Athenstyle made me love hostels again

Over the years I’ve unintentionally turned into an anti-hostel snob. You know, the kind of person who sits around a dinner table sipping coffee and saying things like, “You don’t get to meet REAL locals when you stay in a hostel. I look for REAL travel experiences, like camping in a roadside ditch in India during a rainstorm while eating only cheese and crackers forever.” That kind of person.

I’m also a notoriously bad sleeper, meaning the whole dorm-style room typically doesn’t work for me. So for the past couple of years I’ve favoured Airbnb and Couchsurfing.

View from Athenstyle

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve spent lots of times in hostels, too. But mostly on my first trip abroad, to England, and then a few places in between since then. Certainly not for long-term trips.

But as a solo traveler on my first trip to Greece, a hostel seemed like a good idea. So I booked a private room at Athenstyle next to Monastiraki Square. I ended up with a suite, fully stocked with a small kitchen and a massive balcony overlooking the street. I also had a stellar view of the Acropolis.

Being the off-season, the hostel wasn’t particularly busy, but the insanely awesome rooftop bar still opens in the evenings. Considering pints of beer around Athens are at least 5EUR, the two-for-one Happy Hour with its 3EUR pints was pretty inviting.

Dining alone is one thing, but drinking alone? I awkwardly sidled up to the bar, said hello to the bartender, Anna, and ordered a pint. We started making small talk, and as others filed in, I started chatting with the guy next to me named Steve, Anna’s boyfriend. They’d been working at Athenstyle for awhile, and before I knew it, I had a circle of new friends to hang out with.

You’re all rolling your eyes and thinking, duh, that’s what hostels are all about. But this significance of “breaking the ice” was important to me. It hadn’t completely occurred to me how depressed I had been while living in St. John’s these past few months. Truthfully, I had felt trapped. I love my roommates and I love my friends back there, but most of them are settled with significant others and have big plans for the future. Even at my “going away” party I had to drag people out to the bar with me, and most of my crew politely declined. I suppose they’re growing up and I’m a little left behind.

The openness of meeting people, and the EASE of doing so, was a shock. I rarely get to meet new people in St. John’s these days. It’s just hard to do.

The gang watching the Finland VS Canada game

Over the next couple of days in Athens, I spent a fair amount of time with Anna, Steve, and the other hostel visitors. The lovely owner, Sofia, joined me for coffee one day to talk about how things are changing in the city. I watched Canada kick Finland’s butt in Olympics hockey in an Irish pub.

The hostel itself is lovely, with ample lounge space in the downstairs lobby and a 24-hour front desk. It’s also a member of the Famous Hostels group, a designated title for only the most special of special hostels.

If you’re in Athens, I definitely recommend Athenstyle. And Athenstyle friends, I’ll see you mid-April!

  • March 05 2014

    I stayed there almost 5 years ago. Same experience and the view from the balcony in the evening is breathtaking.

    • March 10 2014

      AWESOME! Love hearing when others have similarly great experiences.

  • March 05 2014

    Sounds great, especially the happy hour! Glad to hear you made some new friends :)

  • March 06 2014
    Trusted Traveller

    I stayed there too! It’s one of the better hostels I have stayed in around the world. My room looked very similar to yours minus the balcony. And the bar is definitely the best part. We met some really fun people up there over a Mythos or two.

    • March 10 2014

      Agh, I LOVE that bar! I hope they let me back in when I come through Athens again, haha.

  • March 06 2014

    Candice, we need to chat because I’m going on my first ever solo trip this summer and I need tips! This will definitely be going on the list if I go to Greece (I want to so bad).

    • March 10 2014

      We DEFINITELY can chat. Although I’m a newb at this, haha, so I probably don’t have a lot of advice. BUT almost every woman I’ve met while here is travelling solo. Greece is quite female friendly.

  • March 06 2014

    Thanks for the tip! I will totally be hitting this hostel UP!

  • April 01 2014

    Glad this has changed your mind around. I’m a big hostel lover – in fact, I would choose hostels over a hotel ANYTIME! mostly for this socialisation reason. Seems like meeting new people with similar mindsets to yours will do you some good…. hostels are great for that! (though you can’t fault meeting likes with couchsurfing and such either)

    • April 03 2014

      Agreed! I’ve met so many wonderful people in hostels now. But I do enjoy the privacy and luxury of a good hotel room every now and then. Can’t be beat.

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