Living in a hostel in Quito

We have been living at the Traveller’s Inn for over a week now and plan to stay until Wednesday. This is our first time in a hostel and we didn’t really know what to expect. We selected this particular hostel mainly based on reviews we read online. It is by no means the cheapest accommodation around, but we hoped paying a little more would mean we would get a little more.  In the Marsical Sucre district of Quito where we are staying (also known as gringo land), hostel rates start at $8 (US) per night per person for a bed in a dorm room with shared bathroom. Usually breakfast is included.

We reserved one week in advance at this hostel through HostelWorld and opted for the matrimonial room (double bed) with shared bath. We thought of it like camping only a little better as we would have an actual roof over our heads. The cost: $11 each per night, including breakfast.

The Traveller’s Inn is a large, old colonial home with hard wood floors, 10 foot ceilings, and simple decor. It is a family run operation. This place is spotless. The wood floor on the main level is polished, yes polished, twice daily. The shared bathrooms are scrubbed top to bottom several times a day. I think the family lives somewhere on the premises and shares the same common spaces.  In many ways it feels more like a bed and breakfast.

On the main floor, there is an office, a living room with TV and large selection of American DVD’s, dining room, kitchen and another sitting area. There are guest rooms on this floor, upstairs, and in the basement. The basement also has a common area with two computers for guests. In addition, there is another building out back where the laundry is located and 4 more rooms that share a single bathroom. We had one of these rooms assigned to us when we arrived.

Our first room was very small – it had a double bed pushed against one wall, a large built in closet next to the bed (only one person could stand in between the closet and the bed at one time), a tiny table at the end of the bed with an old TV on it. On the positive, the bathroom was literally right next door – very convenient even though you had to go outside to use it. Oh, and the room had a mysterious, funky smell to it. And the bed and pillows were as hard as cement. I kid you not. We lasted three nights in this room until we decided enough was enough, we needed more comfort, more space and less stink.

Last Sunday, Chris talked to the owner and got us what is probably the best room(s) in the house for only $8 more a night ($30 for both of us). Thank goodness we changed rooms as two days later Chris got very sick and it would have been unbearable for him (and me) in that little, damp room in the backyard.­

We are now on the top floor of the house. We have the whole floor to ourselves. It is comprised of two bedrooms (sleeps a total of 4), a private bathroom, walk-in closet, a lovely balcony, and views of the mountains through most of the windows and from the balcony. Way more space than we need, but we’re enjoying every inch of it. The ceilings are high, maybe 10 or 12 feet, and wood shelves from floor to ceiling adorn every wall. It must have been a library at one time. Oh, and we have wifi access in our room. Most rooms don’t have wifi – it’s only in the common areas. Again, this turned into a big plus seeing as Chris has been sick and bedridden for the past three days. On the negative, because the room faces the street, it is very, very noisy. Earplugs are a must!

 

 

 

 

 

Breakfast is served between 7:30 and 9:30 am. Each morning, we go down to the dining room and eat the exact same breakfast. Eggs, scrambled or fried, coffee or tea, croissant with a piece of cheese that sort of tastes like cream cheese, glass of yogurt, glass of fruit juice, and small plate of fruit. The fruit and the juice change each day, but everything else is the same.

 

 

 

 

It’s a big breakfast and keeps us going well into the afternoon. It was a great breakfast for the first few days, but now we are sick of this breakfast. I haven’t eaten so many eggs ever.  Note the eggs had not yet arrived when I took the photo to the right.

 

 

 

 

 

When we leave the hostel, we leave our key with the front desk. And whoever is manning the desk opens the three locked doors to let us out. Let’s just say they don’t take security lightly here.

 

 

 

 

 

There is a locked, iron gate at the street. You must ring a doorbell to get in.

 

 

 

Once inside the yard and once you have been identified as a guest, you are allowed through another locked gate at the top of the stairs, and then finally you enter the house through another locked door. The entire perimeter of the house is fenced and above the fence is about three feet of barbed wire. It feels like you’re in a compound once inside but I’m not complaining. I’m quite content to have multiple layers of security between me and whatever lurks beyond the fence, especially at night.

