Clean but awkward stay
First of all, I don't want to bash this place. This is a mother of 3 daughters trying to make a living. The youngest daughter is adorable. The place is clean on the inside and close to the airport.
Ok, on to my review.
My biggest gripe about this place is the lack of transparency or miscommunication, I'm not sure which. Lot's of things weren't properly communicated.
So, first of all, here was my situation. I was laying over at MNL for one night. I wanted a cheap place to spend the night near the airport. Since I didn't spend any time in Manila, I had no pesos with me. I wanted to know if I had to withdraw some pesos at the airport. So, I emailed the hostel to ask if I can pay cash or credit. Here was the response:
"Thank you for booking. Will advise you later on cash or credit card."
Ok, so I didn't know what that meant since I needed to know before I left the airport. But, I trusted that they understood my concern and there was a solution. Here's what happened. I got into the car and the owner (she picked me up) asked me if I was able to withdraw any cash??? I'm like, wth? Why couldn't they have just told me cash ONLY so I could withdraw cash at the airport. What did "will advise later" mean? Anyways, that was annoying because I had no answer. I just said "ummmmm... no?" I asked if I could pay by credit card? She said well, my credit card machine is new and it's not working.... Once again, what did "will advise later" mean? Couldn't she have told me all this in the email when I asked? Just straight up say cash ONLY. No need for the run around. Just be transparent and up front.
Ok, that was the first issue. Now the 2nd issue. I emailed them my arrival time and flight no. I thought that was all clear. The directions were, when I arrive, I should email them so they know I'm there because they can't wait at the curbside for too long. So I did that. I arrived at 8:50pm as planned. I emailed them. They said they thought I said 11:45pm. Not sure why they thought that since it's in the email. When I got in the car, she said oh, she got confused w/ someone else that was arriving at that time. She said so many people come and go it gets confusing. That was an annoying answer since it's an easy solution. Just write it down instead of keeping everything in your head. That was just disorganized. Also that night there was only 2 of us arriving. Another guy was arriving around 11:45pm. So all she had to do was keep track of 2 people. When the other guy got to the dormitory, he told me that she told him that she'll pick up both of us since we're both arriving at around the same time. Yeah, this was very disorganized.
Issue #3 - one of the reviewers wrote that there were 24 hr restaurants within walking distance so that was in my plans. I hadn't had dinner yet. I was going to check into the hostel and then walk around and grab something to eat. Problem was, when I checked in, I wasn't given a key. Now, this is more a home than a hostel. It's a room in someone's home. The owner, mother, has 3 daughters. When I unpacked, showered and was ready to go find something to eat, I realized that I had no key. I was thinking man, what if they're all sleep now? What do I do? I'm hungry and I feel trapped in this place. So, I try going downstairs and luckily, the owner is still awake. I ask her if there's any place to eat around here. She said yeah but it's a 5 minute walk. I couldn't read what she was trying to tell me. Was she telling me that it's not a good idea to walk 5 minutes at this time at night? I mean, 5 minutes walking is not that far but the way she phrased it, I didn't know how to take it. Then she suggested that she can whip me up some noodles if I'd like. Again, I didn't know if she was warning me not to go out at night? So I just took her up on it. She whipped me up some noodles w/ eggs. I thanked her for that.
The next morning when I went to pay her for the rdtrip airport pickup service, she told me that there would also be a charge for the noodles last night. Now, again, that is reasonable but it felt awkward. It's awkward because I gave her money and it was up to her how much she was going to give back to me. I mean, I'd like to know up front. She could have told me last night, I could fix you up some noodles - it's going to be w/ eggs and it's going to cost this much. Or you could go out walking for 5 minutes and find something to eat. At least I feel I had the option to make that decision. Here, I didn't know what was going to be in the noodles. I didn't know if it was soup ramen noodles, or dry fried noodles, did it have meat or eggs, or how much was I paying? I just would like to know and be the one to make the decision. So, it was an awkward moment when she said you would be charged for the noodles last night and it was up to her how much I was going to be charged. Even when she brought me the noodles, I didn't know what I was getting.
Issue #4 - breakfast. Now, I read all these reviews on how hearty the breakfast was. I didn't get any of that. Granted I left early, 7am. Usually breakfast starts at 6:30am but maybe the one here starts later. I don't know. I was never told. I went downstairs and I was offered coffee and toast w/ peanut butter. Not really a hearty breakfast that everyone raved about. Again, no explanation. When I checked in, nothing was explained about breakfast. I still don't know what the policy on breakfast is so I couldn't tell.
So again, in summary, would I stay here again? I would. Its a great value. It's close to the airport. It's cheap and it's clean. But, I would probably only stay for one night when if I have to layover in MNL.
I felt awkward here. I just feel that you're not told anything. When the other dorm mate arrived, I asked him as well if he got a key. He said no. So maybe you don't get a key when you stay here. I couldn't tell you guys what the policy is because I'm still in the dark. If there is no key given then it would be weird to come home late at night and have to knock on the door for someone to open the door. Also, it would be awkward to come and go as you please. If they do give people a key, then I wonder why I wasn't given one? Maybe she thought that I didn't need one because I was leaving early the next morning. However, that should have been my decision to make.
So most of my annoyances stems from lack of transparency. I like to know what I'm getting ahead of time. The owner said that she travels frequently and has been to 24 countries. So I'm sure she agrees w/ this sentiment. Just let the people know exactly what they're getting.
Another example, when we were in the car, I referred to the place as a hostel. The owner corrected me and said it's not really a hostel, it's more of a guesthouse. I was thinking, ok? But, the name that she chose was Happy to Mingle Hostel. There's just some slight deception going on at this place.
It would be better if there was more transparency. But, knowing what I know now, I would still stay. Although after they read this review, it might be a little awkward now.
I'm just trying to be as honest as I can be. This place does serve it's purpose. It's cheap and clean.
Solo travel - Sep 13, 2017