BY MADDY THOM
While often times as travelers we find ourselves making sacrifices in selecting accommodation, perhaps surprisingly in the relatively pricey microcosm of Dubrovnik, you can find everything you want in a hostel at an unbelievably reasonable price. Recently opened in the heart of the walled city, Old Town Hostel Dubrovnik delivers on all counts—including free hugs and compliments available on request.
While it might escape your notice upon arrival, the location of Old Town Hostel Dubrovnik is prime for more than one reason. Most importantly, it sits immediately off of Stradun, the central street in town. What does this mean? In a city that’s a labyrinth of staircases, you won’t have to lug your 30-kilogram backpack up any of them. Additionally, being situated just inside the Pile Gate (West entrance), it’s no more than a five-minute walk from where the bus will drop you off outside of the city walls. Translation? You’re backpack-free and off to exploring the city almost as soon as you’ve arrived. Then to seal the deal? It neighbors Sladoledarna, the best ice cream shop in town. Talk about a trifecta of awesome.
Old Town Hostel Dubrovnik offers both dormitories—mixed and exclusively female—and private rooms. Dormitories are spacious, clean, and brightly lit thanks to large windows and the Croatian sunshine. They come equipped with personal lockers for storage of valuables and a wardrobe filled with extra blankets for chilly fall nights. Unfortunately there is only one shared bathroom on each floor, and although some travelers might panic at the thought, there is a small vanity area in each dorm room complete with sink and mirror—perfect for brushing teeth or glitzing and glamming before a night out—which keeps lines for the loo to a minimum.
Particularly enchanting about this hostel is the atmosphere that the interior space gives way to. Exposed rock from the building’s original construction lines the walls, multi-colored pillows and rugs cushion the benches in the common space, and treasures and trinkets like singing bowls and musical instruments from the owner Mike’s own world travels fill the shelves, decorating and further contributing to a certain coziness sought in a place like the Old Town.
Where this hostel shines, however, is in the extra amenities that Mike includes. Having trekked all over the planet as a backpacker himself, he recognizes the little things that a traveler craves on the road. Breakfast is included and served 24-hours a day, which means that even if you’re a late-riser or can’t splurge on dinner out, the kitchen is always fully stocked with orange juice, milk, cereals, teas, and coffee. Cookies and chocolates are left out on the tables, and blueberry juice and bubbly water are available refreshments all day long. All of the usual items like linens and towels are included free of charge, and hairdryers, irons, adapters, earplugs, and other often forgotten items are available for at the front desk.
Although the hostel is currently only open seasonally, all annual profits are cycled back into making hostel improvements, and this year Mike has already started installing double paned windows in order to make the transition from seasonal occupancy to being the only hostel inside the Old Town to be open year-round. So even if arriving for the holiday season, there will be an option for social accommodation.
Note: Be sure to check out the list of special services OTH offers as well; I personally recommend the hugs and the Moonlight Nature Walking Tour in Gradac Park, which includes “views of the Adriatic Sea and illuminated Old Town, as well as the sounds of the waves crashing and aromatic smells of indigenous flowers and trees in bloom”, offered at no additional cost. Talk about generous.