Clean and friendly
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Bewel Hostel is one of the cleanest and friendliest choices in an area where hostels are popping up faster than flowers in the rainy season. From the bubble-gum pink facade to the giant windows and immaculate dorms, everything about the place is bright and cheerful.
Opened in 2014, Bewel’s charming pink-and-white theme couldn’t be more different than neighbouring 3Howw Hostel’s minimalist-industrial design, which draws on a lot of black and grey. The day-and-night contrast is also evident in the staffs. We’ve found the vibe at 3Howw to be not-so-welcoming and a bit pretentious, while Bewel’s staff were quick to greet us with a smile. The place is kept cool by air-con throughout, but the atmosphere is warm and inviting.
Dorms come in mixed or female-only varieties and include between six and 12 bunks placed on sturdy white frames. A fair amount of space yawns between each bunk, with curtains provided for added privacy. Covered in fresh white sheets, the mattresses are thin but reasonably comfortable. Large windows allow in loads of natural light by day, while thick green curtains keep the street glow out after dark.
Each bunk comes with private reading lamp, electrical outlet and a locker large enough to stash most electronics. Located just across the hall, shared hot-water bathrooms are a bit cramped but clean, with enough showers to go around. Throughout the building, white walls and light polished concrete floors make it obvious that the whole place is spotless.
In addition to the dorms, Bewel offers a fairly large and airy private room with queen-size bed, large windows, balcony and private bathroom. You’ll also find a family room that can sleep up to five. The prices we were quoted as walk-ins, which are similar to what we saw on Agoda, are significantly cheaper than what’s written on a sheet at reception. As long as those listed prices are not employed, it’s solid value across the board.
While the building isn’t huge, the owners have made the most of it by taking out entire portions of the original upper floors to create high ceilings in the lobby and an open feel upstairs. Countless windows add to the sense of spaciousness in a second floor lounge where guests can watch a large LCD TV, check their email at a couple of communal computers (WiFi is also free) or just kick back on a couch or beanbag chair.
There’s a communal kitchen if you feel like cooking, and complimentary breakfasts are served in the ground-floor coffee shop where it’s easy to chat up other travellers and the helpful staff. Narrow Samsen Soi 4 and the surrounding neighbourhood hosts several low-key cafes that mix with hole-in-the-wall noodle shops, convenience stores and laundromats. Khao San Road is no more than a 10-minute stroll to the south.
Bewel is one of a number of quality hostels in the general north of Khao San vicinity. Options with similar atmospheres and rates include the excellent Khaosan Immjai and Rang Kha Mhin, while those seeking more luxury can check out Suneta and NapPark. If you’re looking for a bit cheaper but still good, Samsen Skyline and Born Free, which is also on Samsen 4, are both good choices.
By David Luekens
Last updated on 3rd February, 2016.