It’s Mind Over Age To Choose One Instead Of A Hotel
When I was in Surfer’s Paradise, Australia a friend told me that – as long as I was in the neighborhood, so to speak – that I should check out Byron Bay. And that friend further recommended that I stay in a place called Nomads.
Nomads is not a five-start hotel overlooking the water but rather a backpacker’s hotel with locations all over the world. In other words, it’s a hostel. So, when I arrived, I went straight to Nomad’s to get a room.
No longer of college age, I was both excited and apprehensive about it. Was I too old to stay in one? Would I look or feel out of place? I really did not feel that way, for I am completely comfortable in college-aged bars and events. Still, I have to admit that I was a bit nervous when I walked to the check-in desk.
I had not ever stayed in a hostel. Much of my early travels were for work so I stayed in hotels (and not always particularly nice ones). I am also an American where the term “budget accommodations” translates into “seedy motel” rather than “place where young and fun backpackers stay.”
Well let me tell you that all my fears went away in less than a second when I was pleasantly welcomed by the check-in person at Nomads. He did not ask my age, look me up and down as if he were scrutinizing me (I actually thought this might happen; how foolish of me!) and in general welcomed me as if I were some pimple-faced collegiate freshman.
He then told me about the various activities, group dinner outings and excursions.
I looked around me and there were people on laptops, cell phones and tables seated around the lobby. There was a game room of sorts off to the side where where I had the feeling a game of flip cup could break out at any moment.
Immediately, I loved it. I soon joined people in the lobby with my laptop where I began to post some articles on PubClub. Everyone was friendly and welcoming. There were several young and pretty girls. Carrying on conversations was easy.
“Heck,” I said to myself. “This is way better than a hotel!”
I even began to imagine how single and solo business travelers would enjoy staying at a place like this as opposed to a hotel. They often spend very lonely dinners by themselves while on the road and are aching for some spirited conversations. The thought of creating an “adult hotel” which caters to 30+ solo travelers kept running through my mind.
The room was nice, basic, clean and had a small balcony with a chair. It was comfortable, about the equivalent of a 3-star hotel. I put it on par with a new Motel-6, a Best Western or a Holiday Inn such as we have in the States.
Was it noisy with people running down the hallways throughout the night as if they were on Spring Break in Daytona Beach? No. Tho I did here and see some partying in multiple-bed rooms as I walked down the hallway (I can tell you this, unless I’m with a few party friends I would not want to stay in a shared room with six beds).
The only thing that set me back a bit was the price – $100 Australian dollars for a private room. I had always thought hostels were cheap; I was expecting something for around $50.
Oh, I could have shared a room of up to six for $30 and various other roommates at various increases but I had just come off a week-long event I was working and wanted some relaxation time.
Out of curiosity, I did spend part of an afternoon walking around Byron Bay knocking on doors to check on room prices. I found the cheapest to be in the $125 range, so maybe the price at Nomads wasn’t all that high, after all. Plus, it was right across the street from the bus station and a popular bar.
My only regret when I left was not taking part in one of the dinner trips. I kind of wanted to explore Byron Bay on my own but in hindsight, I did not take full advantage of one of the key elements hostels have, and that is the tremendous socializing that you just can’t get in a hotel.
So am I – or you – too old to stay in a hostel? Not in my travel world.