Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Sef-service Piano Hostel, Bergen, Norway

Piano Hostel, Bergen was a bit unique compared to other hostels I stayed at in other European towns. Piano Hostel operates more of ‘Self Service’ model. Don’t expect anyone to be present at reception to receive you. The main door is access controlled- access key will be communicated to you on the day of your booking. Money will be charged to your card the previous day. When you arrive at Piano hostel you need to enter using the access key provided, settle down in the bed number communicated to you.

I arrived in Bergen city at about 11 AM. By check in time was about 2 PM. I had not received my access key to main door yet. I thought of trying my luck for an early checkin and went to the hostel. At the reception there was a man working- a carpenter. When I introduced myself he called the property owner on his nokia 1100 like cell phone. Property owner spoke to me, identified my name in the list of guests and gave me the access key over phone. He said I can check in early, but if the bed is not ready I need to manage.

I went in, identified my bed and took rest for a while. On the door there was a sticker that said rates begin as low as 190 NOK. I had paid a much higher 320 NOK per night. I had booked about 2 weeks ago, weekend stay. May be the cheapest rates are for off season, week days. There are no one to ask, but at least we now know the benchmark price. If you can get this hostel for about 200-250 NOK a night, then it is very good deal. Else you might be paying a bit more. I spotted few more hostels in nearby buildings.

Piano hostel is located at pretty convenient location. Bergen railway station is about 1 KM from hostel. There are two Indian restaurants (aarti and Taste of India) within walking distance. City centre and Nyhavn are also within 1 -1.5 kms from Piano hostel.

Except the hostel banner which had Piano keyboard painting, there was no other signs of musical instruments/music anywhere in the hostel. So don’t expect you can play a Piano in your free time if you stay here.

Beds are OK. The one I got was not the most convenient as I couldn’t rest against the wall and work, due to a protruding platform (that would be used to keep say soap or a phone). But other beds with different alignment to wall might have different behavior. They have two rooms, with about 12 beds in each room. Not too much open space or privacy. Hostel has 2 bathrooms, a kitchen and a refrigerator. Bathrooms are outside the bed room, guests should bring their own towel. Lockers were NOT ok. Lockers are small- can’t take backpack. It can hold small bags/laptops and stuff like that. But Lockers are chargeable- 10 NOK per use. You need to insert a coin to be able to lock the locker and take out the key. Once you open that money is gone. If you need to lock again, another 10 NOK.

Even while check out there is no human intervention need. No deposit to collect back, no need to return bedsheets (some hostels need you to pick-up your bedsheets and drop it in a bin). Some hostels with a reception will have a provision wherein you can keep your bag there and collect it later (useful when your return flight is in late evening but you have to check out by 11AM)- no such provision in Piano hostel as locker can't take big bags and there are no human staff around. I had to check out early and carry my bag all around because of this.

Free WiFi is offered and is decent.

Overall Piano hostel, Bergen was a different experience. Haven’t stayed in other hostels in the area to confirm if this is the best or not. I think Piano is one of the cheapest options to stay in town. If you are fine with some of the limitations stated above (small locker, 10 NOK per opening, self-service model, lots of beds etc) then go ahead and book. Location is perfect.

Also read: View from Mount Ulriken * Bergen from flight * 7 useful points to check while booking hostels in Europe *  Hostel Louise, Brussels * Monk's bunk hostel, Kaunas