Contradicting elements flaw a hostel with great potential.
Wallyard Concept Hostel is a boutique style hostel offering dorms and private rooms. First impressions are promising as you enter through a mural painted courtyard into a well designed, chilled reception and lounge. Things begin to go downhill when you get to the rooms but overall there’s good potential.
Welcome to the Moabit district. It’s not exactly central being 2.9 kilometers from the Brandenburg Gate, but I was happy to explore a new area having just spent the previous 2 days at St. Christopher’s Inn on the other side of town. The closest attractions are a criss-crossing of streets full of shops, supermarkets, Turkish restaurants, and cheap bakeries. It’s a good area to soak up some local life and is also home to the excellent Garcia Kaffeebar.
This is the first hostel I’ve come across with a 3pm and not 2pm check-in time, so be aware of arriving too early. The welcome was friendly and efficient. Paying by card incurs a 3% charge and the key deposit is 5 euros or a form of ID.
Towels are 2 euros. There are hair dryers in the shower rooms but no shower gel or shampoo so bring your own. For 6 euros you get a continental breakfast.
This is where things started to disappoint. The rooms are in a separate building next door, reached by going out of the hostel’s main yard. A key code gets you into the accommodation building and an elevator takes you to your floor. The hallway on my floor was bare, grey concrete with grey painted doors to each room, a stark contrast to the cosy atmosphere of the reception area and lounge.
The dorm room itself was similarly spartan. Metal bunks with no personal shelves or reading lamps. After choosing a bed (there was no option to reserve a particular bed at this hostel) I was then faced with the task of fitting my own bed linen. This wasn’t the first time I’ve had to do this in a hostel but for some reason it became a traumatic experience. Partly because the room was so small, I had to stand on a stool to get the cover on the duvet without letting it go on the floor. I was also tired from all the walking I’d done that day and so it became an enormous struggle. Anyone who has tried to fit a heavy duvet cover even in normal circumstances can appreciate this. A couple of Ukrainian guys arrived later that evening after several beers and had an even worse time than me.
Further about the size of the room: it became clear the second night when all 6 beds were occupied just how cramped the space was. Standing room between the two bunks closest to the window only allowed one person at a time. Things felt even more claustrophobic when two of the other guys in the room turned out to be snorers.
A final gripe is a result of the beds having no personal reading lamps. This meant the overhead lights staying on until late with no option to dim the lighting. On my last night the two Ukrainian guys came back around 2 in the morning and although they were considerate enough not to turn the top light on they propped the door of the room open with the waste bin while they got ready for bed, which flooded the room with light from the hallway.
My overall impression was that the dorm hadn’t been designed by anyone who has experience of staying in hostels and with knowledge of what travelers need most. Instead, the concept seemed one of squeezing in as many bunk beds as possible – and that’s it.
On the plus side, the room was well heated, linen and floors were clean and the lockers were big enough to fit a decent amount of stuff.
The showers had the same utilitarian feel as the dormitories and hallways, simple tiled cubicles with curtain and steel shower head. Water pressure was excellent and the hot water never ran out, which is all I really want in a shower. Plenty of showers meant I never had to wait, although that was partly due to being low season.
The hostel doesn’t have a kitchen, so eat out or bring back a take away to have in the lounge.
One of the nicest things about Wallyard is the nicely designed lounge area. Lots of comfy chairs, ambient lighting and music give a great space to chill out. During high season I can see this being a cool place to relax and meet other guests, however during my stay in mid December there was hardly ever anyone else around and felt quite lonely. The friendly staff did make up for this somewhat and I had few good chats with them. I did also find that the rooms being completely separated from the reception and lounge created a strange, disconnected feeling by having to exit to the street to get between the two buildings.
A bed in a 6 bed dorm cost me around 15 euros a night over the weekend. This was one of the cheaper options in Berlin when most other hostels charge though the roof on weekends, but considering how basic the dorms are and that everything else besides the bed is extra, Wallyard didn’t feel like amazing value.
I’m still trying to work out the “concept” at Wallyard Concept Hostel. Sterile, bare basic dorms and a hip lounge add up to an overall disjointed experience. I’ve seen hostels with a much clearer defined vision of the experience they’re trying to offer. If you’re coming to Berlin to party and just want somewhere to crash your head, Wallyard does the job. Admittedly, low season was not the time to see this place at its best. The friendly, genuine staff were a bonus and I sensed good potential. I’d be interested to come back in summer to experience the atmosphere when there are more people around.
Overall Score: 3/5
Wallyard Concept Hostel Berlin
LübeckerbStraße 46, Mitte, 10559 Berlin, Germany
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