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funky rooms are a plus at Playtypus - Bogotá

funky rooms are a plus at Playtypus

Platypus Hostel: a legend in its own time Platypus Hostel Review

I have mixed feelings about Platypus. Renowned as the best hostel in South America, I could be forgiven for having such high expectations but as with most such scenarios, it hard to live up to such mental images. Since our trip to Colombia had such a long planning stage due to it being cancelled twice over a period of three years, I had a lot of contact with its owner, German Escobar. The Bogota legend had opened a hostel in the nearly forbidden zone of La Candelaria and was about as single-handedly responsible for the capital's resurgence as could be possible. He was beyond helpful and I would never tell anyone not to stay in the cool and certainly trendy Candelaria institution. That said, our experience was less than perfect. We had reserved weeks in advance but upon arriving were given a room right across from their very busy office. Admittedly, we had arrived late but it was less than ideal for a light sleeper like myself. There was constantly someone in the office and its bell rang at all hours with people arriving home late from a night of partying and other leaving for the airport insanely early. We had reserved for four nights but in the morning I insisted we had to be moved to another more quiet room which was met with a “we'll see what we can do attitude” until I said we'd have to elsewhere otherwise. I'm sure if German was there, it would have been easy but it's a big operation now and people who work in a place never have quite the attitude as the owner. The second room was much better though overall, it was a bustling place as can be expected of the most popular place in town. The showers/toilets were less than spic and span but again maybe not easy to do with so many people using them. Though I had every intention of keeping true to my reservation once I was moved to a more secluded room, I was not so sure I would stay there again on our return trip to Bogota on our way home.

I checked out a few other places, small hotels that looked a lot less crowded and found one that looked like a real possibility and was less expensive too. I kept it in mind and made a reservation for our return with Platypus just the same. When the time came to return I wrote German directly and asked to be put in the most quiet part of the hostel and hoped for the best. When we arrived, we found we were not in the main building but up the street a few houses. While it lacked a bit of the security features of the hostel proper, it was definitely more quiet. We liked it a lot more and if going there and not of the “true hostel spirit,” it's worth asking to be placed there. One of the main reasons I wanted to return to Platypus was to tell German about our successful trek in El Cocuy. He had been very helpful in our planning it and had not been there in many years. He was unfortunately out of town so had to relay the information in a mail to him.

Unique Qualities: In short, if you are traveling solo and looking to meet lots of people, Platypus is The place to stay. If you are a couple who wants more solitude, it might not be your best choice. They do have a pricier place nearby but it's not exactly a budget option. Overall, our stay was good but not sure I would stay there again aside from it being German's place who is every bit the legend is deserves to be.

We paid 176,000 COP or $187 for our four nights in a room without private bath. The rooms are smallish but have a nice rustic charm to them. Both the hostel proper and the one up the street have very nice Colonial courtyards to hang out in. It is classic Candelaria architecture.

Address: Calle 16 N. 2-43, Bogota, Colombia

Comparison: less expensive than average

Directions: In the heart of La Candelaria.

Price: US$20-40

Theme: Hostel

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Jul 28, 2010
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I must say it looks nice from the outside - Bogotá

I must say it looks nice from the outside

Casa Platypus: a bit expensive for my tastes but maybe not yours Casa Platypus Review
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Unique Qualities: Casa Platypus is the Platypus Hostel's more upscale option. I did not get a chance to see the rooms but from the prices I am sure the rooms are nice and they boast cable TV, private baths, and breakfast is included. It is in a very nice location, just back from Avenida Jimenez and close to lots of Candelaria nightlife. We passed it often and it did not seem overly busy. In fact, we never saw anyone coming out of it. At $75 per night for a double, it is not exactly a budget hotel though it does looks quite charming from outside.

Address: Carrera 3 No 16-28, Bogota, Colombia

Comparison: more expensive than average

Price: US$40-80

Theme: Hotel

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Jul 28, 2010
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