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Mingtown Suzhou International Youth Hostel

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Description & Photos

Hostelz.com's Review
Mingtown Suzhou International Youth Hostel is housed in a pair of delightful old buildings in the main tourist street. Overall, it is a very good hostel, but beware that it is advertising facilities which no longer exist and showing pictures from an altogether different building (the ones with red iron supports and bare brick walls). Security is also a small issue, as tourists regularly walk in to the lobby/main common area to check out the building. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout but it's not always reliable.

The Location

Suzhou is an interesting historic city and the hostel is in Pingjiang Lu (Road), the main tourist street. It is quite easy to get to by bus or metro though the information on some websites is incorrect. Take the metro or a bus to Xiang Men and then walk -- you cannot take a normal taxi to the front door, as Pingjiang Lu is a pedestrian street. The pedicabs can go there, though. The street is opposite the Suzhou Plaza Hotel and the hostel is about three hundred metres along it. The main restaurants nearby are touristy but you can find normal eating places within a reasonable walking distance.

Rooms and Bathrooms

There are two buildings with the dorms in building two across a small lane. The dorms are spacious and have large solid bunks with good mattresses; each person has a shelf, light, and power socket. There are large, lockable lockers and air-conditioning, and the rooms are well cleaned. Some private double rooms have four-poster beds.

There are sufficient, good-quality bathrooms with individual cabins available to both male and female, and with western WCs. They are well cleaned and should meet everyone's standards. The only limitation is that hot water is only available for nine hours a day, morning and evening.

Common Spaces

Online and flyer advertising overstates the current facilities. There is no bar (not even beer or chilled drinks, as mentioned during a review from late spring), no food, no bicycles, no pool table, no DVD, and no books! The reception is the main lounge area, which has a mix of the traditional building and modern tasteful updates; the furnishings include sofas and tables and chairs. It is not a place to leave your PC (as we often dare to do in many hostels), as tourists wander in and out. There are some pamphlets for other YHA hostels but the only hosteling décor is in a nearby passageway and none of it is tourist info. There are also two small areas with traditional old chairs and tables and two courtyards, though as they are close to bedrooms they are a bit limited in their use. In building two, there is a small laundry (no dryer), boiling water, a fridge, and a microwave.

Summary

Overall, this is a good hostel in a good location. The proprietors should update the booking site to reflect the nonexistent facilities and remove the false photos, and confirmation emails need updated travel info. The reception staff are efficient, but don't give the impression of being interested in their work -- smiles are a rarity. Avoid weekends, as Pingjiang Lu is very popular, and advance booking is very advisable in the warmer months, as young Chinese are now traveling in a big way.

by OldNomad
Hostelz.com Staff Reviewer
May 2014
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Location/Contact
How is Mingtown Suzhou International Youth Hostel rated on other websites?
 OverallCleanlinessStaffLocationAtmosphereSecurity
Hostelworld  
85%
84%
79%
97%
85%
88%
Hostels.com  
80%
73%
80%
100%
80%
80%
HostelBookers  
76%
74%
65%
92%
76%
79%
HI Hostels  
85%
80%
88%
96%
72%
84%
HostelsClub  
Not listed on HostelsClub.
Average  
82%
78%
78%
96%
78%
83%
Hostelz.com Guest Reviews
5   Good hostel Excellent location, nice place and very helpful staff.  , age 24, México ()
4   Good hostel but untruthful marketing Great location in the big tourist street of PingJiang Rd, great renovated old building. Generally good facilities and clean. BUT they have photos on various sites which are NOT from this hostel and they continue advertising facilities that just don't exist. Staff helpful but not particularly enthusiastic.  , Australian ()
4   What a charming place to stay The place where lies the MingTown hostel is lovely. The house has a lot of "cachet". I received a good help for booking a train ticket although they don't book themselves. The same for taxi. The room was quite a little room but it worked. Air-conditioning was right. The washing machine had to be repaired and it was done, for the next day I could get my clothes washed!  , age 55, France ()
5   Fine Very comfortable and beautiful place! Very attentive and friendly staff!  ()
3   Could be a very good place ... First of all, location is very good. You can walk towards gardens -- the walk is pretty long, but then, it's a budget place after all. For seeing historical Suzhou in the evening, when it is most beautiful, location is perfect. There are restaurants cheap and expensive nearby, and it is fairly easy to find. The dorms themselves are good, good beds ... If this hostel had couple of people in service who cared about the place, it could be really good. Put something to boil water with in dorm rooms, fix the locks in bathrooms and make at least a little restoration work in bathrooms ... Couple of people who know something about Suzhou and are willing to help travelers ... (there was one girl in reception, sadly I only saw her once). It is almost like everything is falling apart in this place, and nobody cares. With a little effort it could be very good hostel. Worst of all were dingy unpleasant bathrooms (hot water only in certain hours), they were so off-putting, I couldn't wait to get away. There were only people from Shanghai in my dorm, which is neither good or bad, just interesting that it is popular with local people.  , Russia ()
4   Nice Hostel in Suzhou style Really nice building located in a lovely street.  ()
5   One of the best hostels I've ever been to! Suzhou Mingtown is ideally located on Pingjiang Road, a small street running along one of Suzhou's canals, and one of the nicest streets in the city. The hostel is brand new and the dorms are really comfortable and clean. Attached to the hostel is a full blown café (which actually serves Illy coffee!) where you can get a really decent breakfast with a discount if you stay at the hostel. Definitely a highly recommended place!  , France ()
Mingtown Suzhou International Youth Hostel Reviews from the Web

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