Casa Frolaz is a family-run hostel and restaurant. Upon arrival, you might frown upon the view of the building, but don't be mistaken -- what's inside is quite a different thing.
The location isn't that bad, although a look at the map might say otherwise. All right, it's not in the historical center of Santa Ana as are some other hostels, but we are talking about a small, one-hundred-thousand-inhabitant town. So even if the location doesn't look brilliant, in fact it's usually not a problem. The walk to the center is about one-and-a-half kilometers. The streets are as safe as streets can be, although wandering after dark might feel a bit risky. But during the day, the distance actually offers a pleasant walk, starting by the crossing of the wonderful street market of Santa Ana. There are lots of cheap eateries around, as well as assorted shops.
If you are coming from San Salvador, pick a bus with a stop at INSA (Instituto Nacional de Santa Ana), the high school -- from there, it's no more than two hundred meters to the hostel.
Rooms and Bathrooms
There is one dorm upstairs with four single beds -- although a fifth one is usually added in the high season. Linen and towels, as well as a small bar of soap, are provided. The bathroom is accessible from the dorm and features a good hot shower with plenty of pressure. However, we get the impression that the amount of hot water is limited. There are four power plugs in the dorm. No air conditioning, no fans, no lockers. The good news -- Wi-Fi is stable and delivers enough power for more demanding duties. There is a small neglected terrace with direct access from the dorm.
There is one problem that can be huge -- the windows don't close. And on some days, it's windy and cold and it's hard to sleep while your feet are freezing. The provided blankets are not enough. Oh, another potential nuisance is the smell from the kitchen of the restaurant -- once they are working, the smell swiftly invades the dorm.
Finally, the lighting of the dorm is totally inadequate. There is a single ceiling bulb and it's so weak that you will have trouble reading anything, like the supermarket's bill. It's definitely not a good idea to pack after dark.
The common spaces are a shady situation. The thing is, downstairs the owners run an upper-scale restaurant. Theoretically, guests are allowed to use the tables of the restaurant as usually guests use the common spaces of a hostel. But it's a bit awkward to walk around in shorts and flipflops when there are customers having a meal in the restaurant. There is also a pleasant garden with a couple of tables and many flowers, but the space is equally attached to the restaurant. The same goes for the kitchen -- guests can use it, but it's the kitchen of a restaurant. We must say, though, that we never had a problem using it -- but on busy evenings things might be different.
This is an acceptable hostel, suitable for a couple of nights while the traveler enjoys the wonderful and overlooked Santa Ana. Perhaps the best value of the hostel is the owner, Francisco, a man of culture and arts and a source of knowledge and information about the town and the region.
Hostelz.com Staff Reviewer
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