I’m going to be a bit controversial with my review of Hostel Celica because there were some bits I liked about it and some bits I didn’t. Everyone seems to rave about it, but I felt it was somewhat lacking.
The Hostel Celica in Ljubljana is a converted prison and is a tourist attraction in its own right. I went there because several people recommended it to me via Twitter and Facebook, plus it seemed very different and quirky. It’s not every day you get to stay in dorm rooms that have prison cell bars for doors.
Firstly, the directions to the hostel are not very accurate. The directions said that when you arrive at the train station, to follow the blue signs to the hostel. I should have checked the exact location on a map, but assumed that this hostel was pretty well signposted. Well at 9 o’clock at night, we walked outside the station and couldn’t see one sign. We then traipsed round the streets for about 30 minutes, before finding a tourist map and asking for directions.
For future reference, when you come out of the train station you make a left onto the main road and then you turn right onto Metelkova Ulica. The hostel is located in a car park with all these graffiti buildings and barbed wire.
In the beginning we were given a room on the top floor with an en suite bathroom, but when we dragged our bags upstairs, the room was far too cramped for the three of us and the en-suite smelled very badly of drains. None of us could stand the smell, so I went down to ask the receptionist if we could change rooms. This seemed to be no problem, and we were given a 3-person room on the first floor without an en-suite.
This room was much better minus the drain smell, although still very cramped with two of us sharing a double bed and one of us on a bunk bed directly overhead. There’s no side on the top bunk so if someone falls out of bed in the middle of the night, they are going to land directly on top of you.
The positive points were that the beds were clean and the rooms were very new, plus they give you a towel and a chocolate on top. It’s pretty swanky for a hostel, although the rooms are way too small.
The weirdest thing about the hostel is the people that stay here. We were the only English-speaking people staying in the hostel, and the only backpackers. The clientele here seemed to consist of businessmen and school children. When we booked an extra night, we had to change rooms again, and were given a 5-bed dorm which we shared with two middle-aged men. Not a pretty sight to see a 50 year old man in his Y-fronts in the morning!
Downstairs the hostel seemed to be open to the public. The doors to get up to the dorms are locked so that people can’t get upstairs, but the communal areas are open to everyone. It’s really weird to come downstairs and find all these locals who’ve come in from the streets listening to a live folk band. One morning I went down in a hoodie and sweatpants to get a bottle of water and there were businessmen in suits everywhere. Very bizarre.
Breakfast consisted of scrambled eggs, cheese, salami, rolls, cereal, juice, tea and coffee but at 4,50 euros, I think you could get better breakfast in the city centre. One day we sat in a nice riverside café and ordered coffees plus cheese and ham toasties for less. What annoyed us about the breakfast is that it was advertised as a free breakfast when you’re staying in the hostel. We were made to pay and when I asked the receptionist why, she said that if you book through Hostelbookers or Hostelworld, the breakfast isn’t free. So if you want free breakfast, book directly through them!
The WiFi there is rather annoying. It is free, which is good, but you have to get a strip of paper with a username and password from reception. Every time you want to use the internet, you have to ask for a new piece of paper, as the login username and password expires after a few hours. If you need access to the internet, ask for a room on the first floor, because the second floor doesn’t pick up the WiFi.
We found some of the people who worked in the hostel to be helpful, but some of them weren’t and acted like it was a chore to help. The overall impression I got from the hostel is that it isn’t designed to be backpacker friendly. There is no lift in the hostel to get your bags up to the rooms, and it seems to be geared towards locals.
We did manage to arrange a car for hire through reception which cost 50 Euros for the day. When we picked up the hire car we had an automatic Mercedes, nice!
Would I stay there again? Well it’s very convenient since it is located close to the train station, so no dragging your luggage into the city centre. On the other hand, I would prefer to stay somewhere more backpacker friendly, like the Alibi Hostel on the river. When we booked to stay at the Alibi Hostel in Piran, we had to take our transfer from the Alibi Hostel in the centre of Ljubljana. The hostel wasn’t as nice inside, but the receptionist was very helpful and there were useful posters about where to go out partying on each day of the week. Useful information is something I like in a hostel and it was slap bang in the centre so you could stumble in from a night out.
To book this hostel, click here.