Travel

Review: Hostel Mundo Joven Catedral, Mexico City

  
*Facade of Hostel Catedral (photo taken from the internet)
 
So I moved from Hampton Inn & Suites to Hostel Mundo Joven Catedral on the third day of my trip. It was part of my budget-saving strategy with the premise that after two days, I will already have a good feel of the city and would have felt “safer” staying alone in a hostel. Savings were not maximized as I chose to stay in a double-bed ensuite room instead of just occupying a dorm-bed.
 
It took me a lot of time and research before I finally decided to book in Hostel Catedral heavily relying on reviews from various hotel booking sites and gut feel.
What can I say about my stay?
 

Location

Some travellers stay away from the Centro Historico / Zocalo area due to the inherent chaos and noise being in the center of the city. But for me, I found the area’s perceived weakness to be its biggest strength. Being on a very short stay in Mexico City, I thought it was wise to stay in Zocalo.
 
True to its promise, the hostel is right smack in Zocalo. The photo below is taken at the hostel rooftop bar and you can see how close Catedral Metropolitana is. The hostel is literally behind the cathedral. The popular sights in Mexico city such as the Palacio Nacional and Templo Mayor are just a stone’s throw away from the hostel. The Palacio de las Bellas Artes and Torre Latinoamericana which are a bit further are still a convenient walk. The Turibus conveniently stops right in front of the hostel and Metro Line 2 Zocalo Station is also a short walk. Shopping and food choices are endless. This area is very good for people-watching.
 

Checking-in

Checking-in was a breeze. There was no queue since I moved to the hotel in the afternoon. You are given paper bracelet to wear to identify you as a hostel guest. They also give you a kit which comprises of a Mexico City Map, breakfast vouchers, key card and wi-fi password 🙂 The room key card also acts as an entrance key to the billeting area.

I found the scribbles on the key card and meal vouchers cute and thought they are a good “icebreaker” for their guest.

 

Food

At the lobby is La Catedral Restaurant/Coffee Shop serving ala carte meals and where the complimentary breakfasts are served.

Their breakfast has a fair if limited spread – bread, yogurt, eggs, fresh fruits, cereals, selection of juice and hot beverages and probably a few other stuff I can’t remember. Good thing is that breakfast is buffet 🙂

I have also tried the ala carte menu twice when I was just lazy to walk around and look for a place to eat. I also wanted to sample their fare since I have heard good feedback from my tourmates who stayed in the hostel. Yes, it was a very good suggestion I was happy to have taken.

Menu is in Spanish and not all items in the menu have photos. Restaurant crew are just conversant in English and could not help a lot when you need more information on the menu. So what did I do? I asked the waiter what he would recommend and went with his bet – Arrachera Los Mocajetes, not knowing what to expect. The waiter came back with a sizzling bowl and I wondered how I would be able to finish the meal. Los Mocajetes is a mix of sausage, choice of beef steak or chicken, cheese, nopal (cactus) leaves cooked in what seemed like tomato sauce. The waiter said that it must be eaten wrapped in soft pita bread. Me thinks it goes better with rice. Nevertheless, it was a good choice and I finished the whole serving (it wasn’t as intimidating as it looked or I am just a plain glutton). Hahaha…

Meal prices are reasonable and the portions are good for sharing. One other time I ordered their version of nachos. The plate was brimming with nachos – the works! That was just too much for me, I surrendered less than halfway through.

Facilities

I must say that the hostel hass pretty much everything backpackers and budget travellers would need.

The mezzanine contains a cyber cafe and a mini-library which are mostly guide books.

In the lobby there is a travel agency and Wayak Tours booth. I booked a tour with Wayak online and I was pleasantly surprised when I found out they have a booth in the hostel. I had been a regular customer, booking most of my tours with them and was able to haggle prices later on.

Exclusive to guests, the 5th floor of the hostel holds the lovely kitchen and the 6th floor houses the coin-operated and the so-needed laundry area and the happy place – terrace bar. I have not tried the bar but I have also heard good reviews from my tourmates. The bar offers discount to hostel guests.

