Alliance of old and new + house plants
I found this hostel by searching hostels I would have to visit during my stay in southern Spain. In The Broke Backpackers blog post ‘21 AMAZING Hostels in Spain (2022 – Insider Guide!)’, Mathield Magnier praises the hostel for its design and states that it might be one of the coolest hostels in Spain (Magnier, 2022).
When starting to write this text, I countered an unusual problem. I had to search for the correct name of the hostel. Magnier calls it The Urban Jungle Boutique Hostel (Magnier, 2022), Hostelworld calls it The Urban Jungle Rooftop Hostel (Hostelworld, 2022) and even their website doesn’t seem to answer. The logo is abstract in a simple and modern Scandinavian way. It reminds me of Makia, Sauna Restaurant Kuuma’s bird, and something else very familiar that I just can’t quite reach. Anyway, the logo doesn’t help with the name problem. On the website, I can find the hostel being referred to as The Jungle, THE JUNGLE, Urban, Urban Jungle, Urban Jungle Hostel, The Urban Jungle Hostel, and THE URBAN JUNGLE HOSTEL (Urban Jungle Hostel, 2022). ‘The’ is always messing a bit when it comes to names written and spoken in English, but the rest seems unnecessarily diverse. My best guess is that the real name is Urban Jungle Hostel, but since it seems to be allowed, I will be referring to the place from now on by just ‘Urban’.
Booking.com’s 771 customer reviews average for Urban is 8.4 (/10). This is not the best in the area, for example, Malaga Stop Hostel AB has 8.5 (/10) and it’s also cheaper around 10 euros per night. Pictures from the previous mentioned didn’t arouse my interest on any special way, but with a special interior, privacy provided by pods, and an average of 8.7 (/10) COEO Pod Hostel is for sure in the same league as Urban. (Booking.com, 2022) I am sorry for not visiting there as well. In the chart down below, I gathered some info from Malagas top 5 best hostels (regarding Booking.com ratings). It is a bit hard to say exactly, but I’d estimate that there are around 20 hostels in the Malaga region.
|Name of the hostel||Points (/ 10)
|Amount of reviews (Booking.com, 2022)||An example of nightly rate (Booking.com, 2022)||Notes
|The Urban Jungle||8.4||771||44€||Started 2018. Two female entrepreneurs.||urbanjunglehostel.com|
|Malaga Stop Hostel AB||8.5||1062||29€||Website only in Spanish. Looks boring but clean.||malagastophostel.es|
|COEO Pod Hostel||8.7||100||47€||Started in Malaga 2022. Big company w. big money(?). ‘…residents and guests.’||coeohouse.com|
|Terraza del Limonar||8.9||408||35€||Picture quality is bad. Website only in Spanish.||terraza-del-limonar.negocio.site|
|TOC Hostel Malaga||8.8||1936||47€||Big company. Modern and clean looking.||tochostels.com/destinations/malaga|
According to their website, Urban was born in 2018 by Eli and Maria and they have eight different room types. In a short version, these rooms include mixed & all-female dorms in sices of four and eight beds and a few different options for private double rooms. (Urban Jungle Hostel, 2022). I was staying in a mixed dorm with a total of eight beds. We had one entrance to a combination of two rooms, divided by a door leaving half of the beds on each side. I stayed in Urban from Sunday to Tuesday and paid 32€ per night. I was considering staying for one more night, but at the time I was asking it (the day before) all the beds were already booked. This didn’t surprise me, because ‘Junglers’ in Urban seemed to be happy with the place, and f.ex. Englishman under my bed had just extended his stay by four days. In addition, the high tourism season seemed to start strongly.
I am not sure if Urban had volunteers working for them as I was staying, but since they’ve gotten multiple ratings on the Worldpackers platform, at least in the past, they’ve had some. Regarding their bio on the site, I assume that at least some current and future art on the Urban walls is and will be created by these volunteers. (Worldpackers, 2022)
Regarding hostels, Urban was definitely a bit more high quality. It is also located at the expensive end of the price spectrum, which supports the affirmation. Outside the need to share space with other guests, the place could have reached hotel quality. Here’s a small list of details making difference between this and some cheaper hostels:
- Free luggage storage after check out (11 am) until 2 pm.
- Receptionist gave me a euro for the coin lock without hesitation or claims to get it back later.
