Mom (via text): You mean “hotel,” right?
Me (via text): No, mom, I did not misspell that. I meant to write h-o-s-t-e-l.
Mom (via text): You have to share a room with others? That’s not a vacation!
For my trip to Madrid, I decided to book a hostel in an effort to keep the exploring costs to a minimum. I had gone all-out the previous year because the Paris trip fell on my birthday but, this time around, the birthday girl was my sister and she had declined to come on the trip so I did not have any excuses to splurge. Of course, this shocked all my friends and especially my family. I was up for it, so I went into it without fear.
I ended up with a shared, mixed dormitory of eight people at TOC Hostel Madrid at Plaza Celenque. For someone who has never stayed at a hostel–with or without travel partners–this was a big risk to take. Luckily, I was very pleased with the facilities. Rooms were comfortable, bed was comfortable and even the bathroom space was comfortable. On a bathroom note–I only had to share showers and sinks with my male roommates–there was a separate W/C for girls in each mixed dorm. I had a few female roommates the first three or four days of the trip and then (eventually) I became the only girl in the room–not my favorite but also not the end of the world because it did give me a bathroom all to myself (there’s the princess for ya’). For the most part, my roommates were respectful and did not cause any trouble.
The hostel has a bar/lounge area, a room with a pool table and three other rooms with dining tables and a reading chair. There is also a fully-equipped kitchen where one can cook as desired as well as a fridge (that guy was pretty packed all. the. time.). There were also two computer desks (one with a stationary computer and one without, so as to bring your own). There is almost always someone in the common areas–which I loved. On days when it rained or I was just not feeling 100%, I would bring my computer to the lounge and edit photos or write for Diamonds & Baguettes without feeling like I was stuck alone in my room (which, you guessed it, I never was either!).
This hostel is different to others in the fact that it provides very good service for a facility of its kind (this is what I heard from other seasoned, hostel-loving travelers–both male and female). TOC also offers rooms of 6 and suites for 4 or 2 people. If I were to stay at TOC again (while traveling solo) I would likely go with a 4 or a 2 person suite (with the latter being just for myself). I pre-paid for breakfast every day of my stay but, since I was sick and slept in most days, I only had breakfast at the hostel on three days (it was good!).
The location of this hostel is probably where it gets the gold–upon exiting, if I turned left I was at Puerta del Sol in less than 3 minutes and if I turned right I was at Gran Via. If I walked straight, I was in Plaza Mayor–all in less than 5 minutes. That’s a pretty good location for a first-timer, if you ask me.
Long story short–if it is a hostel like TOC, yes, I would do it again. Anything less I probably would pass on. Out of respect for my roommates, I did not photograph the dorm. Below see pictures of the spaces in which I spent most of my “at home” time during the trip.