The hostel has a free left-luggage facility in a “secured room” which is being looked after by a security guard. I deposited my belongings when I checked out and claimed them in the early evening. The system was orderly and it made me feel secure leaving my luggage with them.

The Hostel

I have only stayed twice in a hostel in my entire travel life and both hostels I stayed at have different vibes. Hostel # 1 was more of a basic family-run accommodation. Hostel Catedral is the hostel that I envisioned a hostel to be. For those that are looking for budget sanctuary after long hours of sightseeing, it is good to know that the hostel could cater to any age bracket with varied range of interests. I had an older lady tourmate staying at the hostel and she said she liked her stay at the hostel.

Hostel Catedral offers free walking tours varying each day, normally starting at 10am and lasting for 3 hours. The schedule is posted at the elevator lobby – you wouldn’t miss it. Unfortunately, I was not able to participate in any since I was on paid tours all the time (except the Centro Historico Tour which I took for free with Wayak Tours).

In the evenings, exciting activities are being hosted for the guests. The day I checked in, they were having a pinatas-making class and the following day was movie night. Unfortunately (again), I missed both activities.  Next time I check-in to a hostel again, I would check out walking tours and activities and do my best to participate in at least one.

 The ads are colorful and very enticing. I am loving the fun and playful energy in the hostel stuff, from the meal vouchers to key cards and ads. It is just a lot different from the way hotels do their stuff.

Regarding cleanliness… The common areas are clean, from the lobby to the rooftop. The morning I visited the rooftop bar, it was cleaned from last night’s service and everything was orderly and organized.

Luckily, though the Zocalo area was pretty busy, there were no security and safety issues encountered within the hostel and in the vicinity.

The Room

 I was given a room in the 3rd floor which is right beside the elevator. I did not find it a nuisance being billeted close to the “service area” at all.

The bedroom is basic. There is a TV in the room and you have to borrow the remote control from the Front Desk and deposit 100 Mexican Pesos (i think) or leave your ID. Again, I didn’t have the chance to use the TV and check the channels available.

There are 2 lockers spacious enough to keep a hand-carry luggage and some other stuff. You need to bring your own lock, though.

The bed / bedroom is quite small for 2 people, but since I was alone it suits me just right. There is just one pillow – felt kinda sad because I am a pillow person and I would have wanted at least 3 🙂 Anyway, the room was clean and the sheets are OK, it did not feel itchy and neither were they stained or soiled. So I’m good with that. There are no electric plugs in the bedroom so I charge my gadgets by the toilet sink. Also the room has no A/C. There was no need when I went since it was pretty cool. You can open the windows but beware since room windows open inward to other rooms and other guests could be watching you sleep 🙂

To the right of the entrance is the toilet and further down is the bathroom. The bathroom is small and a bit dark because it just gets its light from the toilet. It has no proper door but just a shower curtain. There is both hot and cold water and towels and other amenities like shampoo and soap are provided. Room cleaning is done daily.

View from my room? Other room windows decorated by hanging artificial plants that I thought looked dainty.

Wi-fi was dependable and a welcome bonus for checking emails and staying connected through Facebook 🙂

It can be a little noisy in the morning during breakfast time and at night with chatting and music. But it quiets down at 11pm. Fair enough for me.

Verdict

Did I find paying $39.50 per night for a double room in a hostel reasonable? Yes, I did. If we were two people, that would be $19.75 each for the room, buffet breakfast and wi-fi connection.

The hostel is in a perfect location and has the right facilities traveller would need. More importantly, the crew were just helpful and friendly. After 2 days, it was just so cool to feel you (quite) belong, seeing familiar faces and warm smiles everytime.

If I had known better, I would have stayed all throughout to save more. I had a pleasant overall experience staying in a hostel and have never encountered any problems at all. I highly recommend Hostel Catedral if you are on a budget but want to get a good value for your money.

I enjoyed my worry-free and stress-free stay and because of that I am considering more hostel stays in the future 🙂

  
Contact Information
Hostel Mundo Joven Catedral
República de Guatemala

No. 4, Col. Centro Histórico
C.P. 06020
Ciudad de México

Phone
(52) (55) 5518 1726
01 800 823 2410

 
Email
 
Website
 
 

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