5 Things I Wish I Could Tell Hostel Owners

It’s hard to find great accommodation. Decent, yes. Decent is readily available. I find that the longer I’m on the road, the lower my standards get. However, there are a few things that really irk me. Let’s delve into my nitpicky list a bit further, shall we?

1.         Wash The Pillows

hostel pillow guard

I use this cloth or a sarong as a barrier between my face and the stinky pillow

I understand that you wash the sheets. That’s great. That is a really good start, and I really appreciate that. However, the paper-thin pillowcases do little to cover the smell of the sweaty heads of 50-plus of my backpacking peers. I’m gonna need you to chuck that pillow into the washer every now and then. Thanks.

2.         Hairs, Hairs, Go Away

This really grosses me out. Hairs clogging up the drain in the shower, hairs embedded into my towel, hairs on my pillowcase. Let’s just say, the forensic team would have no problem figuring out who your previous guests are by all the DNA they’ve left laying around that you have failed to clean up.

3.         Stinky Towels

At first whiff, the towel smells clean enough. Then after the first use, something goes terribly wrong and it starts to smell like a dank rank stank thing I don’t want to go near, let alone touch or use. If my skin smells worse after the shower than before it, we have a serious problem.

4.         Kitchen Malfunction

hammocks in hostels

hammocks will always get you bonus points

Take a really good look at your kitchen. Open the drawers, look at all the silverware, inside the fridge, all the cooking utensils. Then ask yourself if you would use this kitchen. Are your pots and pans black or severely scratched at the bottom? Do your forks and knives have fingerprints? Does your fridge have unidentified stains and smell worse than that backpacker who hasn’t showered for a week nor washed his clothes since two countries ago? Are the insides of any of your cabinets sticky? Have a good look. Give it a top-to-bottom scrub down regularly.

5.         Tell The Truth

Do not exaggerate any aspect of your hostel on your website or other hostel booking system. This is a great way to get ranting, resentful reviews from your guests. If your showers are lukewarm, don’t say that you have hot showers 24/7. Don’t boast that you have free wifi if it only works in the reception area. If you are a party hostel, please tell me. Don’t name your hostel “Tranquilo Backpackers” if it is not “tranquilo.” Don’t post photos on your website that weren’t even taken at your hostel. You get my drift.

Better yet, stay at your own hostel every once in awhile so you get the full experience. Shower there, cook a meal, stay the night on a weekend. Then you’ll really know what it’s like to be a guest and you can make changes accordingly.

Is there something else that you would like to tell hostel owners? What are your pet peeves?

  • Nasrul Hanis
    September 5, 2010

    Gosh. I hope the hostel management should read your opinion here! You know what, some owners just ignore about users’ needs. And that’s what we got.

    However I guess sometimes it’s just their way of lifestyle..

  • Bess
    September 5, 2010

    It’s been a long time since I’ve stayed in a hostel, and some of the ones I stayed in were so bad I told myself I never would again. The point is just to have dormitory-style rooms, not be a nasty free-for-all. Some have pretty, clean, spare little rooms in a quaint, quiet building, and some are just not like that at all. Still, even the ones that fall in the “not” category can be fun….

  • Medulin Croatia
    September 8, 2010

    I would add – Smile more! I think that smile from the heart of staff is good way to improve some bad things in hostels.

  • Michael Adams
    September 8, 2010

    Thank you for putting your arguments in such a great perspective. I hope some of the hostel operators out there will follow through. I love staying at hostels, not just because they are cheaper, but the people one meets in them as well.

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