The initial impression on arrival at the entrance to the Plus Hostel in Berlin is it could easily be mistaken for a hotel. A quick glance around the reception however, with vending machines, a line of computer terminals and the swarm of young people on laptops confirms it is definitely a hostel.
The reception staff are very friendly and on call 24/7, I was given a full explanation of the facilities, dining options and checking in was smooth and easy. They are also happy to provide local advice about where is worth visiting and how to get there.
My room was a small four bed dormitory which fortunately as a guest of the hostel I was not required to share. Bedding and towels were provided, there was a small desk/table and a lockable locker provided a padlock is carried. Each bed has a personal light and socket so charging mobile phones or plugging in the laptop is not an issue.
All rooms apparently have ensuite facilities, toilet, sink and shower. The shower was especially good, powerful and easy to control, in fact better than some hotels.
There is also free Wi-Fi throughout the hostel, although it is not totally reliable everywhere. The communal areas are usually fine but with so many people attempting to connect, the bandwidth can become strained and it is not always possible to get online.
The Opera restaurant is located above the swimming pool, yes the swimming pool! It is quite upmarket in appearance for the average hostel, but the excellent value menu is far from restaurant prices. The choice of food, beers and wines seems pretty good too; unfortunately however I did not get an opportunity to give it a try.
Catching the conversation or even chatting with the other guests soon reminded me I was in a hostel, they are much friendlier than hotels and the chatter is from party people.
Breakfast is also served here and there is an option of ‘all you can eat’ buffet at a reasonable €6 or a coffee and croissant for just under €3.
Did I mention there is a swimming pool and a sauna? These set it apart from the average hostel, but there is not much else to say except they are pretty cool additional facilities.
This is a large hostel, which is split into two separate halves; it is also very popular as it is located in a one of the ‘hip’ parts of the city. Some of the best clubs and bars are located within a short walk. I was still blessed with several good nights’ sleep and not merely because the room was not shared. The corridors were relatively quiet also.
One minor gripe is that during the stay I encountered the cleaning personnel on several occasions and did not receive a smile even once. In fact they did not even acknowledge my existence, a small point maybe but it is always more pleasant when all members of the team make a guest feel welcome.
Plus Hostels is a chain and if the others are as well facilitated and located as this one in Berlin I will have to use them more often.