A friend shared that there is a newly opened hostel in Makati called Connector Hostel. I checked the rates and my first reaction was, why the hell is it expensive?! Before you tell me I’m a cheapskate (well I am but that’s not the point), I was a little hostel-happy last year and tried different Poblacion hostels. In short, I know exactly what I’m talking about. The most expensive would be Lub D, around 700 pesos for a bed in a dorm room. But Connector Hostel is even more expensive, around 1,000 pesos a night. Is this price justifiable? Let’s find out.
I found the opportunity to stay there last month when my Korean friend visited the country and we went partying to Poblacion. I booked my stay at Booking.com as it was already fully booked on Agoda. It’s a pay at property system, the hostel only accepts cash.
Owned by the same people behind Buccaneers bar, Connector Hostel can be found along Kalayaan Ave. If location is a major consideration (and by that I mean you want to go bar-hopping), the hostel has an advantage of being in close proximity to some of the best gimmick spots in Poblacion.
Check-in process was seamless, the front desk, which was designed like a jeepney, was manned by a receptionist named Ann. She welcomed me with a big smile on her face and answered all my questions promptly. When she saw me snapping some photos of the jeepney, she even offered to take my picture.
A man carried my bag and led me to a 4-bed dorm room. The room looks really nice, it has two double-deck beds, a bathroom with a toilet, and bar tables against the wall with stool chairs. The towel and toiletries are provided for, but not the blanket so I had to ask for it.
The lockers can be opened and locked by a code that the guests may set themselves. The problem is I didn’t know how to change the code so I had to go back to the front desk to ask how. This is the beginning of my frequent journey to the front desk due to a number of issues that have arisen.
What were the issues? Allow me to enumerate:
Issue #1: They forgot to give me the card key – The receptionist seemed to have forgotten to give me the card key to the room. So I had to go down and get it from her. But when I went back to the room, it wasn’t working, which led to…
Issue #2: They gave me the wrong card key – Again, I went back to the receptionist and told her that it wouldn’t open the room. She went up to the second floor with me and tried opening the door herself, it didn’t budge. She muttered apologies and promised to return with the correct card key.
Issue #3: The air-conditioning wasn’t working – Inside the room, she wondered aloud whether the air-conditioning is already working. I didn’t notice it before but now that she mentioned it, I realized that indeed, the room temperature wasn’t cold. She advised me to wait for a moment and to inform her if nothing changes so she could move me to another room.
Issue #4: The bathroom door wouldn’t close – I went back to the ground floor and reported that the a/c doesn’t seem to be working. Ann gladly arranged to have me moved to another room. On that room, however, the issue continued. First, there is no trash bin and the bathroom door wouldn’t close.
By this time, it’s fair to say that I could have lost it, I mean anyone who have to make these many trips to the front desk are bound to lose it. But I kept cool, maybe because Ann had been nice and eager to attend to my needs. I had to go somewhere but before I left, I told her the door problem. She promised that she would have someone fix it. When I returned, she happily updated me that they fixed the issue with the door.
Issue #5: Wi-Fi is paid – My biggest issue would have to be the fact that they ask the guests to pay for the Wi-Fi. It costs P150 for 24 hours. I mean if we have to pay for the Internet, can we at least use it for the entire duration of our stay not just 24 hours?
I ranted all of these issues to my friend who, in turn, messaged Connector Hostel’s Instagram account. They asked for my name and said that they would have someone reach out to me, but I never heard from anyone.
Suggestions for improvement
With all its shortcomings, I appreciate the fact that the staff are warm and ready to provide the needs of their guests. Also, the place is new and not yet popular, hence ideal if you want some peace and quiet. In fact, I was alone in the room during my stay.
I am not a business owner so I don’t really know how they come up with their rates. I could only look at this from the perspective of a guest who likes staying at hostels. I mentioned these issues not to criticize but to let the management know, there are still room for improvements. People wouldn’t mind paying a little bit more, if the price is justifiable.
They could start with some little things, such as:
• Making sure that the card key is given to the guest upon check-in and that they are given the correct one.
• Giving instruction on changing the locker code upon check-in. This should be part of the check-in process as not everyone is familiar with using digital lockers. In fact, this is only the second time I’ve seen a digital locker in a hostel in Makati, the other being Bunk 5021 Hostel.
• Ensuring that their facilities/equipment are working.
• Ensuring that each room has a trash bin. This is a necessity, not something that should be made available upon request.
• Making Wi-Fi free because getting connected is already considered a necessity in this time and age. If people would pay more to stay at their hostel, then Wi-Fi should at least be free of charge.
As of me, I am not completely closing down my doors to it. Maybe when I come back they’ve already fixed some of their issues. I am giving them the benefit of the doubt as the hostel is pretty new. But for the sake of honesty, the answer to the question that I posed earlier is no, the 1,000 rate is not worth it. At least, not yet.