I stayed at Backpackers Citi Hostel for 4 nights - my first time in Dublin and I was doing it on a super tight budget. I had a really good search online and from the websites this one looked the best for the money (€6 a night in an 8 bed dorm) which was only £4.99 over here - the pictures looked ok, it was in a listed Georgian town house and looked clean; free wifi; free breakfast! I went for it.
Alas, it was nothing like what i had been lead to believe. When I got there the interior looked like a slight wind could destroy the walls, the floor hadn't been cleaned in what looked like forever and the big glass door hadn't been cleaned in a long time.
I was greeted with smiles and welcomes from two lovely ladies at the desk but when I said I wanted to check in they didn't seem to know where to put me. I had to remind them of my reservation. Everything at reception was very basic - a massive diary filled with scribbles and a television to display the CCTV footage of the building.
Eventually we got to my room (which was behind reception) and had a punch code lock on the door (no key/keycard). The receptionist pushed the door open to reveal what was once obviously a very lovely room - large window, very high ceilings and spacious. Only, the window was rotting (original sash) and was as drafty as anything. The rug covering the wooden floor was once cream I think, but was now definitely a dark brown. The wooden floor hadn't been looked after and it seemed as though parts of the timber was splintering. I didn't take my shoes off. There were only two other people staying in the room so I had a choice of 6 beds to claim as my own, only those 'free' beds hadn't been made since the other people had left... and the massive room was being heated by two tiny electric heaters. The walls were crawling with damp and pipes that should have been in the wall were exposed. Parts of the floorboards were missing and had been 'fixed' by placing the odd bit of plywood over the holes.
I went back out to reception to ask for some clean bed linen - I'd do it myself, I'm no stranger to housekeeping, having worked as a chamber maid whilst in high school - and a Scotsman had arrived, behind reception. The ladies seemed quite fearful of him but I continued on my quest for clean linen. He stopped me before I could say a thing and said he was 'upgrading' me to a smaller room at the top of the hostel which also had an ensuite. All because I was a musician (well, so I was lead to believe). Instead of being sceptical and thinking that even if this smaller en-suite room WAS better than the one I had just seen it couldn't be THAT much better - I accepted the offer with both hands thinking the top of the hostel would be this miraculous Georgian Penthouse and that I'd be able to see the whole of Dublin. I let my imagination run away with me.
It was 6 full flights of stairs up to the top. No lift and NO HELP FROM THE MEN!! I, being but 5"3, partially sighted and carrying a suitcase and heavy guitar was helped up to my new room by the lady who welcomed me at the start: a small Irish/Malay lady who was smaller than me! The guys at reception REFUSED to help take my luggage upstairs when I asked them to.
Got to the room and it was better than the previous one, only had one other person in it, a TV and a shower/toilet/sink room. At least I had a key... The shower is a metal cage. No joke. And I learned on my first day that if you don't get up early, between 7 and 8am, you'll have to have a cold shower. The shower didn't drain, there were no soap facilities, the toilet didn't flush very well AT ALL and you had to get your own toilet roll. The lino in the bathroom was filthy - I didn't take my shoes off the entire time I was there (except to brave the shower of course). At least one of the three spare beds was made.
I later realised, after taking the key out with me, that when you leave the hostel for the day you're meant to give the key back to reception (?!?!) so that other people sharing the room can get in if they return before you etc.
I enjoyed my stay in Dublin because I met some exception people and I really made an effort to have a good time out there, but I stayed out all day and most of the night every night - I was gigging every night so it wasn't too hard - and only slept for a little while at the hostel. I used the place as somewhere to put my luggage. I used the bathrooms in bars and pubs and restaurants. THERE IS NO FREE BREAKFAST HERE! When I asked about it they looked at me like I was on crack. Yes, there is free WiFi but it's temperamental and you'll have a task getting the code from the people behind the desk.
I didn't see the shared bathrooms but I was told that they were HORRIFIC, and from what I had seen of the rest of the place, I believe it.
If a nice, comfortable lovely looking, super clean and friendly place is what you're all about when on holiday THIS PLACE IS NOT FOR YOU!
If you don't mind sleeping in some randoms bedsheets, having cold showers and having your feet stick to the floor then knock yourself out and book a room!
I enjoyed my stay only because of the people I met in Dublin. I'm going back in two weeks and I can happily say that I will NOT be returning to this hostel.
It did make me feel like a traveling artists though; made me feel like this might have been what my heroes - Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Patti Smith etc all went through in the '60's in NYC and California when staying at places like The Hotel Chelsea: dodgy managers, strange characters roaming the corridors...
But I can't say it was a comfortable stay.
If you go there, best of luck!
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