I have never before stayed at an establishment that had Basil Fawlty methods. Base Embassy in Brisbane clearly studied dear Basil in order to run their hostel. Three nights and four rooms later, it was beginning to feel like a farce. Most of the oversights weren’t necessarily the fault of the staff. Our neighbour in our first room was a long-term visitor and had extended her room boundaries out of her door and in front of ours. She was so apologetic and swift to move the items, but nothing could be done to remove the smell that came from her person. Body odour is not acceptable at any time, but when you have to take a deep breath before exiting your hostel room, it’s almost unbelievable. This wasn’t just a smelly off day – this was weeks of dank, mustering sweat and it made me feel nauseous. There was no way we could stay in that room, even though it was spacious. And light.
The next night, we began a game of musical rooms. Room Two, the air conditioning didn’t work and in Brisbane in summertime is toasty to say the least. Room Three turned out to be someone else’s room, a fact only uncovered after we had been issued keys and let ourselves into their domain. Room Four was a twin, or supposedly when we checked in, but we found it to be a double bed on the bottom bunk with an extra single on top, just like Room One. We had our own remote to the air conditioning unit, it was all starting to look up. There we were, curled up in bed, reading our books, and the sound of water fills the room. We stare at each other in disbelief; water is pouring through the air conditioning unit. The solution? To put a towel on the floor and supply us with a bucket.
When you’re travelling, it doesn’t do to be fussy. But the best hostels at least have the basics right. Clean, comfortable and not stinky. We could never truly relax in Base Embassy, so I wouldn’t recommend a visit. So far, Calypso Inn in Cairns has been the complete opposite and we’re really enjoying our time here. I wonder what our accommodation will be like when we wander into South East Asia next week?