After nearly an hour of navigating our way around the backstreets of Budapest, we finally found the apartment building door where the Maxim Hostel was situated. We spotted a tiny sign that read ‘Hostel Maxim’ stuck to the keypad of the apartment’s coding system and rang through. The hostel owner himself wasn’t there at the time and was advised us he would shortly be arriving. We let ourselves into the hallway area, a shabby unclean pathway to a lift that one may find in a horror film.
We braved the shabby lift and soon spotted the hostel bedrooms through a window overlooking the outer hallway of the third floor. We were let in by a traveller to what felt like someone’s home equipped with outdated decor and no staff in sight. Shortly after we were informed that our room, in which we had put down a deposit for, had been double booked and that the hostel was full. The only other option was heading to another ‘hostel’ a few roads away for the same price. As two females exploring a country we had never visited before, being led to another dodgy apartment building sent alarm bells ringing. We approached the second tower, ask for our deposit back and kindly refused the offer. The situation did not add up and made us feel extremely uncomfortable. Thankfully we had passed an IBIS hotel a few roads away, booked a room and relaxed for the evening.
With every cloud there is a silver lining and refusing to stay at Maxim Hostel led to better things. We came across Absolut City Hostel after a quick google search on the following morning and decided to pop in and see if any rooms were available. We were instantly reassured by the legitimate hostel sign and more welcoming lobby area. The CCTV and buzzer system reassured us further and a warm welcome by the hostel staff made us feel at home. They had a twin room available for four nights priced between £8-£10 overlooking the Deák Ferenc Square. Benign to our knowledge, we were situated in central Budapest, a 5 minute walk from a plethora of restaurants and the top night clubs in Buda. The rooms were clean, the showers and bathrooms pleasant and the beds extremely comfortable. The room was equipped with two single beds, a table and two chairs, a TV, lockable wardrobes and a mirror. The hostel staff, particularly the owner who spoke little English was so wonderful we cannot sing her enough praises. Helpful at any hour of the day, the staff advised us on sightseeing, eating out and of course the partying scene. The staff booked us an airport shuttle to collect us from the hostel on our day of departure and we were warmly greeted by our lovely hostel owner at 3AM to wish us farewell and make sure we were awake and ready to go. Hospitality and welcoming arms make all the difference when staying abroad and we could not fault this hostel!