I thought I should start writing about something easy and something that I was super positive about in these dark times of social distancing and pandemic craziness. So I’m here to write about my excellent experience in early March at the Goodmorning Solo Traveller Hostel in Lisbon, Portugal.
When I first booked my plane ticket across the Atlantic to visit Portugal, I immediately went on Hostel World to book my private rooms ASAP.
Luckily, I booked them both with free cancellations which came in handy when, a week prior to my flight, I researched the hostel that I had booked for Lisbon and saw that the private rooms had sliding glass doors.
To make matters worse, there were stairs right in front of the sliding glass doors that went down to a communal area. I decided that I did not want to stay in a room with see-through doors (though there were curtains that you could slide over them), nor did I want to stay in a hostel in which I’d be so close to the communal area. Sleeping in a hostel can be difficult sometimes so I thought this wasn’t ideal.
So I went back on Hostel World and looked for the highest-rated hostel that had private rooms and luckily, I stumbled upon Goodmorning Solo Traveller Hostel, just a block or two from the original hostel that I’d originally booked (which I’m not going to name because I’m sure they’re a fantastic hostel, just not right for me).
I’d booked a private room for three nights for $189. Sadly, they didn’t offer any rooms with private bathrooms but that was okay. At least I’d have an actual door.
Fast forward a week or so to when I stepped off the train at Lisbon’s Rossio Station and made my way to the hostel.
Pro-tip: The entrance to this hostel is inside a souvenir shop! I found this super weird, but it ended up being just fine. There's a buzzer hooked up to a camera upstairs in the hostel and they buzz you in.
Once I figured out how to get in the hostel, I walked up the 1.5 flights of stairs to the entrance of the hostel and was immediately greeted by a woman at the reception desk. I knew that check-in wasn’t until 3pm, but I hoped that if my room was ready, they might make an exception for a weary traveler with a large backpack and let her check-in at 10am instead. And luckily, since my room was cleaned already, she did! So, big thanks to Goodmorning Solo Traveller Hostel for making the start of my visit so much better by letting me check-in early!
I threw my stuff down, showered in the (very clean!) communal shower, and walked into the kitchen area where breakfast was still being served.
Free Breakfast: Breakfast is included when you stay here and this breakfast was something I looked forward to every day. They made waffles from scratch with powdered sugar and Nutella; there was an egg scramble; there was yogurt with various toppings; there was fruit with cheese; there were various types of cereal; and basic rolls and toast, etc. It was a glorious free hostel breakfast.
I sat down with a full plate and the girl cooking the eggs immediately introduced herself to me and we realized we were both from New York City. Small world! The solo traveler next to me then introduced himself to me, too. It was just a really nice way to be integrated into hostel life after almost a year away. I just kept being surprised by how nice everyone was.
My Room: My room was bright and airy, and clean. There was a bench and a small table. There was a ledge behind the bed to put your cell phone while it charges while I slept. The bed was queen-sized and it was mostly comfortable. Honestly, the mattress was a good combination of soft and firm, but it was just a little too thin. I woke up during my second night and my back was sore. But other than that, my room was everything I could’ve wanted.
The Communal Bathrooms: My room was at the end of the hallway on the first floor and the bathrooms on that floor were around the corner – almost like having a private bathroom! There were three toilets, two showers, and an additional sink down in front of the windows on the end. They were cleaned multiple times a day which I saw with my own eyes as I would repeatedly run into the cleaning staff when attempting to use the bathroom. There was never a time when I attempted to use the bathroom when there was a line or all the stalls were occupied.
Kitchen / Living Room: These communal spaces are clean and comfortable. They were great places to meet fellow solo travelers. Coronavirus was just starting to become a big deal in the US and Europe, and as Italy started to quarantine certain large cities, an Italian traveler started wondering how she was going to get home (she was able to fly home through Sicily, where her family lived, I believe). There was also a guy who had been working on his Masters somewhere in Italy and since classes had been canceled for there rest of the semester, he was traveling around and wondering what to do, too. Meeting people and hearing their stories is one of the reasons why I continue to stay in hostels. You just don’t people like this while staying in hotels.
Nightly Dinners: For people who were truly on a budget, a 5 Euro dinner was offered every night in the kitchen at 8pm and there was always a vegetarian option, too! There are different themes every night as a different member of the staff is in charge of cooking every night.
Free Nightly Happy Hour: From 7pm – 8pm every night there is a FREE beer and sangria happy hour. They do ask for 1 Euro to rent a cup but when you give the cup back, you get your Euro back! The Sangria is fairly mediocre but it’s free – so beggars can’t be choosers. This is also a great time to get down to the communal living room and make some friends. On my first night, a Canadian approached me and said, “Do you speak English? Cool, me too. Let’s chat.” See? Everyone was so nice who was staying at this hostel!
I think it’s safe to say that I absolutely loved this hostel. I would 100% stay in this hostel again, despite the shared bathroom and thin mattress because those were really the only downsides.
I cannot recommend this hostel enough if you’re traveling solo and you’re looking to meet other solo travelers while also receiving exceptional value for your money. Book it here!