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“I would rather sleep in a cardboard box.”

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Orient Express Hostel
Ranked #69 of 143 Speciality Lodging in Sofia
Reviewed 20 April 2010

Upon arriving to the Orient Express Hostel we were led, as expected, to our PRIVATE apartment. We were brought down the street to a separate building.Next it was up four flights of stairs. These stairs were just the begining. Outside the window was a pile of garbage, but not like to be picked up on garbage day. Big dirty items that probably have been sitting there forever. Broken windows. Creepy hallway. Got to our door... when let in we were greeted with a FILTHY kitchen. There was still toast in the toaster. Old papers strewn about. Food all over the table. Yuck. Also, they had not cleaned the room yet. To our suprise, the apartment was two bedroom. And also to our suprise there were bags and clothes in the other room. The woman who brought us the the apartment then handed us her cell phone to speak with the manager. She explained that there was an older Italian man who showed up and is staying in that room. She assured us he should leave, but they don't know how to tell him. Hmm. Seems if you run a hostel you should be pretty apt at telling people when to go. Also, there was no Wi-Fi as promised. As my sister is a student, she needed the internet to complete her homework. It was the reason we choose the hostel in the first place. The reason we lugged our laptop across country borders. The dirty room, the extra person, the creepy building, the lack of internet... My sister and I decided to go talk to the manager face to face. We then brought all our bags over to the main hostel, up those four flights of stairs, and into the "office". We walked in without being greeted, just blank stare from all the people. We had to ask if they worked there, because they were unfriendly as can be. We explained we did not get what we booked and we would like to leave. The woman shot back with snotty remarks the entire time. I am a very calm, accepting person and let me just tell you, I have NEVER walked out on a reservation before, never even THOUGHT about it. I have stayed in hostels from London to Bangkok to Tokyo to Guatemala City and back again. I always have gotten what I booked. She did not understand how saying one thing and providing a completely different senario is NOT how a hostel should would. I think she figures it is a hostel, so people will be OK if it is a dump. Oh yes, a dump. The main hostel: crowded, tiny, DIRTY. I think it is someone's apartment and they just rent out the rooms. I will give it one plus, the location is pretty good. But then again, Sofia is small. Everyone's location is good. Back to this woman. She would make remarks such as, "Have you ever stayed in a hostel in your life?". Yes, I have ma'am... and I've always goten what I've booked. I've always been satisfied. I've always felt safe. 12 bed dorm in Amsterdam, I get a 12 bed dorm in Amsterdam. Private Ensuite in Siem Reap, I get a private ensuite in Siem Reap. She persuaded us to stay stating there is nowhere else to go, it is Easter weekend. Everthing is booked. But also said in a way that she could care less if us girls (the way she said girls made me cringe) left. She was so rude I was near tears. Actually no, I did shed a tear after she left the room. After some more snotty remarks from this woman (and after her abruptly exiting the hostel, leaving us with no English speaking staff), we decided to give it a night and then move the next day. Well, when we got back to the apartment the woman looked around at the filth and asked "you want mop?"... we exchagned confused looks... is this woman offering to mop or offering to bring us one to mop up after the previous guests. It was the latter. Ew. She left us there, first without a key since the Italian man had the key. So we were stuck. While stranded in the apartment we really looked around and saw how dirty the beds were, the sheets were, the blankets, the floor, the bathroom. We thought it be best to call the 30-odd euro as lost and move ourselves somewhere else. Once we were offered a key (but only after leaving a deposit) we walked out, walked into the first decent looking place we saw, asked for a room, were given a great deal with a even better breakfast, found ourselves with clean beds, clean bathroom, smiles on our faces. It was then back to the hostel to say "bye-bye". Some more snotty remarks, and a trip up to the apartment to fetch our luggage (in which the man was taking a shower) and we wer free of this horrid place. I would NEVER reccomend this place to anyone. No matter your budget, look elsewhere. Stay at Hostel Mostel. We were not able to, for they were all booked, but we did take a tour with them. Hostel Mostel has an amazing staff, lovely lounge, and everyone who was staying there RAVED about the place. My regret on the trip is not taking them up on there 8 person dorm and opting for the "private" apartment at Orient Express.

  • Stayed: April 2010, travelled with friends
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5  Thank CurryKit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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21 - 27 of 30 reviews

Reviewed 2 March 2010

My first impression was that the internet pictures look much better than the hostel does in real life, but the first night for 10 euros the owner served us a traditional Bulgarian Orthodox Christmas Eve meal, which was very nice and very much appreciated.

The first night there was heat, but the second night it was freezing, so I asked for a heater for the room. The owner told me she would see about getting one but never did. She told me to use the blankets from the other bed. It took forever to get warm. This was during the Christmas break, and the nights were cold. When I got back home, I later developed a lingering illness which my doctor said could well have developed because of the freezing room I was in.. This was an awful experience.

Also, the room had a washing machine in it which was used by staff during the day when I was out, and I did not care for this setup. (The washer in the room was not shown in the internet picture.) I also had to ask for a reading lamp. I attached the lamp to a chair that I used as a night stand!

The saving graces of this hostel experience were a wonderful staff person who was so kind and intelligent and some friendly guests with whom I toured Sofia. The location was great because most of the sites I wanted to visit were within 15 minutes walking distance.
The shower did not have a compartment; there was only a hand held shower and a drain.

I would never again stay at this hostel.

  • Stayed: December 2009, travelled solo
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1  Thank Traveling35
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 November 2017
Google Translation

  • Stayed: November 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Giulia S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 December 2016 via mobile
Google Translation

Stayed: December 2016, travelled with friends
Thank Ste C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 October 2016
Google Translation

  • Stayed: October 2016, travelled with friends
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank Mai O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 April 2016
Google Translation

  • Stayed: April 2016, travelled with friends
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank 926reisender
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 August 2015
Google Translation

Stayed: August 2015
Thank Cindy v
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Orient Express Hostel

Address: 2, Balkan Street, Sofia 1000, Bulgaria
Region: Bulgaria > Sofia Region > Sofia > Serdica
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly )
Hotel Style:
Ranked #69 of 143 Speciality Lodging in Sofia
Price Range: £9 - £33 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2 star — Orient Express Hostel 2*
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Our 3-store house in the center has 9 rooms, 3 kitchenettes,7 bathrooms, 2 common spaces, BBQ area in the garden from May-September. We offer variety of rooms to suit every situation: Singles, Doubles, Triples, Quadruple, Private rooms and dormitories. We also have apartments for 2, 4, 6 and 8 people. Our rooms are sunny and spacious, all with wooden flooring,TV with 70+ international channels, new beds with orthopedic comfortable mattresses, TV in each room and designer bathrooms.Free Wi-Fi and Internet access. ... more   less 
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