Tattva Design Hostel comes with some very strong recommendations: not only did Kash from Budget Traveller include it as one of the best luxury hostels in Europe in his recent Guardian article but it has won a host of awards including Best Large Hostel in the world in 2014! So there really was no question about where I was going to stay on my recent trip to Portugal’s second largest city. There are 124 beds spread over 4 floors, so whilst it is considered a ‘large’ hostel it still retains quite a personal feel that would suit fun, budget-minded travellers. For this Tattva Design hostel review, I’ve mixed some of the hostel’s pictures with my own video above and images below so you can get a full idea of the hostel’s experience.
A short walk from São Bento railway station, this area is very central and would definitely suit any travellers who want to spend most of their time in the medieval/touristy section of the city. That said, Porto is so small that even walking all the way out to the Casa Da Musica only took 40 minutes from here – so that would be the longest walk you would consider doing in Porto.
There wasn’t one particular area of Porto that I spent most of my time in – everything I liked was spread all over – so without a particular district to recommend, I would say stick to anywhere around the medieval district.
Whilst being minutes from the buzz of the city, this area is quite quiet and mainly consists of small community bars and a couple of tiny fado clubs. Whilst initially I thought the small streets looked a little dodgy, I never encountered anything that concerned me in the slightest.
I caught the metro directly from the airport to Bolhão station, which was an easy 8-minute walk through the shopping district to the hostel. So you really couldn’t ask for the hostel’s location to be any better without sacrificing some peace and quiet.
I stayed in an 8-bed female dorm room. They also have 6, 8 and 10-bed mixed dorms and my room was spacious enough to accommodate eight travellers with all their bags. There’s also lots of communal space downstairs and a whole city to explore, so you don’t want to spend too much time in the room anyway.
Each bed comes equipped with bottom sheet, top sheet, duvet and pillow plus a shelf to store small essentials, such as your phone and keys whilst you’re sleeping. There are two power points per bed – both European plugs – plus another one which the reading lamp is plugged into. Each bed had a curtain around it, which allowed for privacy when you’re chilling. There’s also a HUGE lockable drawer/trunk under the bed each, which was ample room to dump all your gear safely. The brilliant thing about these lockers is that it has an electronic lock, which only unlocks with the corresponding room key. So no need to bring a lock!
Overall the room was clean, stylish and thoughtfully designed: exactly what you would expect from somewhere purporting to be a ‘design hostel’. It doesn’t have that new, swish, shiny feel that I’ve experienced at ‘poshtel’ chains (like Generator) but what’s great about this hostel is that it is vibrant whilst also feeling like a boutique business. Himali, who owns the hostel, is at the hostel every weekday and is more than happy to help with anything you need, as are the rest of the staff who man the 24-hour reception.
Apparently, there are private rooms, such as a double, twin and family sized room available as well – but I didn’t get the chance to see these.
This is was a big selling point for me: the bathrooms are spot on. Large, clean and modern, with a double basin, toilet and two rainfall showers in each dorm. They were cleaned perfectly every day and had ample space for multiple women getting ready each morning. As with most hostels, towels and toiletries are not provided so bring your own. I am definitely someone who feels icky at even the smallest sign of dirt or mould in a bathroom and I was totally happy with the facilities in my room.
Breakfast is included in the room price and is served in the restaurant section of the hostel (which is apparently open to the public in the evenings as well). I didn’t try this as I wanted to go for brunch at some of the cafes around town, but I did struggle to find a decent breakfast in Porto so I would recommend eating at the hostel.
As I mentioned above, the staff were all knowledgeable and friendly and the reception is open 24-hours, so you can stagger home anytime after a night of partying.
On the ground and first floors, there is loads of communal space: a big kitchen with two small lounge spaces coming off it with televisions and free computers. Plus a laundry. Up the stairs, you will find a restaurant/bar, where breakfast is served, and up another set of stairs, there is a MASSIVE outdoor terrace that has full sunshine for most of the day. This is a fantastic bonus at the hostel and is apparently really popular during the warmer months (I, sadly, visited in January).
There is one lift that serves all floors with rooms (not the terrace etc I think) so you don’t have to carry your bags up the stairs. The hostel has free Wi-Fi throughout and I found it easy to log-on to. It was quite patchy in my room but was fantastic in all the shared spaces around the hostel.
I really enjoyed my stay at Tattva Design Hostel and I can definitely see why it receives so many awards. Conveniently located in the medieval area, it is a short walk to everything in the city. It also has great facilities, staff and a fantastic terrace! I highly recommend this hostel.
Disclaimer: The hostel kindly offered me three nights stay for free in exchange for writing about the hostel and featuring it on my social media accounts. The owners made no editorial demands on me and this review is a completely honest account of how I felt about my stay. As a general rule, I don’t write negative reviews so if I don’t like a hotel or hostel, I won’t feature it. So I obviously really liked this one.