Better than any hotel I have ever stayed in.
Well this was my first visit to Valencia and I was only visiting because of a special flight deal. And my stay in Backpackers, well that was actually by pure chance. I had originally researched and decided to go to another hostel upon my arrival, but the address of the hostel on its website contained a spelling error and the taxi driver was unable to find it, so we settled on Backpackers. First impressions -- The hostel itself is part contained within an old church and this gives rise to some appealing architectural features and not the more mundane gray concrete block often seen. Walking around to the main entrance you see two huge frosted glass sliding doors and a buzzer to press, but these are usually wide open. The reception is right in front of these doors. The staff themselves are multilingual, coming from Spain, Czech Republic, Italy, Brazil, and the U.K. and they will go out of their way to help you. Upon paying for your room you will be given a key, bed linen, and towel. They will also give you a map of the city, encircle the location of the hostel, and point out some of the nearby sites to visit with directions. The hostel itself is painted in very vibrant colours and really adds to the appeal of this place. There are art posters scattered around and a wide range of information leaflets about tours, bars, and clubs; city guides; and other literature that you can take. When I arrived I decided to book the cheapest room available -- a sixteen-bed dorm -- with the idea being that if it was not suitable I would upgrade to something better. There was absolutely no need. The room is located on the third floor just off the kitchen and is housed within the upper area of the old church, so you still have all of the main architectural features with massively high ornate ceilings to give an appearance of roominess. The room is partitioned in to two halves, so it really seems like two eight-bed dorms. Each bed has a lockable locker, but you will need to bring your own padlock. Saying that though, I just left things laying on my bed at times and nothing ever went missing. The dorm is also well lit, with main ceiling lights, individual table lamps, large stained glass windows, and two doors that open on to a large patio area on the roof. The kitchen area is massive, with five fridge freezers for the guests, a large eight-ring halogen hob, two sinks to wash the dishes, crockery, cutlery, chopping boards, microwaves, coffee machine, juice machine, and free food. There is a huge food preparation surface in the middle with enough space for about twelve people to prepare food at once, although people tended to prepare their food on the dining tables too. The cleanliness of the kitchen is quite unbelievable too considering the amount of use it gets, because apart from meal times when it is being used by everyone there is someone mopping, brushing, cleaning or putting away the dishes about every forty minutes or so. Even the fridges are cleaned. There is a lounge area at the back of the kitchen with a couple of sofas, a TV, cable box, and DVD player. The bathroom area is also on the third floor with a large black tiled floor, four wash basins, six self-contained toilets, and six self-contained shower units that have been split in to a changing area and showering area. There is a timed air freshener system for those moments of bad air quality, but like the kitchen and everywhere else this place is absolutely spotless. I found a staff member cleaning it at 4 a.m. one morning -- 4 a.m.! When I first arrived here I was a little worried about staying in a hostel as this was my first time, but I can truly and honestly say that it far exceeded my expectations and that I found it to be much better than any hotel in the past. You meet a large number of people from all walks of life, teachers, students, lawyers, business people, and there is absolutely no stress or worry because we all know that the staff will go out of their way to help us with any problem. The only caveat I had was with the computers in the basement and that is because the keyboard locale was Spanish, meaning that certain symbols were in unusual locations. The location itself is pure genius. Walk out of the hostel, straight down the street and turn left and you come to one side of the old city gates (think large medieval English castle turrets). Or walk out of the hostel and walk across a few metres of open ground to a small road, turn right and then first left and just walk for about three minutes before arriving at Plaza del Virgen. It is here were you will find the free walking tour of the city (organised by the hostel) every day at 12:30 -- just wait over by the fountain. Go to Valencia and stay in Backpackers because I can guarantee that it will make your holiday.