Maybe we’re getting older or maybe the tide is changing in backpacker’s taste, but Jules and I have noticed that boutique, upscale hostels are all the rage. These hostels mix hotel comforts with hostel social life, and a perfect example of this is SPIN Designer Hostel El Nido, Palawan. From the moment we entered the hostel we were greeted by a cheerful front desk staff and really got the royal treatment. The design of the hotel is miles above the typical grungy hostel you’ll find on the road, and we kept discovering extra little luxuries included with the stay. Admittedly, SPIN’s rates are higher than neighboring hostels, but when you factor in extras like free breakfast, free drinking water and a million other little touches, you’ll get your money’s worth. Here’s 15 of those things that we absolutely love about SPIN hostel El Nido:
1. The Beds
Jules and I have had our fair share of cramped single dorm beds- his feet hanging over the edge and my restless sleeping banging me into the wall or side rail. Thankfully the team at SPIN has figured out just how important a comfortable bed is. The beds are HUGE! And I don’t mean slightly longer to accommodate tall people, I mean like spread out, sleep diagonally, roll around double beds! And that’s in the DORM, as well as the privates! Heck yes!
2. The Showers
After a big day island hopping around El Nido, all you’ll want is a nice relaxing shower and SPIN has you covered. No weak pressure here, these showerheads are massive, making you feel like you’re showering in a warm tropical downpour. And not that you need to ask at a boutique hostel like SPIN, but yes, there’s hot water. Whether you’re staying in a private room or using the common bathroom in the dorm, the showers are the same, so everyone can enjoy the luxury!
3. The Staff
No matter how nice a hostel is, rude staff can ruin your experience. Luckily SPIN has chosen absolute super stars to run their hostel. From the security guard out front who will protect you from the rain with an umbrella on the short walk from your tuk tuk to the front door, to the staff that carried our bags into our room when we arrived, to the never-ending smiles from Jinky and the gang at reception. Backpackers rarely receive the 5 star concierge treatment, so it’s a real treat!
4. The Breakfast
Forget your measly spread of white bread and Nescafe, SPIN actually serves a real breakfast! There’s a cook making fresh eggs and omelettes to order. A legit selection including wheat bread, pineapple marmalade, cheese, fresh fruits and, my personal favorite, REAL brewed coffee available all day! Caffeine addicts rejoice!
5. The Nightly Activities
The great thing about SPIN hostel El Nido is that they mix hotel luxury with the social atmosphere of a hostel. This means they’re actively finding ways to get the guests mingling. From jam sessions to game nights to arts and crafts, they have a different activity each night!
6. The Lockers
They are HUGE! Like you could have a dance party in there huge. Or stuff your entire backpack in there for safe keeping!
7. The Design
The hostel is designed with sleek modern concrete floors and elements of natural material like bamboo. A lot of thought has been put into the interior design and the gorgeous green landscaping that surrounds the building. It’s this added hotel-like luxury that makes SPIN worth the money.
8. The Common Spaces
The spaces! There are so many spaces! Seriously, there are decks, a patio, a music room with instruments, a game room and more. Plus a communal kitchen if you’d like to cook!
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9. The Guests
Given that it’s a bit more expensive than other hostels in the area, SPIN attracts a certain type of guest. These are people who could probably afford a cheap room at a hotel, but prefer the social life that comes with staying at a hostel. Everyone we met was super friendly and I sincerely think we met some life-long friends here!
10. The Saturday BBQ
On Saturday nights the hostel hosts a BBQ. Huge portions of fish, chicken or pork, plus rice, condiments and a tasty fresh coconut for 170PHP. And when I say huge, I mean HUGE! If you’re not super hungry you can easily split one dinner between two. We arrived on a Saturday and it was the perfect way to mingle and meet the other guests.
11. The Blankets
When you arrive you’ll receive a blanket and towel rolled up with a bamboo twine, a super cute finishing touch. You may be thinking, “I don’t need a blanket in the Philippines.” Trust me. With the AC on, snuggling up in this soft, fuzzy blanket is a dream.
12. It’s Clean
Should be a give-in, but cleanliness is not always a top priority for hostels. At SPIN the staff make sure all of the common areas and rooms stay spotless- a big job for such a spacious hostel!
13. The Extras
Backpackers can tell when a hostel was designed by a true traveler. All of those little extras that really make a difference shine through. At SPIN those extras include a shelf and personal power outlet next to every bed for charging all your electronics. They also provide each bed with a little set of pockets that can hold any personal items, like books or toiletries.
14. Don Don
I know we’ve already listed the staff, but the manager Don Don deserves a special shout-out. A savvy businessman with a constant smile, he is dishing up food on BBQ nights and is always around to hear about guest suggestions or needs. Definitely get in touch with Don Don if you have an idea!
15. Laundry Room
Last on the list, but certainly not least, is the holy grail of hostel amenities. As rare as sighting a wild tarsier, the washing machine is on top of every traveler’s wish list. And best of all, it’s free! Just grab some detergent from the nearest sari-sari, crank up that cycle and enjoy clean clothes! Ahhh, does it get any better?
A huge thank you to all the staff for making our stay at SPIN wonderful! Jules and I were guests at SPIN Hostel El Nido in the Philippines, but all opinions are our own. You can book your stay with SPIN Hostel El Nido here.