Now, I'm one of those people who research things meticulously before I book anything - hotels, restaurants, even films at the cinema. So I had done my research, and the majority of the reviews for this place were glowing so I went ahead and booked a private room for myself and my boyfriend for a week when we first arrived in Auckland back in October. Location wise, it's great - Ponsonby is a really cool little suburb and there are lots of independent stores and restaurants to browse. The CBD is a short bus ride away, so we had no qualms there at all. Our room was more like a narrow cupboard, with two bunk beds squeezed in. It was right next to the kitchen, so we were rudely awakened every morning and kept awake in the evening. The whole place had a musty smell which wasn't exactly pleasant, and the toilets were excruciatingly cramped. The saving grace for this place is that the kitchen was always spotlessly clean, and one of the receptionists was somewhat helpful. Would I stay again? Maybe if they demolish the building and start again, I'd consider it. Or at the very least, get some decent air fresheners and deodorize the whole place.
This is the hostel that I researched before we arrived in New Zealand, and I vowed to my boyfriend that we would avoid it. Lo and behold, we ended up being stuck in Auckland for longer than anticipated, and every other hostel was fully booked. Which left us with Base. It's located in Queen Street, so it's right in the hustle and bustle of the main street in the CBD. You might like that, but I didn't like the shady characters hanging around outside - I was actually confronted by a guy who wanted a cigarette as I stood outside and when I refused, he got all up in my face for a good minute. That aside,. there's the issue of noise as there's a "backpackers bar" situated right below the hostel. Again, you might like that if you came here to get drunk off your tits every night, but that wasn't for us. The room was very basic, there was a small fridge but we couldn't use it because the smell was almost gag-inducing. The toilets were pretty disgusting, there was always the distinct smell of urine and the rest of the hostel just felt dirty. Everything was a bit grubby, and I just wanted to drown the place in disinfectant. Luckily, we only ended up here for two nights and as long as you spend 99% of your time away from this place, you'll be alright.
I also just want to point out that I'm not a snob when it comes to accommodation. I know full well that these places are budget accommodation so you don't expect much because they're just that - budget. But the least I expect is some standard of cleanliness and for the facilities to be, you know, useable. I've stayed in several hostels before in the USA, and they were leaps and bounds ahead of these places.