Between the two youth hostels in Zurich that I compared for our stay in December, one had a great location but was not so clean and the other was a bus ride out of town but was immaculate. As always, location, location, location was the right choice. Hotel Biber City Backpacker is on Niederdorfstrasse, a couple blocks from the Limmat River that cuts through old town Zurich, within minutes' walk of just about all the city sights. Niederdorfstrasse is pedestrian-only, with lots of little cafés, bakeries, and a Migros supermarket, so it's not a problem that Hotel Biber doesn't serve breakfast because there are lots of options just steps away. The hostel is only a 10 minute walk from the train station, too.
But was the hostel "not so clean"? What about all those stairs up to the reception desk complained about on the TripAdvisor reviews? Personally, I felt the rooms were clean. The bunk beds had some graffiti on them and the wool blankets were military-gray and heavy, but the rooms were neat.
|Not so neat and tidy with teenagers in it.|
We had two rooms with three bunkbeds each; each room also had a sink. Bathrooms were shared with hallmates, but they were clean and convenient. The showers had nice water pressure and besides some mold on the ceiling, were spotless. I guess one expects perfection in Switzerland so one notices the flaws here, but in any other country this would be an A+ hostel.
Free wifi is available in the reception area lounge and on the staircase. So what about that staircase? Like so many buildings in Europe, residences were built tall and narrow and of course, long before elevators. So, yes, the stairs are steep, narrow, and windy, and the reception isn't reached until the 4th floor or so, but they won't be the only stairs you encounter with your luggage in Europe. (On about the 2nd level or so you'll pass the open door of the kitchen to the restaurant below. Didn't bother me, just made me hungry.)
We also found the staff to be tremendously helpful and kind, with perfect English skills. I would definitely stay at Hotel Biber again. The price of our 6 bed room was 36 CHF, a single room is 75 CHF, a double with two single beds is 114 CHF. They have triples and quads, too. Sheets are 3 CHF extra.
|The city of Zurich.|