Madrid, Prague & Budapest hostels

This item appears on page 29 of the December 2010 issue.

Lois Sundeen asked readers to write in on hostels (June ’10, pg. 14).

While we usually stay in B&Bs or apartments when we travel, we discovered hostels two years ago in Prague and Budapest and this year stayed in one in Madrid. We have been very happy with these accommodations. All arrangements were made via e-mail.

Hostal Gonzalo (Calle Cervantes 34, 28014 Madrid, SPAIN; phone +34 914 292 714). This hostel is in an excellent location just three blocks from the Prado and Thyssen museums and about six blocks from the Reina Sofia Museum.

There were about six steps up to the front entrance, with a small elevator to the third floor.

Staying here April 4-11, 2010, we were in a room with twin beds and a small balcony that overlooked the street. In addition to an en suite bathroom with a tub and wand shower, the room had new windows and thick walls and was very quiet for downtown Madrid. We paid $74 per night. (Rooms run €45 [near $62] single to €70 [$98] triple.)

Free WiFi was available. The connection was best in the lobby, which was lovely and spotless.

The owner, Alex, also owns a taxi and can take you to the airport for a reasonable fee.

This hostel is listed in many guidebooks, so it is important to reserve ahead of time.

Miss Sophie’s (Melounova 3, 120 00 Prague, Czech Republic; phone +420 296 303 530) — located in New Town and very close to the trams and metro.

We rented a spacious apartment across the street from the main hostel building. It had a very large bedroom, a kitchen and a large bathroom with a shower. During our stay, Aug. 24-Sept. 3, 2008, the cost for our apartment was about $134 per night. (In 2010, from €15 for a dorm bed to €55 per person for a private apartment.)

This hostel also has very modern and clean double rooms with facilities en suite plus mini-refrigerators.

There was 24-hour service at the hostel front desk and free WiFi in the lobby. The staff was very helpful and provided maps, metro tickets, restaurant recommendations and taxi service from and to the airport.

There was a Tex-Mex restaurant on the ground floor of our building. There was a Tesco store about 1½ miles away on the tram line.

Marco Polo Hostel (H-1072 Budapest VII, Nyár utca 6, Hungary; phone +36 1 413-2555).

We were on the fifth floor and there was an elevator from the main floor.

Our room was basic but clean, with two twin beds with sheets and a thin comforter on each. Although old, the en suite bathroom was spacious and the shower provided lots of hot water. We had a wardrobe with a lock plus a view out of the dormer window.

We stayed here Sept. 14-16, 2008, paying about $44 per night. (In 2010, from HUF3,000 [$14] for a dorm bed to HUF14,000 [$64] for a single room.)

The staff was helpful. WiFi connection was available in the lobby for a fee. There was a small café/bar in the basement that offered simple breakfasts (an egg, roll and coffee) for a minimal price.


McMinnville, OR

Budget travelers and adventurers, share your hostel experiences. Write to Hostel Stays, c/o ITN, 2116 28th St., Sacramento, CA 95818, or e-mail Include where, when and how much plus any observations or anecdotes.