Happy hour is from 5-8 and you can buy a large Pilsner beer for a buck. They have snacks for purchase as well. We enjoyed happy hour for the first few nights, but now that Chris is sick, we’ve gone dry. We also spent a little bit of time in the common area in the evenings. Guests hang out here, with the family, watching TV (American shows, all English, with Spanish sub-titles) or American movies.

Overall, I’d say our experience thus far has been very positive.  The family that runs this place is very friendly, helpful, and caring of their guests. Most of them speak very good English. We love our current rooms (minus the noise).  We would definitely recommend this place, although I would not recommend staying in the first room we stayed in, that was just bad, very very bad.

We’ve learned some lessons from this experience:

1. Access to a kitchen would have made our lives so much easier, especially with Chris being sick. It would have been nice to make a cup of tea or coffee whenever you wanted one, or to be able to make some of your own food. I went to a grocery store and picked up non-perishable items (bread, fruit, snacks, etc.) that we could keep in our room. It helped, but a kitchen would have been better.

2. It’s worth spending a little extra for the private bathroom. Again, good thing we switched rooms before Chris got sick – he really used that bathroom, let me tell you.

3. Prices are always negotiable. We received a $6 per night discount because we stayed longer.  It never hurts to ask.

4. It pays to shop around. If Chris hadn’t gotten sick, we probably would have looked around a little more to see if we could find a better deal. As it turns out, there is a condo right across the street (you can see it in one of the photos above) that rents fully furnished, 1 bedroom apartments for $100/week. Oh well, we’ll know for next time.

5. It would be nice to have a comfortable chair to sit in and a desk to work at. While the beds are much more comfortable in the current room, there is nowhere to sit other than on the bed.  My back is start to object.

Category: Ecuador, South America
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4 Responses
  1. Jordan says:

    Hola tìo Chris y su tìa Christina! :)
    Espero que el tío Chris se siente mejor! haha well ive been reading every single one of the blogs and im really enjoying reading about Quito and good and not so good experiences! Since your room sleeps 4…..I’ll be there soon! :P haha well hope everything goes smoothly from here! I’ll keep reading! and your welcome for the spanish lesson for the day!
    have fuun!
    Su sobrino Jordan

    • christina says:

      Hola Jordan
      Tio Chris es muchos mejor. Hoy nosostros visitamos el museo de banco cultural. El museo es muy interesante. That’s what 16 hours of one-on-one spanish lessons results in. Considering I knew nothing when I started, not too bad, eh? I was wondering how many takers we would have on the extra beds :) Although you’d have to get here quick as we’re leaving on Wednesday to go to a cloudforest called Mindo. Should be pretty amazing scenery and wildlife – we’re anxious to get out of the noisy, congested, polluted city. The buses emit dark clouds of diesel exhaust and it is quite nauseating. Because Quito is nestled between two mountains, the pollution has no where to go so it settles. I feel I have a bit of asthma here, which I don’t normally have back home. Ah, the price one pays for living their dreams.
      Take care, stay out of trouble, study hard
      Auntie Christina

  2. Julie says:

    Hi guys,
    Glad to hear Chris is feeling better, glad everything is good. The photos are grand, I just love it. We have been keeping up wiht you guys, one of us always checks to see if there is something new. It’s fun for us too. Well the house is coming together, painted are the entrance, kitchen, dining room and living room including ceilings. Next guest bathroom, so I am keeping busy and still looking for work, but not looking too hard just yet, I have only been off a week.
    Looking forward to hearing more from “The Avdentures of Chris and Chris”.
    Take care,
    Julie oxox

  3. Catherine Appleby says:

    Hola Chris y Chris!
    Pero Chris tiene catarro! Que lastima! Que se mejore pronto!
    Sorry I hope Chris is feeling better, sorry that’s the extent of the Spanish that I remember from grade 9.
    Looking forward to reading about more of your adventures!!
    Take care,
    Lots of love,
    Catherine