Updated in 2021! Hostel Old Plovdiv has earned its reputation as Bulgaria's best hostel.
I fell in love with Hostel Old Plovdiv long before I ever went to Bulgaria. A glowing review from a friend piqued my curiosity and I couldn't read enough about this restored historic property with beautiful murals (some over 100 years old!) restored four-poster antique beds for the guests, and a common room that looks like an aristocrat's library. There was no contest - I could tell this was the place for me!
But once I arrived, I struggled with what I should write. It's so unique, it almost falls into the category of "you have to see it to believe it". But then I realized that what I loved best were the little touches, the things that any other hostel could do but rarely does. Phenomenal hostels are all one of a kind properties but they also all have a few things in common - things like this:
Directions you can actually follow
Hostel Old Plovdiv gives clear, concise directions to their location. It is such a relief to know where you're going and how long it will take when catching a strange bus in a strange city. 9 minutes, exactly 5 stops, the 5th stop is after the tunnel, with pictures to back it all up - this is the kind of reassurance you need after an 8 hour trip across the border!
And a YouTube video showing the last final steps of the journey? Genius. So many hostels are in ‘interesting’ locations that include a hidden path or a maze of cobblestones – it’s nice to know you’re heading in the right direction.
A welcome you can feel - and see
Seeing a welcome sign with my name on it after an all-day journey is a sight for sore eyes. But there’s more to it than just putting pen to paper. The staff know who to expect and their when they heard my name; there was an instant smile of recognition.
And I bet that the signs act as a kind of organizational tool, a final confirmation that beds and people are organized. It’s a breath of fresh air when I consider how many times I’ve stood sweating in a hostel lobby while disorganized staff search the register for my name for the third time.
Private rooms that are actually PRETTY!
When I stepped into my private room at Hostel Old Plovdiv, it felt like I was in a French bed and breakfast. A bouquet of dried lavender on my pillow, a narrow band of cotton lace at the bottom of the curtains, a crocheted doily under the lamp – I bet they spent less than $5 on all these sweet touches but they made me feel like a million bucks.
Private rooms can be a hard sell for hostels when you consider the competition from third party booking sites offering cut rate hotel rooms. But with a few simple touches, you can give your guests a memorable experience that a regular hotel just can't hold a candle too. It’s crazy that more hostels aren’t doing this.
A REAL breakfast
I will never understand hostels that offer up weak coffee and stale bread and call it ‘breakfast’. They are only hurting themselves by disappointing one traveler after another. If you’re going to offer breakfast, make it worthwhile. Make it something people can brag about! You’ll more than recoup the small additional expenditure.
At Hostel Old Plovdiv, breakfast included bread, cereal, fruit, 2 kinds of cheese, 4 kinds of meats, vegetables, olives, juice, and espresso. (And the exposed Roman wall in the dining room only made the meal even more special!)
Sweet hostel, sweet dreams
It goes without saying the Hostel Old Plovdiv has all the hostel basics covered - clean bathrooms, clean beds, fresh sheets, complimentary towels, decent free Wi-Fi, and friendly, helpful staff. And the value is fantastic- my private room with two beds cost just 38 Euros with breakfast included. Regular dorm beds ring in at just 13 Euros - a pretty good bargain in my books.
Plovidv is one location that lived up to all the hype and Hostel Old Plovidv did not disappoint. It stands out as one of the best hostels I've ever enjoyed and I think everyone, from backpackers to professionals, to travelling couples, to seniors, would love staying here too!
Don't just take my word for it: You can read more reviews here.
You can see current rates and availability here.
I'd love to hear from you! What's the best property you've ever slept in?
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