English Français Español Italiano Deutsch 日本語 Português

Art Hostel - Usually We Spend Our Time In The Garden

Check all of the
booking sites at once!
 
Description & Photos

Hostelz.com's Review
Art Hostel - Usually We Spend Our Time In The Garden is a fun place to party, with activities centered in the fully equipped bar in the basement accessible to both patrons and friendly, young Bulgarians interested in meeting foreigners. As simply a place to sleep one could do better, but the cost and the common space can make up for the lack of comfort.

The Location

Art Hostel is a good distance from the train station, and unless you are up for a walk, it is better to take public transportation or a taxi. Remember to stamp your ticket as soon as you get in the tram. The location is otherwise very good, as it is not far from most of Sofia's sights and right in the center of the city, surrounded by interesting stores and places to eat.

Rooms and Bathrooms

The rooms are separate from the common rooms and reception, through a small, pleasant garden that Art Hostel keeps. Several floors each contain rooms with between two and fifteen beds with attached common space, kitchen, and bathroom, so space is not an issue. Security however is, as there is no in-house security once you get past the locked front door. In addition, the beds are quite hard and uncomfortable. The bathrooms are for the most part clean and each floor has its own small kitchen space, but as there is only one bathroom per floor so traffic jams are quite a problem.

Common Spaces

Art Hostel's common space is its best asset. Next to reception there is a small room with a book exchange, television, and one computer available for the internet. In the basement, a large and stylish bar serves moderately priced drinks for hostel patrons and young Bulgarians, and is the perfect place to meet the locals and make some friends. They have very well organized and fun activities as well. However, the bar closes after breakfast and doesn't open again until later at night and so during the day one must be satisfied with the small, seatless common rooms on each floor and the similarly small common room by reception. Though they do offer breakfast, it is only serviceable.

Summary

Art Hostel is a great place to meet people, especially the locals. However, the spartan sleeping facilities and the presence of only one computer for such a potentially large patronage are big downsides. It does have a very cheap price tag attached to it, and so budget travelers will find it worth their money.

