Our wedding anniversary and a hostel review

These photos are about our wedding anniversary in Sydney, Australia. The following review was originally posted to Lonely Planet’s thorn tree forum, but it has expired. The photos related to that review are at the end of the story.

A cheap dream holiday in Sydney, Australia (21-26.10.2005)

Päivi wanted to see Sydney and Santeri wanted to try to locate his old friend Kristiina, and so we had a stop-over in Australia on our way to New Zealand, altogether five days. Sydney is well-known for its easy-going lifestyle, parties, and modernity, and we wanted to experience it all.

At the airport we found a very organized information desk about reasonably priced accommodation. There was a brochure of a very attractive backpacker hostel called “School House”. After comparing prices and services of several options we made a booking to that hostel. Half an hour later they already came to pick us up.

School House backpackers hostel is located in the very heart of the world-famous Kings Cross. The price was reasonable 50 Australian dollars (more or less 40 Euro) per night for an en-suite room with a private toilet and bathroom. It was low-season time, and we were glad to hear that in high season we would have had to pay for the same room 85-115 dollars. The room was also recently modernized and perfectly spotless, we were told.

The hostel's brochure advertised tons of Free Stuff including free barbecue (BBQ), breakfast, coffee, movies, in-house big screen movie theatre, Internet café, huge kitchen, popcorn, tea and coffee, rice, beer, pool competitions, darts & games. The front door promised e.g. air-conditioned clean rooms, roof garden for sun baking and famous Australian BBQ, cable TV/videos/cinema screen, and homely clean communal area.

BBQ was unfortunately cancelled because of rain, but we found a lovely Korean-style BBQ nearby, only 21.95 dollars/person. The breakfast was also temporarily unavailable because of the low season, but we found Coles supermarket a few blocks away selling bread and cheese. Large screen TV & movie theatre was under construction, and the hostel had just run out of free popcorn, beer, coffee, tea, and rice. After all, it was low season during that week. Luckily we found some interesting books from their book shelf, and bought some coffee from nearby McDonald´s with 2.95 dollars a mug.

When asking the owner of the School House how to use free facilities and services, he replied that we were making him pissed off, and then he asked us to kindly fuck off. Polite service is available only during high season, because business is only profitable then. And the fixed costs are around 40.000 AUD/month, he added. But who cares about polite service with the price we paid.

We highly recommend you to visit School House. If you are going there during high season, better make the booking beforehand by e-mail as the hostel is hugely popular among backpackers. But first see the photos of School House telling more than a thousand brochures. Have a fun, funky, and original time!

Keywords: Sydney, Australia, wedding anniversary, School House, backpacker hostel, famous Australian BBQ, polite service, Kings Cross.


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