January 27, 2012

Happy Days Hostel, Rome

Happy Days Hostel, Rome, is currently ranked nearly 70% on HostelBookers website. Located at  Via Cola di Rienzo 217, 5th floor, in 10 minutes walk from the Vatican City, it's a good option for non-fastidious budget travellers, who look only for the place to sleep at reasonable price. Although there are a few shortcomings to mention, Happy Days is now under new management and promises to improve its service.

Basically, the position is one of the top advantages of this hostel. Its location in close vicinity to Vatican City offers the possibility to be one of the first in line to the Vatican Museums (queues may be really large, so try to reach the museum at least couple of hours in advance before the opening time). Also the beautiful Castel St.Angelo, Vatican City, Piazza del Popolo are in the walking distance from the hostel. Actually, if you prefer to explore Rome by walking, like I did, you can use the hostel as a starting point for all your visits and to save money on public transport. If you prefer point-to-point travel, you can use the subway lines - the hostel is conveniently located close to Lepanto and Ottaviano metro stations. There are two small supermarkets on the street nearby, where you can buy food to cook yourself.
The hostel offers dorm rooms with 6 to 10 beds. To go in, you have to buzz, go to the top floor, and ring a bell. No keys, just your word that you are staying there. Be careful and count beds in your room when you are checking in. They tried to trick me in into the 10-bed room, while I paid for 7-bed one.  Prices per person are about 10-14 euros in the low season, 16-19 euros in spring, and they jump up to 30 euros in the high season. If you are an experienced backpacker, you may find the middle- and high-season prices rather high for the ascetic rooms they offer (just beds, some bedside-tables and bare floor, and no lockers). The common-used toilets and showers are in the hallway. Showers are ok, but rather old and not very clean, and their number may be not enough if the hostel is full. Plus you have to bring your own towels. If you are fastidious, you may not be very happy with that.

Beds are two-deck, and the second bed is rather high, most often without any steps, so if you are a middle-height girl, you may experience some difficulties with climbing up and down. The rooms are cleaned for couple of hours during the afternoon, so if you decide to take a day nap, you may be disturbed by a cleaning person. Basically, some people complain you are not allowed to stay at the hostel from 11 am to 5 pm at all. Indeed, at that time the hostel is empty, but if you need to come inside your room, you still can. If you arrive early and have to wait to check in, you can leave your things at the reception and have a shower. At long last, you are in Rome, guys, you can sleep and have a rest when you are home!:)
There is a common kitchen with basic facilities, if you can find time for cooking yourself. Continental breakfast is offered in the morning, however it should be purchased additionally (2 euros per person). Also there is a free Internet room, anyway the number of computers is sometimes not enough. The common room is always busy and animated during evenings, so you may chat with fellow travellers, have fun and make friends. 

The staff is young and rather helpful and friendly, so you can feel yourself relaxed and simply have a nice time without paying attention to unimportant trifles like beds or facilities in the room.

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