Torquay backpackers hostel review ( 7/10)

“A spacious, hostel that attempts to appear homely”.

The atmosphere

From the outset the atmosphere was a little closed. There were clearly people living there who seemed like they had been there forever. It was difficult therefore to integrate effectively into their milieu.

The hostel was a little dark and narrow with most of the space taken up by stairs. There was however, a cosy and warm dining area with a table to sit at. The decoration was rather quirky. It had an array of flags perhaps to entice people from around the world with photos of many people having a good time for example at nightclubs. This was nice as it made the whole place seem more social if pinpointed at youth.
The kitchen area had a microwave and free cereal in the cupboard with tea making facilities. The usual hostel food labelling system applied with any personal foods stored in other cupboards with a name tag.

My rooms’ atmosphere was pleasant if a little dark. Due to it’s nature as a loft conversion, the lighting and ceiling height were not perfect. The view from the dormer window however made up for this.
Storage was sufficient within draws and under the bed, and there was a sink and mirror for partial en-suite functionality which was nice.
Most of my clothes had to be folded due to lack of hanging up space and with my bed at the side of the room, I could only perch on the edge for TV viewing on my tablet.

Another notable feature was the signage around the establishment. This was very imperative and stern in tone. Orders rather than guidance were given such as:

“Do not leave open”

“Leave all your covers downstairs in the basket after stripping your bed”

These gave a more negative, disciplined impression which was more instructional than leisure or enjoyment focused.

Overall then, a mixed bag with a closed, disciplined feel yet not unpleasant for the night.

Chilling in your room

As mentioned previously the room was a loft conversion with limited facilities for hanging up clothes or relaxing. This however, was not too much of an issue due to a downstairs lounge, dining and kitchen area all of which were clean and tidy and spacious enough for guests to spend time. Since I like my own space, my room was not the best. It would have been nice for my bed to have a comfy seat set up nearby or a folding chair under the bed ready to put up perhaps. This could have been simply accommodated due to the rooms modest, yet adequate size.

Overall then, limited scope for chilling in a slightly dark and dingy room. Compensated for by many community areas with sufficient space to spend time.
This was one of the same issues encountered by igloo in Nottingham with an inadequate comfy seat or bed backrest for enjoyable relaxation. The slightly stern atmosphere did not promote relaxing or a holiday vibe unfortunately despite this.

Community areas

There were a few key community areas all of which were adequate. The kitchen was a little small and had limited variety of goods compared to hostels such as igloo Nottingham and certainly compared to Homestay Bristol.
The cleanliness was fine yet a little washing up did remain in the washing up bowl and on the draining board.

The seating area had a generously sized table and it’s own room with quirky decor which for me provided real character and a pleasant setting for social dining. Whilst I did not venture into the lounge, a door by the staircase promised of one. Whether there is remains a mystery to me which again suggests a reluctance to explore due to confusing layout or stern feel may be likely.

Summary
Plenty of space in communal areas with room for chilling and some free supplies. A quirky dining area is the highlight or possibly the lounge ( if it exists) …
Washing and cleaning

The bathroom or bathrooms I would describe as practical. When wanting to clean teeth you don’t even need to leave the dormer dorm room due to the sink provided. When going to the toilet you need to access the communal flat area down the twisty stairs ( bit of a challenge in the middle of the night ), yet for a shower you have to trek down the stairs further to the clearly signposted bathrooms on the left. This suggests a longer trip than many other hostels I have stayed at.

I never had an issue with shower queuing, although I did only stay for the night so this may have been worse if I happened to wake up at a more popular time.
The shower worked fine ( much better than at homestay Bristol or Igloo). I didn’t encounter any issues with hot water or nozzle pressure either.

The bathrooms seemed a nice size too so were therefore quite commendable.
I wouldn’t push it with your expectations for cloth washing however since I could not locate a washing machine. That is not to say there wasn’t one but perhaps the staff were not approachable enough to find out. I am generally quite shy though when asking questions.

Despite a bit of residual washing up and a few cups and pieces left in the dining area, the room had clean bedding and the communal areas had clean surfaces.

Summary
A good practical bathroom and ample personal hygiene spaces albeit some a bit of a trek away. Communal spaces were clean, slightly messy, yet practical.

Price

The room price at 20 per night cannot be faulted. It is pretty much standard for a cheap hostel. For this price the spaces provided were great, with a room attempting, but struggling to be practical. Overall then the value as well as price is very good.

With the offer of staying for 80 pounds for a week this value could become truly epic compared to elsewhere. Whilst there are a few tweaks needed, for value this gets almost full marks …

Customer service

The customer service was to the point and helpful if a little stern. Staff could be more approachable but didn’t have to be since there were no real issues except on arrival which wasn’t due to a personal fault but perhaps a branding problem. Whilst I have more than 1 name I don’t feel any business really needs to as it creates unnecessary confusion as was the case on this occasion. The hostel almost lost my booking because of this …
As a customer during your stay however, there shouldn’t be any real problems.

Overall

A spacious, hostel that attempts to appear homely. It has good facilities and potential to provide a relaxing pleasant setting for younger backpackers. Is slightly let down by the formal impression and confusing brand identity but is great value.

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