Back in 1999 when we started The Beehive, we were strictly a hostel with dormitory rooms and bunk beds. Soon after, because of demand and our own desire to expand, we added private rooms. In 2002 when we moved to our permanent location, we kept one room as a dorm in homage to our beginnings.
Dorm rooms are not just for the university, 20 something crowd. They are a great option for travelers looking to save money or who want to meet up with other travelers, but do note that not all dorm rooms are created equally and different facilities offer different services. The Beehive’s dorm or “The Hive” as it’s called – is open to all ages except for very young children and is for both men and women. We’ve had all kinds of people stay in our dorm – from older kids traveling with their parents, to university students, to solo travelers, to our oldest dorm guest who was 80 years old and traveling Europe alone as he did back in his youth.
We’ve created a dorm room to appeal to people who wouldn’t normally consider staying in a shared room. Most hostels cater to the young, party-seeker while we offer a dorm room that is a clean and calm respite for those not wanting to spend a lot of money on accommodation, but who also don’t want to be isolated and alone in their room.
While sleeping in a roomful of strangers of different ages and from different cultural backgrounds means practicing tolerance and also having to put up with the occasional snorer, early risers or night owls, here’s what we consider a good code of conduct for staying in The Beehive’s dorm which can probably be applied to other dorm stays on your travels:
1. If you need a towel, let us know. We don’t put them out for all guests since many dorm guests carry their own. But if you need one, we’re happy to provide one. We do require €1 for a towel rental if you want to shower after you’ve already checked out.
2. Many hostels require that you bring your own sheets, or that you strip your own beds. At The Beehive we provide linens and make up your beds for you and don’t expect you to strip the bed when you leave. However, DO stay in the bed you were assigned. Don’t switch beds and if you want to change beds with someone who is leaving – ask at reception first.
3. Many hostels do offer kitchens, but we don’t at our main facility. Our cafe, by law, is not available for guests’ use. If you are wanting to cook your own food or store perishable food items, we have private rooms offsite – Acacia and Clover – that offer self-catering kitchens.
4. Bring an eye mask and ear plugs. This will help you sleep better so that you aren’t disturbed by the person arriving to the room late at night or leaving early in the morning, by someone’s snoring or from whatever other noises you might hear especially if you are a light sleeper.
5. Consider bringing a small satchel with lavender in it. It’s nice to keep in your bag to make your clothes smell fresh, but also nice to have near your head when sleeping at night – not only does it help you relax, but in the summer months when dorm room smells are subject to the hygiene of your fellow travelers – you’ll be happy to have something pleasant to smell.
6. If you have to check-out early, pack your bag the night before and be quiet and mindful of the people who are trying to sleep.
7. If you come back late, again – quiet is key. Is it really necessary to shower and blow dry your hair at 1am? If it is, than please use the bathroom downstairs near the lounge where no one can hear you.
8. Let reception know immediately if there is anyone in the room who is problematic in any way, exhibiting inappropriate behavior or who is making you uncomfortable. Our priority is to people who want to sleep and rest, so if someone is being disruptive, we’ll intervene – just let us know. Thankfully, we have very rarely had to do this over the years as the overwhelming majority of our dorm guests have been respectful and considerate of others in the room.
9. Be social. It doesn’t mean you have to be the life of the party, but say hello. Introduce yourselves to others in the room. One of the great benefits of staying in the dorm is meeting others and sharing information and travel experiences, and if you’re fortunate, making new friends.