Hostel Review – Villa Saint Exupery Gardens in Nice, France
Nice was really one of the surprises of my trip across Europe. I had a feeling I would like the parts of France not called Paris (although I really liked Paris as well), but I didn’t think I would enjoy Nice as much as I did. I had actually added Nice to my plans only because I didn’t want to travel all the way from Rome to Marseille in one day. It ended up being a great decision as Nice was amazing and Marseille is, well, not as “Nice” (pardon the pun).
Anyways, one of the best parts about Nice was the hostel. Although it was quiet a ways from downtown, it had a really cool feel to it and it was packed with some interesting people as a bonus. Here is my usual analysis.
The room that I was in wasn’t exactly in its prime. It could have used a new coat of paint and the bed squeaked so much that I was scared to move around in the night as to not wake the neighbours. However, the bathroom adjoined was very good and the shower spit warm water, which – considering the cold rain draped over town – was a welcome relief.
The facilities were good for the most part. I ran into some issues with the internet on a couple occasions and really could only use it in the lounge. However, places like the lounge area really made this place the great hostel it was. There is a bar that was busy nightly and a really great kitchen. If you didn’t feel like cooking yourself, there was a pizza chef on standby and the prices were very reasonable. The bar too didn’t break the budget as we were pulling down 4 Euro bottles of wine.
Like all hostels outside of the center you can look at the location in two different lights. For one, yes it was difficult to get to. One has to catch the trolley up the hill, then catch a shuttle van to the hostel (the shuttle was free and supplied by the hostel). On the brightside, the location outside the center is much quieter and has a great view over the city (although I wish they had a better area for checking out the vista). The other benefit of the location is that the people staying there tend to hang out around the hostel at night which means that there is always a lively atmosphere.
I have no complaints about the staff at all. The front desk receptionist was very friendly and helpful, although he looked over worked on most days. The bar staff was very friendly and outgoing. In the kitchen the pizza chef was very pleasant. So yeah, all good in this category.
Atmosphere and Fun
The less than perfect location actually benefits this category. The atmosphere of the bar and lounge area is very enthusiastic and people are always around. It’s a great environment for meeting people. And as an added benefit, the hostel also organizes some nighttime “excursions” into downtown Nice. I loved the atmosphere of this place and it is what made the hostel for me.
When it comes to hostels, each person has their preference. Personally, had I not been reviewing this place, I would have likely stayed somewhere closer to town based on the location. However, after staying here for a couple nights I’d gladly stay in this spot again. I loved the atmosphere and could definitely see myself spending a couple more nights here sipping on cheap wine and engaging in some fun conversation with fellow travellers.