We recently added a small dorm to the hostel which has the same prices as the large dorm,$8 per night- bed only or $9 with breakfast.
The small dorm pictured here only has 4 beds, newly tiled and painted with new beds and mattresses.
Unfortunately we do not take reservations for which dorm or beds guests have a preference. If we have space and guests want an extra night then 98% of the time we can usually give them the same bed, taking reservations for beds makes it very complicated and unfair for the current guests, there would be too many complaints.
As we now have a new area for the dorm we have also built another bathroom and a separate shower.
When we first opened we found we did not have enough bathrooms so we built an extra one then later we put in another. We now have a total of 6 bathrooms, 4 with showers and a separate shower giving us enough to cope with the busiest hour in the mornings from 8am-9am.
We quickly found out that complaints can come in about the amount of bathrooms and wanted to change this, we know that other hotels/hostels who have a shortage of bathrooms so be aware of this when making bookings.
From January 2017 we started to offer bed and breakfast rates for only a fraction more than room only rates.
We wanted to offer a little more for the guest, it was not area we had received comments either in reviews or by mouth, only a very small percentage had commented on this over the last 5 years asking us to include breakfast.
So for only $1 more we offer either a Nicaraguan breakfast or continental, both coming with either tea, coffee or juice.
Gallo pinto is the local breakfast which is very popular in Costa Rica also,a dish consisting of rice and beans,onion, green peppers served with toast and scrambled eggs.
Whether you are in Leon,San Juan Del Sur, Ometepe you will find locals eating Gallo Pinto sometimes for lunch and dinner. It is actually a very hearty breakfast and gives you a good start to the day.
The continental is local fruit, usually what is in season like pineapple, papaya and banana or mango with toast included.
You will not find anywhere in the city, street food included offering this price for a breakfast, it is a steal.
We decided to offer this on top of room rate so guests could actually choose if they wanted breakfast or not as not everyone eats breakfast and someone prefer other options.
NOTE* Many hotels do not offer an option, for guests who have a few nights with us we can change this about a little and offer fried eggs with the Gallo Pinto or eggs on toast.
We are now 3½ years into being open and very thankful that in that time we have kept busy from the first month open until now,only 1 month is low for the private rooms which is October but only twice have we dropped to below 90%. For the year the dorm averages at about 85%-94% with June,September and October being slower.
I have written articles before on reservations in Granada, this is more of an update for those that are thinking of coming to our hostel and some of the feedback and experience we have had and the reason for the numbers above.
The website is kept pretty much up to date, we did receive a comment from a walk-in guest who could not stay with us due to us being full and who thought we had just blocked off rooms on our website to increase walk-in guests which is not true. Our booking system and calendar is there so we do not waste guests time who want to make a booking for certain dates or so guests can arrange their dates with us.
So for those who do not want to make a reservation in a private room thinking they will get one walking in there a very good chance this will be difficult as average walk-in guests for the year are about 10%-14%, saying this we still encourage you to come if you cannot make a reservation online as we are always more than happy to direct you to another hostel close by.
We have been in the Lonely Planet now for about 2 years and another guest commented that we had put our prices up probably due to us being in the guide book. This is not true also, I too have used their guide books around the world and the prices are always different to what they say, I too have heard these comments before that once a business gets in their book they drop their standards and raise the prices. Lonely Planet writers visit business’s then the book usually comes out a year later then by the time someone actually buys the book another year or two has passed with prices and information changing. Some of our rooms are still the same price from when we first opened, others have a changed by a $1-$3 so not significant changes and these are due to us having low prices when the business first opened and the price of commodities etc. Lonely Planet did bring in extra business but only in the dorm and for those 3 months that we are a little slower , with us being a small business the guide book would not have affected us that much, maybe more so if we were a larger hostel.
As for us dropping standards our reviews on 2 websites are still over 90% positive and we do have plans to upgrade the rooms again next year with us always painting and keeping the property clean and in working order. Maybe other business’s do not want to continue putting in the effort to attract future guests and keep them happy during their stay but we do not want to be like those business’s. For a business to stay succesful it must continue to be ahead of the game and look to improve where it can as well as listening to its guests.
When we opened the Hostel in 2011 we decided to take reservations both here on our website and with Hostel World as this would help the hostel generate business and get the name on the ‘World Wide Web’ which it did. The problem with reservations is we had to have policies to protect both the hostel and to protect those guests that wanted to make reservations, otherwise we would have guests making bookings then canceling at the last minute. This meant the hostel losing business and a potential guest losing out on staying with us when they had their heart on staying here.
In the last 17 months we have kept the hostel running at 90% occupancy using a booking system and with Granada being so close to the airport and a better option than staying in Managua many guests want somewhere for when they arrive in the country, this does not happen with Hostels/Hotels in Leon/Ometepe or San Juan but possibly with Corn Islands. So there is a market here in Granada for reservations and with us using Hostel World also it makes sense for us to do that.
With this in mind we need to remind the guest that we are only a small- medium size hostel so our policies are important in that we do not lose reservations, there is a small hotel in town with only 1 room so they have a weeks cancellation policy, there is another very popular and very large hostel in town with many dorm and private rooms, they do not take reservations at all.
Every business works a little different and they have to incorporate what they have and how well it works for both the customer and the business but it is has to work for both, having reservations without polices can mean a business losing money and shutting down or having policies with the guest not receiving all the informations is not fair on the guest.
After being open for just over 1 year we have decided to start working with the San Simian Resort in Laguna de Apoyo. We are offering trips 3 days a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays when there are 3 or more people, The cost will be $6 for the transportation and $5 entrance fee, the bus will leave Hostal El Momento at 10am and return at 4pm.
Laguna de Apoyo is the cleanest lake in the country and is surprisingly warm for a lake, at San Simians you can kayak, swim or hang out in the lake in a large inner-tube. They have a beautiful restaurant, their menu we have printed at our hostel or you can simply hang out in their hammocks and enjoy the view.
They also have a website which gives other information on the hotel if you wish to return- www.sansimian.com.