Without a doubt, Podstel in Bucharest is one of the better places I’ve stayed throughout my travels. Why? It’s a hostel run by travelers, for other travelers. These people know what backpackers want, they know what makes a good hostel, and they deliver.
The hostel actually has quite a cool story of its founding—described on the wall near reception. The owners have put a lot of time into creating a successful place. Without further ado, here’s my full review of the hostel!
Location: Podstel is in a nice location in a quiet, residential neighborhood outside of Bucharest’s “Old Town” but still within the city center. It was within walking distance (15-20 min) of Old Town and most of Bucharest’s main attractions. There’s a Metro station at the main square less than 10 minutes away.
Room: I stayed in a 6-bed dorm room for my 3 nights in Bucharest. The room was nice and had a big window that opened up on the garden. There were small lockers for my valuables (although not large enough for my big backpack). Each bed had individual plug sockets and reading lights, which is one of my favorite things EVER. The room also had a fan (!!!), which was a true lifesaver in Romania in August. They also have dorm room with air conditioning, which I highly recommend looking into if you’re visiting Romania in the height of summer.
Price: I paid 14€ (~£12.40 // $16.70) per night for my 6-bed dorm room. This wasn’t the cheapest option for hostels in Bucharest, but I felt the value for the price was quite good, considering how much Podstel offers its guests. Prices start at about 11€ (~£9.75 // $13.15) per night for dorm rooms.
Bathrooms: The toilets on ground floor were very, very small—it was a bit of a squeeze to use them. Besides being cramped though, they were cleaned regularly and there was nothing wrong with them. The hostel made up for it with another giant bathroom, with a toilet and 2 showers, and another separate shower room as well.
Staff: The staff at Podstel are really what set the hostel apart—they’re friendly and really knowledgeable about the area. They were really helpful in trying to book a tour for the Palace of Parliament for us (even though they never were able to get through), and helped us get our bus tickets to our next stop (Varna, Bulgaria). They also remembered Adam by face the minute he got through the door, 6 months after his last stay of 3 nights in February. I think that says a lot about how much the staff care about their guests! They are also clearly travelers/backpackers themselves, and know what travelers want in a hostel.
Common Areas: This is another area where Podstel really excelled. There are lots of common areas, and with the social, laid-back atmosphere and community feeling, I know this would be a great place to meet people if I was traveling solo! There’s a common room near reception, and a fully-equipped kitchen. But the best part is the teahouse and large garden outside. There’s a whole space for events (such as live music), and a huge seating area with comfy cushions and pillows. It was perfect for relaxing and hanging out after a busy day of exploring.
Amenities: There’s wifi that worked fine throughout the hostel, in the garden/teahouse as well. They also do activities for everyone at the hostel almost every night, including family meals (which I missed out on but would love to do next time!). I also didn’t have any problems printing bus tickets (just 1 lei per page) at the hostel, which is always appreciated. They had a fan in our room which made the heat much more bearable, and they also have a dorm with air conditioning.
Security: Although Podstel has a pretty relaxed atmosphere, security was really good here and I felt very safe. There is key code security to get into your dorm room (don’t worry about losing any keys!), and reception is open until late in the evenings. After reception is closed, there’s a key code to get into the hostel at night. The neighborhood was residential and quiet at night. They also have small lockers in the dorm rooms for valuables.
Verdict: Would I return? Absolutely. This is one of the better hostels I’ve ever stayed at, and is clearly run by travelers for other travelers. Staying here was like a breath of fresh air! It has a strong sense of community and amazing staff members who go out of their way to make people feel welcome. The teahouse and garden are a huge bonus. I would jump at the chance to stay here again, and I highly recommend Podstel Hostel to anyone visiting Bucharest! You can visit their website here.
Do you like staying in hostels? What types of accommodation do you prefer?
I was not compensated in any way by this hostel—my opinions are always my own.