May 25, 2023
Author: Adam Dimitrov — Budapester, Hungarian & City Expert/Guide
Are you planning to stay in Budapest and looking for a great hostel but need help deciding which one you should choose?
You're lucky because I've stayed at least one night in 8 hostels in Budapest in December 2023, including Zen Hostel.
In this article, you can read about my review of Zen Hostel based on personal experience, which made #7 on my best hostels list.
Who is this hostel for? — This place is perfect if you want a small hostel that feels like home! Cozy, warm, and homely are the words I'd describe Zen Hostel. Think "conversations on the couch with a hot tea in hand while being wrapped in a blanket" vibes.
What was the best part(s) of staying here? — Hanging out with other guests, Julien's hospitality (the sole worker managing the hostel) and the great location.
What was the worst part(s) of staying here? — This is a matter of preference, but I missed the amenities, efficiency and quality of life that larger hostels chains offer. Although I enjoyed the people who I met here, I wasn't thrilled that I paid above average prices and got less value.
Did I enjoy my stay here? Would I return? — It was great to be here, but I probably won't return. I prefer Maverick Urban Lodge, which is cheaper and has better quality of life. Or Hostel One if I wanted a social-party atmosphere hostel.
How much does it cost? Is it good value for money? — Bunk beds start from 13€/night, and private rooms from 32€/night. This hostel isn't the best value for money, but if you like the homely, small hostel vibe with a great location, this is the place for you.
This hostel is great value for money. Bunk beds start at 13€/night in the off-season and private rooms from 32€/night.
Cozy, warm, and homely are the words I'd describe Zen Hostel. Think "conversations on the couch with a hot tea in hand while being wrapped in a blanket" vibes.
Zen Hostel is in the city center, but in a quiet district, not where the nightlife is, but it’s easy to get there by public transport or even by foot. It’s a few minutes walk away from the Central Market Hall and the 100E airport shuttle bus stop. Public transport options are also nearby naturally.
Julien manages the entire place like a one-person army. She's very friendly and accommodating. However, the check-in could have been faster. It took approximately 10 minutes, as I had to wait for two people in front of me. Check is only from 2 to 9 pm, so if you arrive late, you’re in a tough spot.
I stayed in a spacious 8-bed bedroom. The room had an open space in the middle and a table. I had a non-lockable small closet beside my bed where I stored my smaller items (laptop, backpack). Traffic noise was non-existent, but some rooms face a busy avenue (Vámház krt.), so it's a bit of a tossup.
Noise levels are low - you get the normal hostel noises, but no traffic noises, since my room was facing an inner courtyard.
The bed was clean and comfortable but lacked a privacy-ensuring curtain. There was a night light, socket, and item tray available. The bed had a wooden frame and was squeaky.
There were four bathrooms in the hostel - two big and two small. Each one is different. They were just okay in terms of cleanliness. The showers were okay.
There was a small kitchen area that was honestly unremarkable. It had all the necessities - a fridge, pot and pans, cutlery, a stove, and an oven. That's about it.
There are few luxuries as this is a small hostel. So there is no laptop workspace, bar, large breakfast area, or anything.
The building doesn't have an elevator, but the hostel is on the first floor. The door to the flat is hard to find, and the signage could be better. A group of Asians had just arrived before me, and I saw them struggling to find the door.