night. English is not widely spoken here so you can pick up a few new words and immerse yourself with madrileños.
Tip: Brush up on your Spanish! The owner at the reception desk is the sweetest lady ever who will have a full conversation with you in Spanish even if you don’t speak the language. At first, it was a bit frustrating but then I realized it’s all part of the cultural immersion. She’s also very happy to give you full access to their family fridge for drinks!
This hostel is more like a hotel without the prices of one. The room cost us €25 per person and if you reserve THC Bergantin Hostel on Booking.com you don’t need to pay until you check-in.
Other things you should know
Contrary to the misconceptions about hostels, this hostel is not smelly, there is no funky odour, I didn’t hear anyone snoring, and there were no drunken parties (in fact, it was pin-drop silent during our stay, maybe because we were the only ones who found this gem).
I like hostelling because it helps you travel longer and cheaper, and there are now some great quality options out there so you don’t need to sacrifice comfort.
How to get here: Calle Victoria, 1 near Sol metro station
How to book: You can book here on Booking.com.