At Saturday’s San Diego Flyertalk dinner, nzpilot and I started talking about upcoming mileage runs to Shanghai. I mentioned I had stayed at a hostel on my last trip and would post a review.
In November 2011, I did two mileage runs to Shanghai, but to get the lowest airfare you had to stay 3 days. Since my second mileage run was the week of Thanksgiving, hotel rates in downtown Shanghai started at $300 a night.
I wasn’t about to spend $600 on hotels when my airfare was only $700. So I compromised and booked the Mingtown Nanjing Road Youth Hostel for the first night and the Peninsula Shanghai for the second. (More on the Peninsula Shanghai in the another post.)
Mingtown Nanjing Road Youth Hostel
I choose the Mingtown Nanjing Road Youth Hostel because:
- it was walking distance from the metro and the Bund
- the price was amazing
- I’ve never stayed in a hostel and wanted to see what all the fuss was about
In 2011, the Mingtown Nanjing Road Youth Hostel had just opened and had yet to be reviewed. So I was more than a bit nervous about staying there.
The Mingtown Nanjing Road Youth Hostel is in a great location. You can easily walk from the East Nanjing Road metro station, and the Bund is a short walk away.
There is no airport shuttle but you can take the Maglev to the metro and then walk to the hostel. This is the cheapest way if you’re traveling by yourself or if there’s just two of you.
For three or more people, it’s cheaper to take a cab from the airport. But many cab drivers aren’t familiar with the location so it could cost you more if they take you the long way.
For my first hostel experience, I opted for my own room vs a dorm room.
Not a lot to look at during the evening – or maybe because it was close to midnight when I arrived.
During the day the road gets busy but this was about 5am so no traffic yet.
The metro is about two blocks up the street.
I booked a basic twin private ensuite for $100 CNY per person.
With a hostel, if a room accommodates more than 1 person, you have to pay for the number of people that can sleep in a room, even if you have less than the maximum number.
Since the room had 2 twins, I had to pay for 2 people, making my total $200 CNY total, or about $35.11.
Here’s another view of the room.
If you like a firm bed, you’ll love these beds.
Like most beds in China, (with the exception of US branded hotels) the mattresses are very firm.
I used the comforter from the second bed as a cushion so it was more comfortable.
But I could still feel that pea. (wink)
There’s not much to the room other than the beds, a small table and chair, hot water pot, lamp, mirror, hangers, and bathroom.
But sometimes that’s all you need.
The table is just large enough to work on. The outlet was above the table (always a plus) vs hidden below as in some hotels/hostels/bed and breakfast establishments.
There’s an open closet with a mirror, hanging hooks, hangers, and slippers.
I enjoyed having the use of the slippers. I’m guessing red was for women and blue for men.
The heating and air conditioning unit worked great! It can get really hot in Shanghai so having air conditioning is a must!
The only drawback was needing a chair to reach the unit, as it was practically ceiling level.
As with most hotels in Asia, you put your keycard in the slot to activate the electricity.
You can see the keycard slot on the wall adjacent to the bathroom.
Since the bathroom was tiny, this was the best shot I could get of the sink.
The sink was normal sized, which given the size of the bathroom was pretty generous.
It was only about 5 inches deep, just deep enough to be able to wash a few things.
The toilet was a bit narrow, but the height was perfect.
I hate hotels with low toilets – I don’t want to be forced to exercise and do squats to get on and off a toilet.
The shower was compact but more than spacious enough to turn around without knocking elbows on the glass.
Toiletries are not provided so you will need to bring your own.
A towel, wash cloth, and hand towel; there might have been two of each but it’s been almost two years since my stay so my memory is a little fuzzy on that point.
My flight arrived late and it was after 11pm when I arrived at the hotel.
Check-in was quick and easy. The front desk is on the ground floor in the same area as the “café” or dining area.
I wasn’t able to get any photos since every seat was occupied with everyone using the wifi.
The balance of my room was due – you pay a 10% deposit when you book a hostel and the balance at check-in.
A $100 cash deposit was also required, but was given back at check-out.
I was given my key and directed to my room on the 3rd floor (if I remember correctly….)
The hostel has wifi but since I got in late and left first thing in the morning (so I could get to Yu Yang Gardens before the crowds), I never tried it.
There’s also a kitchen, game room, and laundry.
If you’re looking for a fancy room, this isn’t the place. But it’s a clean hostel in a great location, walking distance to metro and the Bund, and had working air conditioning and/or heat. And for $35 a night for what I consider a hotel room, it’s one of the best deals in Shanghai.
I’d definitely stay at the Mingtown Nanjing Road Youth Hostel again.
This review is based on my experience on November 21, 2011.
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