While I adore the concept of hostels with their shared spaces and camaraderie of like-minded travelers, I’ve come to loathe sharing bunk-bed stuffed dorms with my fellow budget backpackers. When it comes to sleeping, I don’t require much more than a mattress and a hot shower, so splurging on expensive hotel rooms feels excessive.
Enter CityHub Rotterdam, a new concept hotel that changed my travel life. It’s like a hostel with shared spaces, but you get your own super cozy pod. I paid about $40 USD to stay here. For comparison, the last Dutch hostel I stayed in cost $32 USD for a damp basement room that I shared with seven other people, with one particular dude that I thought might die during the night based on the noises and smells emanating from his body.
Welcome to the Hub: Your personal “hub” is an exercise in beautiful simplicity. The door leads into a full sized area (think of a large closet), with room to change and storage for your bags. You’ll either be climbing up or ducking down to a spacious sized bed with more than enough room for two people (and just plain luxury for one very tired music festival reporter).
Living That Modern Life: The Netherlands loves tech and CityHub has embraced it completely. Your check-in is done via a computer screen where you register your wristband room key. The CityHub app controls the lighting in your hub along with a chat screen that connects directly with the front desk. You can even hook attach your phone via Bluetooth to the in-pod speaker system.
CityHost: The front desk staff here are called CityHosts, and they are topnotch at helping out. Unlike a lot of hostels I’ve stayed at in western Europe, this is a knowledgeable, friendly, and outgoing group. There’s always a CityHost in the lobby to answer questions. Or if you don’t want to get out of bed, you can pester them via the app.
Shared Spaces: The trade off for the privacy and the price is that you do have shared bathrooms. Having spent most of the last five years smashing my way through Europe’s tiny showers, the facilities here were fantastic. The only issue is waking up in the middle of the night and stumbling your way to the bathroom down the hall.
How Did I Sleep? Oh, this bed was comfortable. At one point during the night, there was a commotion out in the hall. In a normal hostel dorm, this would be the drunks coming home to wake me up, but at CityHub I just closed the shades on my window and drifted back to sleep.
The Final Score: 5 out of 5. I know I’ve been gushing about this place, but it was so ideal for my lifestyle that I booked three additional nights after the first one. I’m hoping more places like this spring up for digital nomads who just need basic single accommodations without the price.