I will be visiting Munich with my two college daughters next spring. We are considering staying in a hostel. We will be there during the week and would stay in a private room but probably have a shared bathroom. Any adult travelers with hostel experience? Will this be too much of a party scene for mom?? thank you!
I've stayed in a lot of hostels as a solo adult traveler. Still do on rare occasions.
If it's a private hostel you may or may not have a party scene - depends on the hostel.
If it's a DJH (official HI) hostel, then you may be heavily pestered by school groups. It's very common during the school year for entire classes to go on week-long outings, and these groups stay at hostels because they get terrific all-inclusive rates. These groups are "bread and butter" business for DJH hostels. But they are almost always poorly supervised groups of pre-teens that raise holy H. day and night.
I'm sure you can find a decent hotel or Ferienwohnung (vacation apartment) somewhere since you have so much time, one that is competitive in price with hostels, or cheaper, where you can sleep well and have some privacy. Will you be seeing anything outside Munich? It's sometimes easier and cheaper to find apartments outside the metro area and to commute into Munich for a visit.
I only consider DJH hostels nowadays if I'm sure the school kids are home with their parents.
It really does depend on the hostel. I spent my 45th birthday at a hostel in Scotland. :) There are review sites specifically for hostels, but you can also look on TripAdvisor.
I've only priced hostels in Italy, but that research led me to believe that I can always do better renting an inexpensive apartment...and that would be especially true here since you are a group of three. Try VRBO, focus on listings that have lots of recent, positive reviews and fast response from the owners and you should be fine.
I'm 60+ and still stay in Hostels on occasion. That often means sharing Dorm rooms with people of all ages (and some of them have been co-ed).
As someone else mentioned, whether the Hostel is a "party palace" will depend on which one you choose. I often use HI Hostels (membership required, but not expensive) and have found those are well run, have fairly consistent standards from one property to the next, and sometimes have several properties in a city. However, they can be packed with school groups on occasion. I don't find that to be a problem, as I'm typically only in the Hostel to sleep and shower. If you have a private room, that shouldn't be a problem.
One advantage of a Hostel over an apartment, is that there will be other kids there the same age as your daughters and that may be a more interesting experience for them to chat with other kids from all over the world.
I have only stayed in a hostel twice, both times were at the Stayokay Vondelpark Hostel in Amsterdam. The first time was in a co-ed 12 person room and the second time was a private room with just me and my wife. Although my hostel experience is very limited and that particular hostel was very diverse in age group and also enormous, on thing that I realized is that it really depends on how the hostel is marketed. Check TripAdvisor or HI website or any other review site you can get your hands on and see who they market too. The hostel I stayed at catered to both the party loving student travelers but also to families as was evident duing the included breakfast. I saw students, families with small children, adult travelers like myself, as well as seniors. Second, it depends on the time of year. Both time I traveled during shoulder season (October and May) and so it wasn't too crazy. I was a bit self conscious too when I went (first time I was 32 second time I was 38) but everything turned out fine.
I stayed at my first hostel in my 50's. It was and will always be a pvt room. A shared bathroom has never been a prob. I had some trepedition at first but i am careful which hostels i select. So far it has worked out well and thry have been very clean. Give it a chance and it usually saves euros.
I am 62 and have been staying at hostels for perhaps 40 years. I tend to avoid the "official" HI hostels in Europe because they are often booked out to school groups and if you are lucky [or unlucky] enough to get in you are surrounded by groups of noisy, badly behaved, largely unsupervised kids and teenagers running wild. It is a bit cheeky to have to buy a membership in HI and put up with that. There are many private hostels and they run the gamut. Check the reviews on TripAdvisor [most reliable], Hostelworld, and Hostelbookers to get an idea of the atmosphere. Many hostels have a web site as well and will let you know , sometimes explicitly, sometimes not, whether they "party hearty".
If you're looking at hostels because of cost I would definitely recommend looking at some apartments. With 3 people apartments can often be even cheaper than hostels, although there wouldn't be any included breakfast with an apartment. Even with just myself I found apartments that were only a few euros more than hostels so I splurged that little bit extra for a place of my own.
I wonder with three people if you really save enough in a hostel to make up for the challenges of staying there?
We stayed at the Munich City Center Hilton in a very nice room with an amazing breakfast included for $149 this summer. When I looked at some of the more recommended hostels in Munich, the price for 3 people was close to $50 a person. I don't see a significant savings for the hostel over a hotel room. Am I missing something?
