Our final stop in Bulgaria was Varna, the second largest city it’s somewhere we’d heard so much about. After a disappointing time in Sunny Beach we we’re really looking forward to getting back to the city life.
- Location - 92%92%
- Room - 85%85%
- Facilities - 41%41%
- Value For Money - 66%66%
Gagarin House has amazing potential, and if you're only in the city for one or two nights it's mediocre. I wouldn't like to think I was staying longer. The location and quality bed set up makes up for the lack of WIFI availability and showering circumstances.
We headed straight for Booking.com and after scrolling past a few ‘new listings’ for undesirable apartments we found an affordable hostel in Gagarin House. Situated in the city centre, it’s private style bunks looked perfect for our two night stay.
Dates: 17th June 2017 – 19th June 2017
Price We Paid Per Night: £14.01 (equivalent lev at the time of arrival)
Room Type: 2 Beds in a Mixed Dorm
Booking Platform: Booking.com
Situated 100 metres from the central entrance to the number one ranked attraction in Varna, Sea Garden. Gagarin House’s greatest feature has to be it’s location. Just outside of the Greek neighbourhood the hostel is 1.4 miles from the central bus station of Varna, 1 mile from the central train station and 6.21 miles from the airport.
While Gagarin House can organise you a private mini bus to the bus station for 10lv each I’d advise against it. Not only does this seem over priced but the station is on a main road making it easily walkable from the hostel.
In fact the only time you’re really going to need to use public transport when staying in this hostel is when using the cities airport.
The central location of Gagarin House means bars, restaurants and cafés are plentiful. With an endless choice of different dishes. You’ve also other highly ranked attractions easily accessible including; Saint Nicholas Church, The Drama Theatre and The State Archives.
The bedroom is made up of a long row of specially designed bunk beds. There’s around 15 along and one bed above each making the occupancy approximately 30 beds.
Something that really appealed to us about this particular hostel was the curtain that closes along the front of the bunk giving you that added privacy when trying to sleep. Each bunk had a light and two plug sockets and each guest was given a towel.
The bed was ready made upon arrival and was super comfortable – In fact I’m yet to find a bad bed in the whole of Bulgaria. Each bed also had an allocated cupboard with a key which was more than enough for our belongings.
Unfortunatly the major downfall of Gagarin House it’s facilities – or lack of…
Lets start with the basics, the bathroom. There’s two bathrooms, both are unisex and contain just one toilet and one sink / shower tap.
The first of the bathrooms is situated between the hallway, the reception and the small common area. This particular bathroom is TINY. There’s enough room for you to stand between the sink and the toilet and that’s it. To shower in here you might as well go in fully clothed because EVERYTHING is going to end up soaked. There’s no where to put anything, it’s basically just a place to rinse off. Even if you decide not to shower in there and instead use the toilet, everyone can hear everything because of the small window between the toilet and the common area – nice.
Your second choice of a bathroom is slightly larger, but is situated in the corner of the kitchen. As a courtesy to the other guests I really didn’t feel comfortable going to the toilet nor showering in there.
Then there’s the wifi… Up until our time in Sunny Beach the internet in Bulgaria had been amazing. Above and beyond what I’d expected. However, while Gagarin House offered free WIFI it’s protocol didn’t work with our macbooks. Leaving us ‘internet-less’ for two days.
There is a kitchen in this hostel, it comes with the basic necessities including a kettle, toaster and microwave alongside a small complimentary breakfast. Coming from someone who could eat pretty much anything – they may as well have not bothered. The ham was pale, which left just a slice of bread and cheese to work with.
In conclusion, Gagarin House has AMAZING potential. It’s custom designed beds are awesome, and it’s location fabulous. In fact, with a little adjustment to the bathroom and perhaps a more open common room / kitchen area this place could be the very best hostel in Varna. Unfortunatly, until that’s sorted it’s going to remain below average.