Saturday, February 23, 2013

XIAMEN: 01 - XiaMen International Youth Hostel

What I normally do now is go to Hostelworld and filter the guesthouses by ranking, and Xiamen International Youth Hostel had some serious backing from the online community, so I just went with the flow and booked. Good decision, although the first impression was a bit weird, maybe because of the creepy facade? The hostel is a three-story (or four?) house that resembles those old family homes in the province, from the gate all the way to the steps leading down the main foyer. Or as a new friend would put it: “quaint”. It does look old, but of course you have to wait until you get inside.

What greets you is a pair of parasols attached to their own tables surrounded by some wooden chairs, which are just perfect for a lazy afternoon. If you want a more indoor feel, the mini resto area is just next to it, enclosed in glass and with power sockets aplenty. If you order food from the in-house restaurant, you also dine in that mini glass house. The reception is just a few steps away, with friendly staff and information overload on what to see not just in Xiamen, but also in some nearby locations in Fujian. I booked my Hakka Tulou tour through reception. Convenient. They also sell drinks and some basic toiletries just in case you forget to bring some. They also serve food, served gourmet style and a bit pricy.

I booked dorm-type accommodation, which meant sharing the room with three other people. The room was a bit cramped, and the other guests had this strange behavior of using the double lock. Like, hello, you are in a dorm, not a private room. The door lock would suffice! The doors open via a key card, by the way. You get a locker, the letter of which corresponds with that of your bed. The lockers have their own locks, and you will find the mattress and blanket for your bed inside. The bunk has its own light, a mini wooden counter, and a power socket. The bathroom is shared but it was clean. In fact, that is what I like most about this hostel. The cleaning ladies always come in at around 11 AM every day without fail. I guess the caveat would be the toilet being separate from the shower, and by “separate” I mean you have to parade yourself at the hallway and go all the way to the other wing (yes, even passing by the staircase) just to get from one to the other. Other than that, all good!

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