I ventured to Utrecht on a whim, with no plans, no reason and no expectations. After spotting it on the map, I booked my train ticket from Amsterdam and quickly booked BUNK Hotel, thinking it looked relatively in the centre, reasonably priced and a bit different to my normal bookings. When I arrived to check in, I had the most pleasant surprise!
The location of BUNK Hotel couldn’t be better. Just a few minutes’ walk from the huge, central shopping centre where there are plenty of places to grab a bite to eat, and a short walk to the river and charming narrow shopping lanes of the city centre. Check in was a simple, easy and efficient affair, all completed on the computer with someone on hand in case I got stuck. It was quiet when I checked in, and I was given a complimentary smoothie to enjoy as I completed the process, before being shown to my dorm and bed.
BUNK Hotel is a combination of hotel and hostel, with private double rooms on offer as well as a dorm room. When the word hostel is mentioned, images of metal bunkbeds with no privacy spring to mind, with the dread of having to share bathrooms with young people who spend their entire time drunk. This couldn’t be further from the truth at BUNK Hotel. The dorm room has a large number of beds, but the beds are two high with each in its own private ‘pod’, and most of the people I saw where actually workers or solo travellers.
Similar to the Japanese capsule hotels, the beds are accessed from one end, and surrounded on all other sides by walls. A comfortable mattress awaits in the pod, with space alongside it to keep personal belongings and whatever else you decide you need with you. I’ve stayed in similar style dorm rooms before, but this one was by far superior as it comes complete with privacy curtain, a place in the pod to hang clothes and a towel, and funky light settings that can be adjusted for comfort.
This is possibly the most luxurious dorm I have stayed in. Aside from the multiple light settings in the pod, the bathroom was continuously being cleaned, the showers had a powerful shower with shampoo and shower gel provided, and everything was totally private with floor to ceiling doors. Even the pods felt extremely private, and those on the top level are at such a height that even when the curtain is open people can’t see in.
In terms of security, even though it’s a hostel and I was sharing a room with more people than I usually would, I had no concerns over personal security or even of my stuff. Each pod has an allocated locker, which will fit a large 60L backpack into it. The locker and door to the dorm are both opened with the keycard given at check in.
From the outside, BUNK Hotel has kept the shell of the church it was converted from, and the character doesn’t stop there. Once inside, the modern, stylish and welcoming interior invites you in and offers a comfortable place to enjoy a snack, meal, drinks or just somewhere to work. As well as a bar, there’s a restaurant on hand to offer a variety of dishes. The seating area has a range of tables and chairs, and has more of a social vibe with large tables encouraging people to sit and eat together.
There are still signs of the church origins of the building, with the huge organ hanging in the eating area, and the wood panelling of the private rooms being a modern take on the church vibe. Don’t be mistaken though, this is definitely a modern, quirky and on trend place to stay. The bathrooms from the restaurant have emojis to indicate which you should choose – peach or aubergine? The comfortable relaxation area was made up of different spaces, one of which replicated a living room, which is a nice touch for people like myself who are away from home for long periods of time at once and miss the home comforts like a sofa.
Overall, BUNK Hotel really surprised me at being able to offer stylish, comfortable and well-located accommodation for such a reasonable price. I would definitely recommend it to anyone, whether they are typical hostel stayers or prefer a private room whenever they find themselves in Utrecht.
Hotel website: www.bunkhotels.com
Official rating: 3 star
Trip Advisor rating: 4.5 out of 5