Thursday, 10 November 2011

Hostel Review: Ostello Gallo D'oro

Ostello Gallo D'oro
Florence, Italy

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Where we heard about it: The ever-faithful! It was a toss-up between this and a few others, but in the end we chose this one based on price. I was nervous about it (as usual), and was second guessing our decision right up until we walked into the actual hostel.

What sealed the deal: Excellent value for money. We were only planning on staying one night in Florence, so we didn't feel like we had to worry too much about whether or not we liked our hostel...we just wanted a cheap place to crash.

First Impressions: Well! Let me tell you a little story...
Two haggard backpackers walked off their first night train experience at 8AM on a warm June morning in the wondrous city of Florence, and pulled out the directions to their hostel. The instructions were mostly clear, except street names could be a bit tricky to find and orientating ourselves from the train station was hard. Luckily Brit is a master navigator and got us on the right trail. We wandered through the narrow streets and ended up at a large business-y looking building. But there on the plaque it said, "Ostello Gallo D'oro", so we knew we must be in the right place. I was feeling a bit apprehensive. It had seemed like a long walk, and now here we were at a commercial office building!
After poking our heads into a few empty echoing hallways, and rereading our directions, we found the right door, and rang the buzzer. We hoped they would let us sign in, even though it was only 8:30AM, and technically it said new guests had to register at 4pm...
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The moment the door opened, we were overwhelmed. An enthusiastic (to put it lightly) and very friendly Italian man named Max greeted us warmly, begged us to put our bags down, and asked a few quick questions. When we told him we had just come off the train from Paris, he was so sympathetic! He told us not to worry about any paperwork right now, "just sit down and have some breakfast!". There was a great cold breakfast buffet with fresh fruit, cereals, yogurts, and all sorts of goodies, and then an equally friendly staff member, Tomas, made us delicious cappuccinos! All for free....our frugal travelling hearts were happy!
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After we were refreshed, Tomas told us our room was not available quite yet, but we could leave our bags in their secure storage closet, use the washrooms, and access the computers. He also gave us the low-down on where to go and what to see in the city...we got a free map and he circled everything of interest!
So to sum it all up, I would say our first impressions of this hostel were extremely positive!

What we paid: (high season) 25 EURO/$36.49, 5 bed female-only dorm, ensuite bathroom, personal lockers.
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What we liked: FREE breakfast (lots of variety), FREE internet, great super-friendly service, clean rooms, generally quiet, respectful but fun atmosphere, a puzzle table, kitchen access, lots of travel info and brochures, an all-around great place! We heard from another traveler in Venice that stayed at the same place on a weekend that they do fabulous FREE brunches on the weekends!

What we didn't like: the location was not the best available in Florence, and I don't know that I would be comfortable walking there after dark, but for us it was just fine, and everything else was so great that it didn't matter.
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Internet Availability: FREE to use 2 computers in the hallway, with USB ports (hooray for uploading pictures!), and Wi-Fi codes too. It was never super busy, and I was able to spend a lot of time on the computer without feeling bad :)

Would we stay there again: Absolutely! I would stay for longer even. Just from checking out some of the pictures and collages hanging on the wall, it looks like university students can board there as well, and it has a very homey, relaxed feeling. I really enjoyed this place, and it might be my favorite hostel of the trip!

Ps. Google translates the name as "Hostel Golden Cockerel"...haha...

Disclaimer: this is not a paid advertisement! The opinions expressed here belong only to Regis and I. The prices are shown as recorded on my bank statement, circa June 2011. 


Aneta said...

Now THAT sounds like a plcae I'd like to visit!

Maureen said...

Are over 30's welcome? :)

Jill.and.Regis said...

Yes, I think all ages are welcome! I don't think the owners are the type to turn anyone away :)