Exclusive Hostelz.com Review
April 2008

Photos taken by the Hostelz.com reviewer — Genuine photos you can trust.
Map
Location/Contact
How is Art Hostel - Usually We Spend Our Time In The Garden rated on other websites?
 OverallCleanlinessStaffLocationAtmosphereSecurity
Hostelworld  
88%
85%
90%
94%
91%
84%
Hostels.com  
86%
73%
86%
100%
80%
86%
HostelBookers  
82%
78%
82%
92%
81%
78%
HostelsClub  
Not listed on HostelsClub.
Average  
85%
79%
86%
95%
84%
83%
Art Hostel - Usually We Spend Our Time In The Garden Reviews from the Web
Hostelz.com Guest Reviews
1   Ok place and staff, awful managemnt Please don't stay in this hostel. The place is ok and the staff is great, however I can't say anything nice about the management and/or the owner (specifically about Francesca). For her customers are nothing but walking wallets that need to be emptied in any possible way. I've been fan of the place (the bar and the garden) until one day I had to find a place for a friend visiting from abroad. On 13th of June 2011 I had reserved a room for a 3 weeks, yet I agreed to pay the whole monthly rate. The reservation period was starting the next day, on the 14th of June. The rate stated in her office for a monthly rent is 280 Euro/month. However, she said that this wasn't applicable for the room I wanted to and asked for 15 Euros more, to which I didn't object. Then she asked if I'd be leaving any deposit. I said, "of course" and asked if 50 Euros are okay (which is the rate for two nights for a room). So I paid and left. The next day I got the news that the Bulgarian consulate had screwed up the visa works of my friend and gave him a visa for a week later than the day he asked for. So, he wouldn't be able to come on the 14th. By 11.30-12.00 AM on the 14th I was in the hostel, explaining what had happened and canceling the reservation. I asked if I could have the deposit back (or at least part of it). The hostel had no customers at all and in the night that passed since my reservation, no one had asked for that room (I know this from the staff, who, as I said, are really very nice). She first told me how difficult that would be because of some accounting problems but she would consult her accountant. Then, after a while, she forgot about the accounting problem and began telling me about the hostel policy of retaining 30% of the whole amount for the entire period, so in fact the deposit I had left wasn't even covering half of it, so I shouldn't be getting any money back. At this point I just left. I wasn't gonna beg for a few bucks to a woman who had shattered all my good impressions about the place. Funny, my friend is coming any how, albeit a week later, and this time not for 3 weeks but for 3 months and guess what? He's not gonna stay in ART Hostel. So, instead of trying to keep her clients happy and seek long term returns, for those pity 50 Euros, she lost at least 850 Euros. So, please, do not support people like her with your money. There are other nice places in town, with a better management, run by people who are not after such pity and meager and embarrassing short-term gains. I believe that if we want a better world, we should support those whom we'd like to see around us.  , Bulgaria ()
2   Need improvements Maybe this was cult place in Sofia, but that's all this place's got. Tradition and old days! I was paying for bed, but it was like I slept on the floor. Too much people in rooms, noisy as hell, bar is probably really cool place but you can hear noises till late hours. Maybe I don't get the art part of this place, but they need some serious improvements in rooms and bathrooms.  , Croatia ()
5   Oh! What a place! I am a traveler from Malta! I travel frequently to several destinations, and I prefer to use cool Hostels instead of boring Hotels. I want to strongly recommend the Art Hostel. It's not just a Hostel. It's a cool place, for sure to remember. This is my fourth time in Sofia, and I always stay in that Hostel. It's a great place indeed! I really feel at home surrounded by that friendly atmosphere. And what about the staff! They are really friendly and helpful. Ask for Nicky or Francesca! They are really cool! And what about the activities! Wow! Last February I joined a professional drumming group in the Hostel's basement. We played together the whole night! Oh what a night! I dont want to forget a girl employed there! I was leaving the Hostel during the night, and I was afraid that the taxi is not coming for me! But why afraid? The girl woke up at the middle of the night, called the taxi for me and stayed with me at the Hostel's door, until the taxi arrived! I want to express my thanks to that girl. Unfortunately I forgot her name! To stay in Art Hostel, it's not just a stay, it's a wonderful experience!  , MALTA ()
4  very cool hostel. The staff was the most friendly in my journey. A lot of fun in the house. Helpful people everywhere. I recommend this hostel as a museum which you have to visit.  , german ()
4  Clean and fun. There was a dj spinning good music in the basement bar. The beds aren't the most comfortable, but nothing out of the ordinary.  ()
1  I was stuck on whether to stay here or at another hostel, but after reading the (probably fake!) reviews, and deciding that I could experience something different, I decided to give Art Hostel a try. But within ten minutes of arriving, I soon wished I'd chosen the other hostel. The beds were literally one-inch thick mattresses covering wooden boards -- my back was killing me after only one night's sleep. The showers were an absolute joke -- no curtain, no stall, doors held together with wire with huge windows so that people in the buildings opposite could see you! Besides the artwork, there didn't seem to be anything art-related activities going on (then again, I only stayed one night so maybe I missed out). Also, the flyer clearly says that they offer legitimate police registration. A blatant lie. When I asked the staff about this (showing said flyer), they said that I would have to go to the station myself (they also got arsy with me when I said that I would only be staying one night). Apparently the border guards rarely check this but this is the sort of thing that can get travelers into trouble. The only good thing about the place was the people staying there -- I met some amazing people and had a good time. But I also believe that it's the people who make the hostel, not the other way round, and how can you really enjoy it when the beds are so uninhabitable? Other travelers who are into the art-scene may love it. Sadly, I absolutely hated the place and certainly wouldn't recommend it to my friends. Oh, and there's no longer a bar -- they lost their license five months ago. If you absolutely have to stay here, pay five euros for floor space (about as comfy as the beds)  ()
3  This hostel has a good and helpfull staff. Has a garden and it is well situated, close from the center. The only problem is that the matress in the common rooms are destroied (hard, so hard that you cannot sleep). Also, the rooms at the third floors are small and full of beds and are on the street and you cannot sleep. at the second floor they have double rooms also not impressive for the comforts but one has a piano. the toilets are small and not very confortable. It's a funny and a kind of hippy place, but i think not good if you want to have a normal rest.  ()
2  Bunks in the six-bed dorms of went for 8 euros (16 lev) per night in Nov. 05. They had futons (i.e. hard) in place of mattresses. The bunks have curtains on them, which is a nice touch. The place has sort of a "dive"-y feeling – some renovations would do wonders (and add a star). I'd like to see a decent table and chairs upstairs in the main room. Security from the outside is decent; there is none within the hostel. It's very smoky downstairs where the bar and Internet is. The free Internet is the slowest I have ever seen (minus one star), and it is not due solely to the connection speed. It's probably one of the oldest surviving computers on record with minimal RAM. Fortunately, across the street is a 24-hour fast Internet café with the best prices I've seen (1 Lev per hour). The hostel was really basic and also low-key, with a nice, albeit smoky, ambiance around the bar in the evening, and I liked the downstairs hanging table supports. There are at least three outstanding and inexpensive eating choices nearby within about 100 feet. The Honey Bee pastry shop (also serves sandwiches - ask for the English menu) and Jimmy's (both on the same road as the hostel, turn right exiting hostel) have excellent pastries. I especially like their ice cream crepes (palachinki) and the hot white chocolate! One neighbor of the hostel is Divaka (right out of the hostel, then first street right, first entry on your right) which has an excellent atmosphere despite the off-putting looking clientele I saw exiting. All of these places are inexpensive by Western standards, and the quality of the food is excellent. Really, it is quite the anomaly to have such a great selection and quality so inexpensively, and I think that this will shortly disappear with ascension to the EU, as it did with all the others. Get it while the getting is good. Sofia words of warning: The books and maps at the nearby outdoor book bazaar are pricey. Specifically, you can probably get the same item at a regular bookstore for a lesser price. If you're going to buy something there, do your research first and then haggle. You can get some really inexpensive ushankas (fur hats, Russian style) at the outdoor, antique market about 10 blocks away on Rakovski. Also, I encountered someone at a corner nearby there who approached me attempting to sell counterfeit bills. Warning signs: If a stranger approaches you and on the second question asks where you are from, it means he's trying to engage you with ulterior motive. Money changing kiosks are plentiful – if a stranger wants to change money, especially at grossly favorable rates, you should be asking yourself why he's not changing at a standard place. Regarding border crossings by car: BG (along with RO, SCG equals YU) charged me 2 euros to drive through a puddle (calling it a disinfecting fee), and they charged me for a vignette (5 euros/10 days) even though I didn't use the expressways. Finally, there are BG/RO Danube crossings at Vidin (ferry = 17 euros/car + 3/person), Oryakhovo (ferry = 20 euros/car plus 3 euros/person), and Ruse bridge. (Price unknown; one border guard said 25 euros). An alternate idea to get into SW Romania is to head from Vidin to Negotin (SCG=Serbia), and then cut up to Kladovo (SCG) where there is a free bridge (dam) into Romania.  ()

Have you visited this Hostel? Rate it and post your review here.