Alcazaba Premium Hostel, Malaga

I stayed in this hostel for one night last November. If you read yesterday’s post, Foodie Friday – El Pimpi Malaga, you will know that it was very close by. In fact this hostel, although I have a very mixed review to give, is in a perfect location to see many of the top attractions in Malaga.

Within 400 metres of the hostel you will find Malaga Cathedral, Alcazaba, the Picasso Museum and La Adunana Palace to name just a few of the places you may wish to visit. And of,course, El Pimpi is just 2 minutes walk away if you want a great eating experience. However, it has a very strange mix of good and bad points.

The Dorm

As I already mentioned, the location is excellent, it is spotlessly clean, there are very comfortable mattresses and the bunks do not squeak or move, which is always a big plus when there are people sleeping above you. There are very large lockers under the beds that would hold a carry on bag or backpack and lots more besides. There are also some other smaller lockers for which you are given a key, if you want to store your valuables. However, I found the small lockers very difficult to lock and unlock so the under bed lockers are possibly safer if you have a good padlock with you. There are good tightly closing windows in the rooms with shutters both inside and out but they rattle a lot if they aren’t closed properly (there were some on the floor above me rattling all night).

Lockers and shutters

There are no individual lights within the bunks and in the dorm I was in there were only 4 electrical sockets so it makes it difficult for people to safely leave their phones on charge and means you cannot use your phone while it is plugged in if you are lying on your bed. No privacy curtains either although I knew that before I went.

Also, and I thought this was really weird, there were no blankets or duvets on the bed, only a sheet. I could understand if it were summer but this was November and freezing! I went to reception and asked for a blanket which was given to me without hesitation. The guy was very pleasant and also offered to turn the heat on in the room but he set it to 26 degrees! Utter madness to waste all that energy instead of having warm bedding. Then, during the night I had to go down and ask them to lower the heat, I was par-boiled.

Interestingly, I met someone recently in another hostel who had stayed there in December and his story was the exact same as mine, I think they need to pay attention to their reviews.

Only a sheet on the bed

The Ensuite Bathroom

My dorm had an ensuite bathroom but for 10 people I do not consider this to be enough and the water pressure was very poor. The toilet is in the bathroom, rather than separate, so too bad if you are in a hurry. I did look but couldn’t find any other toilets on the floor although there was one two floors down in the communal lounge. Thankfully there was one socket for a hairdryer but then, on the other hand, this means people spend even more time in the bathroom. I am really not a fan of ensuite bathrooms in dorms, I much prefer the shower block type set up and separate toilets

The bathroom

The Entrance and Stairs

As well as the dorm starting off very cold the rest of the place was freezing! The doors into the building are left open all day and possibly all night (I went down to reception at around 3am and the doors were wide open). This meant that the wind was howling up the stairwell. I was on the 3rd floor and when coming down the stairs with a shawl wrapped around my shoulders it actually blew off! Another problem was that just outside the door to my dorm there was a balcony looking down into the communal area so that didn’t help with the cold.

There is a roof top restaurant but it is open to the public so people off the street are coming and going up the stairs all the time. I don’t like this. One of the reasons I stay in hostels is for the security they normally offer, usually they will either have a key card to let yourself in or you will have to buzz to get in, and often key cards are required to move from one areas to another. There was a security guard on duty on the door at night though.

While I am talking about the entrance and stairs, I’ll just mention that there is an elevator/lift and also disabled facilities for entering the building.

The entrance and stairs

The Communal Area and Kitchen

Now, a bit about the communal area. There is a ‘kitchen’ BUT no sink, no running water, no grill, no hob, no oven, no pots and pans. OK if you want to live on Pot Noodle I suppose. And the freezer had several inches of dirty ice inside.

There are some comfortable chairs and sofas though and a couple of computers for the use of guests. And there was a bit of a party going on when I popped in before bed so it was good to see some of the guests socialising.

The communal area

The Reception

The reception area is small and on the ground floor, completely separate from guests, so there is no chance of the staff interacting with the guests which is a shame. In a good hostel it is often the staff that create the atmosphere. I have even been in hostels that employ someone specifically to be a host to the guests and generate a bit of conversation among people.

And now the really good bits

Bet you thought I would never get to the good bits!

The Restaurant, The Roof Terrace, and The Views

It’s all about the location, the rooftop terrace and the views. There is a restaurant on the top floor, a very large restaurant actually, but I didn’t eat there so I cannot comment on the food. It is beautifully decorated with access out to the roof terrace, which is on two levels. When I was there the upper level was closed off, that may have been due to the high winds. I’ll let the photographs speak for themselves.

Breakfast was not included in the room rate but was available for €5.00 at the time of my visit. I did have a quick look but didn’t feel it was worth €5.00 so I went out for breakfast.

The restaurant and roof terrace

The view

This is the view of the hostel from the street, it is the building with the lights up on the roof.

My conclusion

So, that’s about all I can tell you about my stay. I should mention though that there are private rooms, including some family rooms and I do feel that the concept of the hostel is more geared towards private room stays. I have found this in a couple of places that I have stayed recently, I do wonder if the dorms are put in as a sort of after thought, just to squeeze in a few more people. It’s not really the sort of hostel that I look for. I enjoy a hostel with more of a traveller vibe and more social interaction. You may think that it’s up to the guests themselves to create that but I have found that layout, staff, and even the lighting can make the difference between a social hostel and a place to simply sleep.

I would love to hear if you have ever stayed in a hostel and how you found it. Please share your experiences and maybe we can get a bit of a conversation going.

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