The first week of the Easter holidays, Paola and two of her friends set off on a 5 day road trip, taking in Guanajuato and Zacatecas. Paola had planned the vacation thoroughly, booking accommodation and bus tickets, and chose for her stay in Guanjuato the Estación Esperanza Youth Hostel. This post is the story of her stay. A review, if you like. And not a good one!
Booking the place had been a little troublesome to start with, but the photos of the place on the website she visited looked nice, so she persisted. And succeeded, and the 600 peso deposit for the entire 6 bed dorm room was duly paid. At the agreed time on the agreed date, Paola and amigas turned up to take up occupancy of their room. And that’s where things started to go wrong.
They knocked. Called out. Whistled. No one came. They did find a woman in the kitchen, rather unkempt and smelling fairly unwashed. Eventually the hostel manager appeared. Also appearing unkempt and smelling less than fresh. With a bit of a marijuana hum to him. The latter not being in principle a problem – each to their own. So long as the person isn’t so stoned it interferes with their ability to work in a professional manner. Not that any real judgement can be made to be fair, but the odour and what happened subsequently does leave one with a certain impression.
Was their room ready? “Have a seat! Relax! Have a beer!” was the reply. Ok. But….so….is the room ready? “It’ll be ready in just 20 minutes, I’m just about to clean it!” Now, I’m going to cut the story of the next hour/hour and a half short. What followed was a bunch of excuses whilst Paola and amigas sat in the lobby/lounge area. Which, aside from the ’20 minutes more’ line a few times more included: “We’re hippies here, you see!’, “The problem is the girls who were in there last night haven’t taken their bags out yet”, “Yes, I could remove them I suppose”, “They’ll be back soon”, “No, I can’t really remove them”, “I’m just going to clean your room right now!”, “Relax, have a beer, chill out, we’re all hippies here”, “I want to be your friends” (They just wanted a room and a shower), “Let me go clean your room – 20 minutes more!”
At the end of each excuse the chap would scurry off, only to reappear at a doorway a moment later to have another cigarette. A special one, or a normal one – who knows! In the end one of the amigas went up and had a look at the room – cramped and dirty as hell. The mattresses were sheet thin and served as an aromatic and artistic record of every person to have slept on it since it was last cleaned. If ever. The guy did have a bucket of black water ready to clean it. Were there actually any girls bags in there causing a problem? That, to my knowledge, was never established.
The girls, unsurprisingly, became annoyed and the chap thought carefully for a moment or three before announcing three options. They can wait. Or they can have a beer and chill out. Or they could leave and find a new place. The latter option was tempting, but would there be any rooms available elsewhere? Two set off to see what they could find, and returned shortly afterward with good news – there was another place just down the road, and they’d booked in there.
So, they took the ‘you can just leave and find a new place option’ and informed the hostel manager. And requested their deposit back. Which was entirely fair enough. They’d booked the room. It wasn’t available to them. The guy must return the deposit. He agreed, but returned a few moments later, to declare that he had to ‘penalise’ them and would return only half the deposit. That’s what I personally call robbery. If you can’t provide the goods or service, you don’t take payment for it. Of all the complaints the girls had, this is the numero uno gripe.
They found the hostel on HostelsClub.com, and it does have three very good reviews. Which he boasted about, and which, to me, look suspiciously similar. Estupendo, agradable, recomendable 100% all featured more than once, and all three reviews were posted recently. We will be adding a review to reflect Paola’s experience shortly! In summary, the place had a nice lounge area, which was as the photos on the website suggested it would be. The photos of the rest of the hotel much less so. Unhygienic staff offering an unprofessional service. Dirty looking rooms. Thieving refund policy regards deposits made in good faith.
The place that the girls did eventually stay at, Hostal del Campanero, was clean, professionally run and they had no complaints whatsoever. That would be their recommendation if you are staying in Guanajuato. The photo below is one of the very, very few they have from the place, as they waited in the lounge area.