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Hostel Helvetia

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Hostelz.com's Review
Hostel Helvetia is vibrant and funky, but noisy and hard to find! It is located not too far from Old Town, near bus stop University, a few streets off the main street. Getting someone to open the main door can also be difficult, since there is usually only one staff person at the desk and if he/she is not sitting at the desk, the bell is not heard. Several times, we were stranded outside waiting for quite some time before someone came out so that we could enter (and the door code doesn't seem to work reliably either).

The Location

The hostel is not easy to find and the directions on the website are not very accurate. It is a few streets away from the University bus stop in Old Town (near the Copernicus statue), on a different street than the one listed. It took us a few tries to find it, even with a decent map. There is a very faded green sign for the hostel on the street behind the Copernicus statue, but it is not easy to spot at first.

Once found, the hostel is in a fairly decent location for accessing the sites in Old Town, yet not too far from the centre by bus. The street can be a bit noisy at times with conversations happening under the hostel windows morning and evenings. The street on which the hostel is located is mainly a residential street and one must walk a bit to find cheap restaurants. On weekends, no public transport runs in this area, so expect a longer-than-usual walk with luggage.

Rooms and Bathrooms

The building is somewhat old, but renovated. The rooms are painted in bright colors and have fairly decent mattresses. Each bed is equipped with a small locker (not large enough for a backpack) and lock (with deposit). There are options of mixed-dorm or female-only or private rooms (but more expensive than a nearby hostel/hotel). The room prices are a little higher than others in the area.

The bathrooms are passably clean, but not very well kept-up. There are a large number of showers, which is helpful when the hostel is full-up with guests. There is a female-only bathroom as well as several mixed-gender bathrooms. The bathrooms also provide a few rolling carts on which to put your things whilst showering, which is great since there are no hooks or shelves or places to change inside the shower stalls. There are plenty of mirrors both in the rooms and in the bathrooms. The halls are quite noisy at night due to conversations and doors slamming, despite soundproof doors installed on either side of the main reception and common area, so it is wise to bring earplugs if you wish to sleep.

Common Spaces

The common space is cosy and small but comfortable, with several sofas, chairs, and small tables, as well as two computers. It is not large enough for all guests at once, but that isn't a problem since breakfast is served from 7 a.m. until 11 a.m. and the room is rarely full. The kitchen is very small, with just a warmer plate, microwave, and small refrigerator. We noticed that most guests do not wash their own dishes (despite signs asking everyone to wash their own dishes and clean up after themselves). Free breakfast is a bit skimpy, with cereal and sandwiches (although the bread ran out early).

Surprisingly, internet access is not free, however it is slightly cheaper than local internet cafes. Paying for internet access was a surprise, since other hostels in the area provide this service for free. There is free luggage storage on the ground floor, even for those who have checked out or not yet checked in. A great bonus for this hostel is the low-priced bike rental -- it has a nice selection of city, cruiser, and other bikes. The smoking area in the main entry stairwell can be frustrating for nonsmokers since it cannot be avoided. The hostel is very noisy, especially at night, despite its small size. So, expect more of a party atmosphere and lots of mingling. It is more of a classic backpacker's hostel than others in Warsaw, attracting a variety of clientele.

Summary

This hostel is okay for those looking for an older hostel with a lively atmosphere or wishing to rent nice bikes affordably, but it's not great. It is not as clean or well-serviced as most other hostels in this city. We wouldn't recommend it for travelers who want a nice, quiet place to stay or an easy-to-find location. Overall, this is a hostel for someone looking for a more traditional backpacker's hostel, without any extra amenities.

by Zondu
Hostelz.com Staff Reviewer
September 2009

Photos taken by the Hostelz.com reviewer — Genuine photos you can trust.
Map
Location/Contact
How is Hostel Helvetia rated on other websites?
 OverallCleanlinessStaffLocationAtmosphereSecurity
Hostelworld  
88%
86%
90%
94%
82%
92%
Hostels.com  
90%
84%
96%
92%
88%
94%
HostelBookers  
90%
95%
92%
89%
82%
94%
HostelsClub  
93%
92%
94%
93%
94%
Average  
90%
89%
93%
92%
87%
93%
Hostel Helvetia Reviews from the Web
Hostelz.com Guest Reviews
5   Good location near the downtown Hostel Helvetia is at the same time a very pleasant place to stay and a very convenient location to visit the main tourist attraction of Warsaw. Good rooms. 3 bathrooms with plenty of hot water. One living room and a kitchen. Free WiFi access. Many plugs to load your smartphone. Very good security with a code changed every day and a locker to put your things. City maps and material to visit the city available. While I was staying (January 2013), works were making Helvetia Hostel even better. I would recommend to anybody.  , France ()
4   Good location Warsaw is a big city and this hostel is in the University area, one of the most touristic ones. For this area the location is perfect. You will notice that this hostel is driven by backpackers right after you arrive. There are a lot of pictures from their travels. The Hostel itself has a very good atmosphere, is very clean and not too much noisy. There are 2 bathrooms for each sex and one coed. They has an small kitchen that works also as a meeting room with TV, movies, games ...  , Spain ()
5   Excellent Very efficient mid-sized hostel in a great location just off Nowy Swiat, easy walking distance to the old town and even to the station. Liked the facilities a lot -- all very clean, huge bathrooms, small cozy kitchen-lounge, decent small breakfast, good staff. Not the cheapest but a very good, comfortably stay. (It's not at all hard to get to, and despite it being busy, I didn't find it at all noisy ... in fact rather quiet.)  , UK ()
5  Just finishing our stay here now. The hostel is amazing, rooms are clean and very comfortable with lockable cabinets in (your given a padlock to lock them as well). The staff are great, really friendly and speak great English, we had no problems at all. The kitchen is really nice and has everything you would need, sink, cooker, fridge, freezer. There is cutlery to use as well. Theres a TV with limited sky and a dvd player and a CD player in the common room. The hostel is also literally five minutes walk from everything, so when you're drunk you can easily find your way back! I had great fun here and met amazing people! I highly recommend this place!  ()

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