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HI - Stayokay Haarlem Hostel

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Hostelz.com's Review
Location

Forget taking buses from the center of Haarlem, buy your train ticket for Santpoort Zuid instead. Walk to the southern end of the station, cross the tracks the first chance you get (Wustelaan), and immediately turn right and follow the tracks on the other side along Jan Gijzenvaart. After a block it changes names to Schoterkerkpad and passes a polder canal on the left (pictured). It now becomes a footpath across the polder which follows alongside the canal. As soon as you pass under the N208, the hostel will be on the right, right along the Jan Gijzenvaart canal.

Amenities

This is a clean hostel, as is the case with most HI-affiliated hostels in northern Europe. Although the rooms often have 6 beds and the showers are dormitory-style with access from the hall, the whole layout of the place still gives it a family motel type of feel. Decent meals are available in the cafeteria, make sure to request a meal ticket in advance to ensure being served. Breakfasts, as in neighboring Germany, should not disappoint those who wish to get a good hearty start to the day, with a wide variety of cereals, fruits, breads, cheese, cold cuts, juice, dairy and coffee all available.

Atmosphere

In sharp contrast to the notoriously wild hostels in central Amsterdam, this hostel is possibly one of the most family-oriented ones you'll ever stay at. The best part is you're just a 15-minute train ride from Amsterdam itself! The staff here are friendly and stay in contact with the other hostels in the StayOkay network, allowing you to change reservations or learn of availability before moving on if you haven't planned your trip in great detail.

Attractions

Amidst all the attention given to Amsterdam, Haarlem winds up being given short shrift most of the time. While Amsterdam is certainly worth the time, so is Haarlem and surroundings. For beach and bird-lovers, the Zuid-Kennemerland is just a few miles towards the coast from the hostel, with miles of walking paths along the dunes. Central Haarlem also boasts some fine historic areas, such as the Bavokerk and its surrounding plaza (pictured), the Franz Hals Museum, and the Amsterdam Gate. And if you're visiting in the spring, the famous tulips of the Keukenhof Gardens are about 12 miles to the south on N208. And if you haven't got the time to make it to Keukenhof, there are always flower markets (also pictured) within town, too. And of course, Amsterdam itself is just a few minutes away by train.

Price

This hostel was priced a bit higher than some of the neighboring countries, especially France, but this is probably more a matter of cost of living versus anything else. It definitely beats other options around here.

Overall Value

For the family or solo traveler wishing to visit Amsterdam and surroundings without having to sleep in or near the Red Light District, this hostel is most definitely a budget option worth exploring!

Exclusive Hostelz.com Review
May 2008

Photos taken by the Hostelz.com reviewer — Genuine photos you can trust.
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Location/Contact
How is HI - Stayokay Haarlem Hostel rated on other websites?
 OverallCleanlinessStaffLocationAtmosphereSecurity
Hostelworld  
79%
80%
87%
76%
80%
84%
Hostels.com  
78%
80%
86%
66%
80%
80%
HostelBookers  
82%
89%
92%
60%
78%
92%
HostelsClub  
50%
90%
40%
20%
50%
HI Hostels  
89%
88%
97%
81%
87%
90%
Average  
76%
85%
80%
61%
75%
87%
HI - Stayokay Haarlem Hostel Reviews from the Web
Hostelz.com Guest Reviews
3   Clean This hostel was clean, but swamped with groups. Most of the staff were pretty nice and accommodating, some staff members didn't really care. I needed advice on where to go and what to do with regard to lodging options and they blew me off. Not the most exciting location, but very peaceful. The bed was horribly uncomfortable, metal bar supports keep you up most of the night.  , United States ()
4   Good Place to Stay! This is a good place to stay if you're looking to head towards Zandvoort and the beaches west of Amsterdam. It's pretty clean, the bar is great, the atmosphere is very friendly.  , USA ()
4  My husband and I stayed at the hostel on two occasions during 2004. This was our first stay in a hostel and a real eye opener. The staff were fantastic, and the buffet breakfast was excellent. The room and our shower was very clean and the beds were comfortable with fresh clean linen supplied. Out of the two weeks we stayed there, we only had two noisy nights. This is to be expected when exhuberant groups of teenagers stay there. I was amazed at the variety of nationalities and age groups we saw there and more so the way the staff were able to communicate with them. Well done everyone, we hope to see you all again next year!  ()
2  We stayed here in August 2005. We arrived very late; I found that the staff were super nice and accommodating. I did in fact get a very bad case of bedbugs. For the price that they charge you, you are better off staying in the city. The sheets had a very stale smell and the showers were very dirty with body hair all over the bottom of them. It's not worth the commute into Amsterdam.  ()
4  It has a bit of a sterile atmosphere, but everything is very clean. The bar is pretty cheap. They have a laundry machine, which you can use any hour of the day, which is very convenient!  ()
4  Nice place — the rooms were clean and comfortable (if only slightly cramped), and the bathroom/shower in our room was fine, too. Beds and linens were cozy, as well. Community areas were well maintained with good sitting areas, and the outdoor spaces around the hostel were really pleasant, too. Plus, it was easy to get to by bus from the train station. A little isolated from the town itself, but not that far a walk from civilization. Plus, the bar on site had a great atmosphere and was a nice place to chill out in the evening, so we didn't feel like we were missing anything. Really nice desk staff, too — I enjoyed talking with them, and they were quite helpful in giving us suggestions for things to do in the area.  ()
4  I stayed here in August 2002 for pleasure and returned to stay in November 2004 for a job fair in Amsterdam, as the first time was good. On both occasions I had a very good time. In August I could meet nice people in the pub inside the hostel and then walk with them in the park. In November the hostel was almost empty and I appreciated the good food the staff made for me. I hope the staff haven't changed. They were the nicest staff I ever met in a hostel. They were helpful and social — great. You should get the train from Amsterdam to Haarlem and then take the bus to arrive here (approximately ten minutes). It's worth it to take this journey as it is safer than Amsterdam.  ()
3  This was not my favorite of the hostels I have visited. It is far out but in a beautiful location next to an extensive park. If you're fed up with urban sprawl and want a rural feel, this is a good bet. The hostel is clean, well decorated, and has spacious rooms, each with a private bathroom. A good buffet breakfast is provided and there is a bar. However, I found it very noisy, and the night I was staying here the hostel was taken over by large groups, which didn't result in a very social atmosphere. I was also accidentally booked into a full dorm.  ()

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