- Professional service and someone always at the reception.
- Full-service laundry for eight (8) euros.
- Sheets had a satin-like feeling on them.
- Daily free of charge and for-fee activities.
- Welcoming shot including ginger, lemon, etc. at the register while checking in.
- The wifi working nicely everywhere in the building.
And of course, something that can’t be forgotten; when compared to other hostels I’ve been visiting lately, also the guests were a bit more “upper class”. In practice this meant, that majority of the guests came from countries with relatively low poverty levels, paid for different activities, and the kitchen was quite free since most of the guests were eating out. When the traveler is ready to spend more on the accommodation, they are more likely to spend more on other things as well.
This kind of guest might be demanding since the expectations of customers are higher. This might also explain a bit about Urban’s ratings being only 8.4 (Booking.com, 2022). It’s important to remember, that the guest’s ratings on Booking.com and similar platforms are not given by professionals comparing the place in similar accommodations in similar areas. According to the study by Ulrike Gretzel, people’s motivations taint their neutrality when giving reviews. Those who have formed identities around being expert travel reviewers may write more critically to appear more professional (Beaton 2018). Overall, there are multiple factors affecting reviews. Another study looking at 125,076 Booking.com reviews, found that people traveling with significant others wrote the most positive reviews, followed by those traveling with friends or family. Reviewers traveling alone or for business were the most negative. (Ahn, Park, & Yoo, 2017). In her blog post, previously mentioned Magnier recommended Urban, especially for solo travelers (Magnier, 2022). Overall, reviewers are comparing the place’s reality to their own, pre-set expectations. These expectations vary a lot and to many, the company can not influence on. But marketing plays a big role in the rest.
Miraculous that you have read this far. My quick review of the place? I could have lived there comfortably for a few weeks and enjoyed especially the beach volleys. Definitely a great hostel that I would recommend for anyone with a big enough budget. Before going to the sources, let’s move to the quickly taken, unedited pictures!
Beaton, C. 2018. Why You Can’t Really Trust Negative Online Reviews. The New York Times. Article. Published 13.6.2018. Read 28.6.2022. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/13/smarter-living/trust-negative-product-reviews.html
Booking.com. 2022. The Urban Jungle Hostel. Website. Read 27.6.2022. https://www.booking.com/hotel/es/the-urban-jungle.fi.html?aid=311095&label=the-urban-jungle-KXH4zmc06hQacYWxzStJ7AS408310872201%3Apl%3Ata%3Ap1%3Ap2%3Aac%3Aap%3Aneg%3Afi%3Atikwd-460687735156%3Alp1005415%3Ali%3Adec%3Adm%3Appccp%3DUmFuZG9tSVYkc2RlIyh9YcTrZg6rgS-Qk_fZwRm3vo4&sid=52a523530f7b0c4bcea03382b4c26e45&all_sr_blocks=279408605_341327025_0_0_0&checkin=2022-07-13&checkout=2022-07-14&dest_id=-390787&dest_type=city&dist=0&group_adults=1&group_children=0&hapos=1&highlighted_blocks=279408605_341327025_0_0_0&hpos=1&matching_block_id=279408605_341327025_0_0_0&no_rooms=1&req_adults=1&req_children=0&sb_price_type=total&sr_order=popularity&sr_pri_blocks=279408605_341327025_0_0_0__3500&srepoch=1656339100&srpvid=d25863cd5c1c0f1d&type=total&ucfs=1&hp_refreshed_with_new_dates=1
Ahn, D., Park, H. & Yoo, B. 2017. Which group do you want to travel with? A study of rating differences among groups in online travel reviews. Study. Volume 25. Published 9.-10.2017. Read 28.6.2022. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1567422317300625
Urban Jungle Hostel. 2022. Website. https://urbanjunglehostel.com/
Hostelworld. 2022. Website. Read 24.6.2022.
Magnier, M. 2022. 21 AMAZING Hostels in Spain. (2022 – Insider Guide!). The Broke Backpacker. Blogpost. 2.6.2022. Read 24.6.2022. https://www.thebrokebackpacker.com/best-hostels-in-spain/
Worldpackers. 2022. The Urban Jungle Hostel. Read 27.6.2022. https://www.worldpackers.com/locations/the-urban-jungle-hostel