Hangzhou is rated as one of the most beautiful cities in China, and it's easy to see why. The city landscape sits peacefully on the edge of West Lake, bordered by sweeping mountains on either side. We decided to stay at the 4 Eyes Backpackers Hostel with an aim to take in all the city had to offer us in the 5 days we had planned for our visit.
We chose the 4 Eyes Backpackers Hostel Hangzhou because it had some generally positive reviews online and advertised itself as close to West Lake. The photos of the hostel looked impressive for the price advertised too.
With hostels it can be hit and miss with what you get when you arrive. Service comes last to everything and the main things I look for are location, value (not cost), cleanliness and security. There are a few other considerations I make, like is the bathroom separate from the room (as in China the latest trend is to create glass transparent boxes in the room, rather than a purpose built bathroom. Another critical point is WiFi availability in the room, as it makes planning for the next day much easier.
4 Eyes Backpackers Hostel Hangzhou was technically in a nice location, being in the Mountains, near the Zoo and away from the hustle and bustle of Hangzhou city center. You can walk to West Lake in roughly 20 minutes, or take a bus that takes 3-4 minutes. But if I had been to Hangzhou before and knew the area well enough, I would have not booked this hostel in terms of it's location. Because what you want is a middle ground of being close to the city and metro lines, and close to West Lake for sightseeing. 4 Eyes Backpackers Hostel is really neither of these and location was a bit of a let down, although it was in a really nice setting and perfect if you wanted to hike and roam around the nearby mountains.
The hostel was very good value as at 60RMB per night each, we got a private room with en-suite and the hostel itself was really cool, as it was a large complex with loads of different room types. A nice setting if you want to relax and chill out in the evening downstairs at the bar, watching films, drinking beer and snacking on BBQ meats.
The drawbacks were the rooms cleanliness. The floor was really really dirty (dusty more than anything) and there was no cleaning service at any point during our stay (4 nights). We also had a problem with our window, which didn't lock, and after telling the reception it was clear that nothing would be done to fix it, the only option was giving valuables to them at reception to keep in the central safe, which as a rule will not do as it can cause more problems than you want.
- Beautiful scenic location with short bus rides to West Lake and surrounding hills.
- Room was good value for money, with breakfast included.
- In room WiFi that worked (to an extant) adequately.
- Included shower gel & shampoo in shower containers.
- Great restaurant option down the hill for lunch / dinner if you get stuck.
- Free evening entertainment in courtyard area.
- Powerful showers, much needed after a day of heavy walking!
- Dirty rooms that needs a proper clean to clear up the floor dust / dirt.
- Service at reception a bit crap, with regards to security issue with our windows not locking.
- Bicycle hire is extremely overpriced and verging on a complete con for foreign tourists.
- WiFi upload speed a disadvantage for travellers who want to blog, etc..
- The steep climb up to the hostel and rooms from the main road isn't suitable for older people and a pain when carrying your backpacks.
Overall I would rate the stay as good, but if we were to go to Hangzhou again, we would not stay at this hostel. Mainly because there are plenty of other hostels nearer to the city which offer a better central point for activities you will get up to in the day. I think if one day the Metro is extended to this area, it would make it more desirable for me. It's not a bad hostel, but I can't say it's that great either. Value wise, you will be getting a good bargain for the included breakfast and the size of the rooms.
