Solo Travel in Lisbon: Hostel Independente Review

Last summer, I embarked upon my first "solo-trip", after travel plans with a friend fell through.  It ended up being a great experience and I have plans to do it again.  I decided to stay in hostels in the cities where I had no connections, and selected Hostel Independente for my visit to Lisbon. Overall, it wasn't the experience I'd hoped for (but my stay at Hostel Malti in Malta more than made up for it), so I wanted to share what I observed there in Lisbon.

Location-this hostel is located in the lively Bairro Alto district and is literally across the street from a gorgeous park looking out over the city. 
Price- like most hostels, it was reasonably priced and this one included breakfast
Cleanliness- for being a hostel, the rooms were quite immaculate

Environment- it wasn't very welcoming, and most people staying there weren't solo travelers. I think this was partly due to the size- it was quite a big hostel and didn't have a big community feel. Most travelers tended to "do their own thing" during the day and just use the hostel as a base for sleep.  I eagerly signed up for a "dine with the staff" meal on my first night and ended up being the only traveler attending (despite a full hostel!), where I ate mediocre food as the staff spoke Portuguese amongst themselves.  The hostel even has a restaurant open to non-hotel guests for dinner, so it was easy to get lost in the crowd. This ended up making it feel more like a hotel than a hostel.
Bathrooms- the toilet stalls were about 4.5 feet tall and many of the doors didn't lock. 
Rooms- this complaint is minor, but the lockers were very difficult to open and close (and insert the padlock every time) so arriving back to the room at night when others were sleeping posed a problem.
Bar- there were positives and negatives to this bar. The drinks were pretty good and the bartenders were friendly. The seating design was terrible.  There were tall bar stools to sit on but no room for your legs underneath the counter. Additionally, the counter was much higher than chest-height which made it really awkward and uncomfortable to sit and stay awhile. (Hence, I only ran into a few people there.)

Overall, I probably wouldn't stay here again, especially as a solo traveler.  For me, the point of staying in a hostel (more than just saving money) is to feel part of a traveling community and I just didn't get that vibe here.  Luckily, my trip wasn't finished, and my final stop on my solo trip included an amazing hostel experience (which I'll be writing about in the future).

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