That Time I Revoked a Good Review

I’d like to think I’ve been pretty damn fair when reviewing hostels and hotels on here…

Indeed I’d say the majority of reviews that I’ve written so far have been quite complimentary – rightly so, as I have in the main been pretty fortunate to stay in some nice places that have met most of my needs when on the road.

And that’s why I’ve felt the need to clamber up onto my (virtual) soapbox and have a right rant about how a previously pretty exemplary accommodation option has decided to start letting itself go, quite frankly, completely down the drain.

It’s particularly irked me as it’s literally only a few months ago that I wrote up a very glowing review about this hostel, so I went back there expecting a pleasant and enjoyable visit like I had become accustomed to, yet I’ve ended up wanting to write this to A) pre-warn other potential visitors and B) correct the mistakes I’d obviously made in writing a positive review of it!

So which place is the target of my ire? Well come on down, Hello BCN Hostel in Barcelona!

Hostel reception from the computers

Hostel reception from the computers

Like I say it was only in June that I got round to writing up a great review of the hostel after a few great stays previously (it will be updated now of course). Yet it turns out that minor issues that I’d previously picked up on haven’t just been ignored, but completely disregarded as any kind of ongoing concern!

Seriously guys, I don’t expect to return a whole year after my previous visit just to find the place in the worst condition I’ve ever seen it, and no attempts at all made to do anything about it! Best I elaborate hey…

Number one

Sure, when you have computers available for guests to freely use there’s gonna be plenty of wear and tear – they were in use fairly constantly, so it’s understandable.

However, what’s not good enough is when one computer/monitor is to all extents and purposes useless… And still is over a year later!

With a knackered screen, barely functioning keyboard and super slooooooooww hardware it’s really time to put this piece of technology out to pasture. Just like it was in, er summer 2012!

In all fairness it’s not even something that needs replacing – there’s still three computers available for use, and I imagine 95% of guests arrive with a smartphone or other web browser that can make use of the WiFi. But just leaving a completely shoddy bit of kit lying around for that long and irritating any unaware guest that tries to use it just makes it seem like the management doesn’t give a cr*p about the place.

So you know, sort it out maybe?

Number two

My stay in 2012 just happened to be during the height of the European heat-wave. It was seriously baking, so retreating to the air-conditioned dorm rooms to cool off was a very welcome respite.

And this time around the mercury just happened to be pretty damn high too, touching 30 degrees on at least a few occasions.

So I was pretty damn frustrated to find the air-conditioning in my room not put on ONCE during my stay there – despite the hostel’s policy (which is written in every dorm) being to switch it on between 10am & 10pm. What the honest heck?!

I’ve already mentioned how the bathrooms can be a little clammy there, but at least I could expect to finish cooling off post-shower in a conditioned dorm. Instead this time around I just had to enjoy baking my balls off whilst I tried to dress myself. Because I love working up a sweat again immediately after a shower.

Of course I figured I’d got unlucky and the air con was broken in my room. Which you’d expect to be fixed, but I guess it does happen. But after returning roasting from my trip around Montjuic I figured I’d just, on the-off chance, ask if they were able to turn it on.

“Sure, no problem. What’s your room number?”

And lo and behold – nice cool dorm! Not impressed…

I don’t know if this was an example of penny pinching or plain useless staff, but it’s really not on during a sweltering late summer in Barcelona. Seriously not cool guys!

So don't expect air-con anymore.

So don’t expect air-con anymore.

Number three

The shower cubicles in the hostel had previously been decent. Small yes, but pretty clean and worked well.

I remembered last time though that one of the sliding doors was broken off – I happened to be staying on the same floor this time around – but no biggie, you figure that will be sorted soon.

Except I returned this year to find that same shower door still ruined!

This really shouldn’t have been a problem at all, just stick up a shower curtain rail and it’s easily sorted (heck, do that for all the cubicles, they’re cheaper and function just as well – unless you get a really stupid guest).

Instead it had just been left like that for over a year. Just like you’d do in your own house right? Er, wrong!

It’s a pretty poor example to set, and if the hostel management are just going to neglect their own property then you can’t really complain when less civilised guests treat it as so.

So it’s safe to say the bathrooms of Hello BCN have gone seriously downhill. From a bit clammy, to now rather neglected. Oh but wait, there’s more…

Number four

Now granted, I didn’t see this one myself. But if I’m not the only guest during my stay noticing rather nasty aspects then that should be a big frickin’ clue that the place needs sorting.

And when that guest mentions yellowish dampness/mould in the shower they happened to be using, then I expect to hear a big siren going off in the management’s head that their bathrooms need a bit of work.

That’s two aspects I’ve now mentioned that both happened to be in the rooms you’d like to be kept as clean as humanly possible, considering the stuff that goes on in them. Not be allowed to deteriorate to the level that a guest sees some pretty unhygienic sights.

I can’t really get my head around why this was allowed to happen either, considering that the cleaners generally seemed to be pretty on it. Safe to say however that I’m very relieved I didn’t have to deal with that particular bathroom.

Summing up

I don’t know if it’s cool or “the done thing” that I’ve vented my spleen like this and pretty much given a slating to a popular backpacking accommodation option. But when I’ve previously put my neck out on my little corner of the Internet (even if it is a very small one admittedly) and given it a fairly glowing recommendation then it’s safe to say that I’m quite ticked off at returning to find it going majorly downhill. Especially when it’s getting more expensive too!

Whilst I expect to see wear and tear happening to the building and it’s utilities over time, I don’t expect to see parts left in disrepair for over a year. Particularly things that wouldn’t be too difficult to fix or replace. Sadly with sights like that, along with the hostel now not adhering to it’s own policies, consider my previously glowing review well and truly revoked.

Very disappointing.

Have you stayed at Hello BCN in recent months? Let me know your thoughts?

7 responses to “That Time I Revoked a Good Review

  1. The air con thing seems to be quite common sadly. Stayed in a few hostels where they set timers or leave it off until you ask for it to be turned on. Problem being that I’m English and dont want to ask or put anyone out by doing so. Penny pinching is the only thing it can be right?

    • Probably yeah, but no excuse for it though is there? Especially during some seriously hot days – it’s just plain out of order tbh when you’ve paid up front. Like I say though I’m particularly irked because the hostel had never been anywhere near this bad on my previous visits.

    • No worries. I didn’t feel right having a really positive review of the place on my site after how disappointing my recent stay turned out to be. I think my annoyance came through too!

      • Exactly, I know how you feel. You want to be honest with your readers, but at the same time, sometimes things change after you have done a review. For this most recent review, did you stay there for free? Did you share your review with the hostel?

        • Nah, I’m not in the business of blagging free stays or anything like that. I will be letting them know though yes, I shared the good review with them, so it’s only right that I share the negatives too.

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