4 Eyes Backpackers Hostel Hangzhou Summary
|SERVICE (Staff Helpfulness)|
|ROOMS (Decor, Equipment)|
|BATHROOMS (Equip., Amenities)|
|CLEANLINESS (Lobby, Rooms)|
|Hotel Name||4 Eyes Backpackers Hostel Hangzhou (also goes by the name 4 Eyes Backpackers Youth Hostel)|
|Address (English)||No. 66, Siyanjing Cun, Hupao Road, West Lake, Hangzhou, China.|
|Area / Locale||Located to the South of West Lake, opposite Hangzhou Zoo in the middle of the Mountains.|
|Accomodation Type||Youth Hostel / 2* Hotel|
|Public Transport Nearby||Bus Stop is located on either sides of the main road at the bottom of the hill, a short walk from the hostel accommodation. You can pick-up 514, 318, K822, 197, K291, 287, 4, 504, 514B, 315, 808, 31 & Y3. We used just a few of these buses, as the others would have taken us in different directions than we'd have needed to go. The 31 is most useful, it takes you up around south of West Lake (where you can get off and then walk the rest) and then travels directly into town on the main ‘Yan'an Road' where you have the main shopping areas, Carrefour Supermarket & at the bottom, souvenir street. You can also take the 504 to West Lake, as well as the 315. Please consult Map Bar link for where each line takes you http://bus.mapbar.com/hangzhou/.FYI – if you are getting here from Hangzhou East Railway Station, you cannot get a direct bus. Either take a taxi (roughly going to set you back 30-40 RMB) or the metro down to ‘Longxiangqiao' station. You then need to walk 5 minutes south on ‘Yan'an Road' to the next bus stop, where you can pick up the 31 to Hangzhou Zoo.|
|Local Landmark Nearby||The little road that leads up the steep hill to where the hostel and other accommodation is located is opposite the entrance to Hangzhou Zoo (Hangzhou Dongwuyuan). This is the best landmark to head towards, there is then signs that have ‘4 Eyes Hostel' within eye distance.|
|Room Rate||They have dorm room, singles, twins and family rooms. We paid 120RMB per night (60RMB each) and that included a breakfast. Some days you will get a buffet spread and when there is less guests they will give you a single plate with a selection of food on it. The food isn't great, but sets you off in the right way for a day of hiking! Consult their website for other rates available, it's a cheap option in terms of accommodation in Hangzhou.|
|Room Type||Twin Bed (they advertise double, they are all twin rooms) with en-suite. Breakfast included for all room types.|
|Room Amenities||Showers had shower gel and shampoo dispensers on the wall of the Shower cubicle. There was a little box containing soap, toothbrush, etc.. There was also toilet paper. FYI, they don't clean rooms during your stay, so make sure you bring enough roll with you!|
|WiFi||Complimentary in-room WiFi available. Adequate WiFi signal, but they must have a bandwidth block on uploads, as their speeds for uploading were insanely slow, to the point where uploading a low resolution picture to this website took ages, we gave up in the end in trying it! Download speed is about 10mb/s. Like many of the hotel's WiFi in China, it seems to boot you off every hour or so.|
|Restaurant Choices||There was a Chinese outdoor BBQ when we stayed in the summer months. Fine if you want some light food choices for dinner. If you want something more substantial and you don't know any Chinese Characters (Hanzi) then head down the hill and turn left. The main hotel has a lovely restaurant inside with English menu's available. The food was excellent, along with the price – we highly recommend it and you could be satisfied eating there every night because their menu is huge! Otherwise for food recommend you eat in town before retiring back to the hotel for the night as there is little more around the hostel.|
|Nearby Convinience Stores||There is a few small family owned marts down the hill. They stock all the essentials including washing powder if you want to do laundry at the hotel (it's self service). Otherwise head into town and go to Carrefour to stock up on the larger items you may want, they sell a lot of international foods.|
|Additional Hotel Facilities||Laundry service (self serve), costs 5RMB per load. The mini mart sells small bags of detergent for 3RMB which will last 5-6 washes. They have a ‘western' bar but can't advise as we didn't drink there. There are films screened outside in the evenings in the courtyard and they rent out bicycles. Beware though, if you want to cycle around West Lake, rent a public one as they cost a fraction of the price of the hostels ones and the deposit required is 1/6th of the hostels!! Or better still, forget the cycling and get a taxi for short distances around each part of the lake, you will save money as taxi's cost just 11RMB for 3km's!!|