I had high expectations from this place, and it was nothing but massive disappointment from the start. On their website, and in all their email communications, they brag about providing free airport pickups. I gladly took them up on this offer, providing them with my flight details, so that they would send someone to pick me up from the airport upon arrival. I looked for someone holding a sign with my name, and saw no one. I wandered the airport for minutes hoping that I had just missed the person, but no one was there waiting to pick me up. To make matters worse, there are no pay phones in the airport arrivals hall, so I couldn't even call the place to inquire (obviously this isn't their fault). I found a very generous taxi driver who attempted to call the hostal on my behalf, but no one answered the phone. As a result, I was forced to pay out of pocket to be driven to the hostal. Upon arrival they acknowledged that they failed to pick me up, but no one seemed able to provide any explanation. When I pressed different members of the staff, their English language skills seemed to disappear. Their only offer was to give me a free ride back to the airport.
I quickly tried to put this incident behind me, and checked in. As they were leading me to my room, they commented that I would need to switch rooms the following day (I was booked for 3 nights total). They never provided any explanation, although it seemed clear that they have a rather relaxed definition of reservations, and it apparently doesn't mean that you're reserving the same room for all the nights, simply that you'll get a room. Again, I tried to ignore this customer service quirk, and moved on with my life.
However, that night, is when everything quickly spiralled out of control. Their website & emails very casually mention that if you're a light sleeper, you should request a room "facing the courtyard", as there's a nightclub near by which blasts loud music until quite late. The sad reality, is that this very same nightclub also has a restaurant, whose staff uses the courtyard as a break area, until quite late at night. To add insult to injury, the music from the nightclub is very loud, and quite noticeable in every room facing the courtyard. And all of thise noise persists until 3 or 4AM (or at least did for the nights while I was there). However, I'm getting ahead of myself. When the "thumpa thumpa" music was going at full blast around 9PM, I walked down to the lobby to inquire if they could perhaps move me to a different room where the noise wasn't audible. I was told that they had no other free rooms, and the music would stop around 10PM. Very politely I thanked them, and went back to my room. While 10PM wasn't ideal, I was quite willing to tolerate the noise for another hour, if it meant that I'd have relative peace for the rest of the night. However, 10PM came & went, and, if anything, the noise only got louder. I returned to the lobby to complain, and was given the run around. First the person who I spoke to didn't seem to understand any English. He passed me off to a different woman & the manager, both of which had somewhat better English skills, but not great by any means. They tried to convince me to walk over to the nightclub to talk with them about the noise. This request was beyond surreal. Why should I have to try to communicate with the nightclub about their noise problems? If the hostal management isn't able or willing to address the problem with their neighbors, it shouldn't fall upon me to do so. At that point, the manager seemed to phone the night club to request that they turn down the music. She said that they agreed to do so, however as the remainder of the night proved, nothing changed or improved. I got very little sleep that night, and what I did get was repeatedly interrupted by the music, screaming and noise from the restaurant and nightclub across the courtyard.
The following morning I was moved to a different room (which also faced the same courtyard), and the manager commented that it would be quieter that night, as the nightclub wasn't open that night. It seemed odd to me why a nightclub would be closed on a Thursday night when it was open the night before, but I held out hope that she was being honest with me. Of course this was not to be, and I suffered through a 2nd night of loud music, running nearly until 5AM.
For my 3rd, and final night they moved me again to a different room, however this one faced the street rather than the courtyard. While there was quite a bit of street noise (people talking, traffic, etc), compared to the noise from the night club, it was heavenly. I actually managed to sleep reasonably well.
If they didn't have noise problems, or customer service issues, I would have likely been quite pleased. The rooms were clean & comfortable. The free breakfast was quite nice. The free wifi worked reliably (if a bit on the slow side). And the location is awesome, less than a block off the Plaza de Armas.
However in the end, the horrific noise problems are a deal breaker as far as I'm concerned. While I realize that the noise is basically out of their control, their lack of honesty is the real issue.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- We're located only 10 footsteps from the Plaza de Armas in the pedestrian Calle del Medio, the street connecting the Plaza de Armas with the Plaza del Regocijo. Included in our rate: airport pick up, American breakfast, Wi-Fi, use of 2 desktop computers, classic/adventure/alternative/off the beaten track trips information, oxygen in case of problems with the altitude, hot water 24 hours a day, fresh towels & bathroom amenities every day, colour cable TV with 100 national & international channels and much more. ... more less
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