Thank you to everyone for your comments. No one replied with a strong "don't do it" so I'll keep the hostel on the list for now and look into apartments as suggested. The hostel I'm considering would run somewhere between $65-80/night for the 3 of us - their reservation calendar doesn't go out that far so I'm guesstimating - also depends on ensuite or shared bath. Compared to $150+ for a hotel, maybe it's worth it? Trying to stay within a budget and lodging offers many options to splurge or skimp.
You could also look at some of the smaller budget hotels listed in the guidebooks, as the price may not be much different than a Hostel. Some of them have rooms that will accommodate three people. If you want to look at that option, I'm sure the group here will be able to offer lots of suggestions.
I'm open to any suggestions!
I'm twenty years ahead of you, still stay in a hostel at least once on a trip either in a dorm room or a private room. In my 20s I almost always stayed at DJH/HI hostels in Germany...no private independent hostels back then. The HI hostel is not for me anymore unless there is nothing else, since i don't want to run into school groups. Now, I stay in the private, independent hostel...no school groups there...but also no curfew, no lights out, etc. Whether it's a coed dorm room with 5 other roomies (makes no difference to me) or a private room, the WC and shower are inside the room. The only age limit you might run into is one set at 35 at a private hostel. (I've never stayed at one of those). No HI hostel has an age limit anymore, not even in Bavaria, which was traditionally known for the age limit of 26 imposed at its HI hostels. In Munich as in Vienna I recommend the Wombats Hostel ca 2-3 mins from Munich Hbf ( central station), if you have nothing against staying near the Hbf.
"I'm open to any suggestions!"
Stay outside Munich? The town of Prien on Chiemsee Lake is on the main train line between Munich and Salzburg. It's a very scenic location. Take a direct train to either Munich or Salzburg in 60 minutes; a day pass (Bavaria Ticket) covers 3 of you for €33 whether you head to Munich or Salzburg - or Berchtesgaden or wherever in Bavaria. (And in Munich the pass is also good for getting around on all modes of public transit there.) Chiemsee Lake is the home of King Ludwig II's palace, Herrenchiemsee. This apartment w/ 2 separate bedrooms and a balcony goes for €50 per night. You can surely find others like it in Prien this far in advance. This one rents for €59/night.
One more thing: If it's three of you, you could get a Pension or a small hotel (lots of them) in the Munich train station area. Hostel or Pension...it's a trade-off. If you time your trip as to when you need the laundry done, then the Wombats Hostel is advantageous since it has these facilities on the lower floor. You won't have go looking for a coin laundry. The small hotel or Pension most likely won't have this service.....I only know of one in Berlin that provides this additional and needed service. Traveling solo in Munich I've done both...stay at a Pension and also at the Wombats Hostel.
No worries. We are a family and stay in them all the time. No weird looks or cross glances. It all depends on the individual hostel as far as the atmosphere (I hear that people 'of our age' should think twice about staying somewhere like 'The Flying Pig' in Amsterdam). Some are VERY family-centered and many do entertain large school/scout groups. That being said I have stayed at one, which hosted a lot of youths, that was also hosting a small business retreat for a specific company. So the full gamut.
I should add, that at the Stayokay hostel we stayed at (Stayokay is actually a chain with multiple locations throughout), their facility was huge, with self-service laundry, a relatively generous breakfast buffet with plenty of seating, a bar, a restaurant, and 24 hour front desk. I found this conducive to families with young children because all the amenities was within the hostels well secured grounds.
You absolutely have nothing to worry about. There are families staying in hostels all the time. Last time i even met this cute elderly couple in one of the hostels i stayed in Rome. They are probably in their 60s and still in a hostel.
Often the shared bathroom is used by only one or two other people - or none at all. The dorm rooms usually have their own toilets and showers. For 3 people, you could get a 4-person room (you will pay for 4 people) and have it to yourselves, with a private bathroom. If you choose to buy only 3 beds, you'll be sharing with one other person (or more if you opt for a larger room). Another options would be to get a single private room and a double private room. The downside is that they may not be close to each other.
Hostelworld.com can help you choose a hostel. Read the descriptions and the reviews.
I've stayed in hostels many times alone and with family. You can read reviews from different hostels, some are party spots - others aren't at all, just a convenient place to stay a night cheaply. You can tell by the reviews (if the reviews use the word party regularly, it's probably one to skip).
As a general rule, whenever you want private rooms (rather than a bunk with a bathroom down the hall) you can find better, more economical options elsewhere.
Check out tripadvisor search the budget options.