As I drive up to Banana Bungalow Hostel the white metal gates gently open and I drive my Mitsubishi Outlander Sport through to the spacious courtyard. The cobalt blue walls of the two-story u-shaped building surround me, cheerfully adorned with palm trees and tiki masks, and I make my way to reception where I am greeted not only by a warm smile, but also by golden news rare in Los Angeles; Banana Bungalow Hostel includes free parking. Knowing my Mitsubishi Outlander Sport will be safe on the gated property for the night means I will sleep soundly here for sure.
Banana Bungalow Hostel
Located in a converted-motel typical for Los Angeles (think along the lines of the Palm Motel from My Name is Earl), Banana Bungalow Hostel is situated on the historic Hollywood Boulevard. For my readers who have not been to Hollywood, let me just say Hollywood Boulevard does not always live up to its glamorous reputation. However, the hostel is situated on a cozy end of Hollywood Boulevard, very secure and gated, and I felt safe.
While the property is a little more than a mile from major sites such as the Dolby Theatre, the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Grauman’s Chinese Theater, it is in walking distance from several restaurants and nightclubs, and the hostel offers a shuttle service to hot spots several nights a week.
During my visit I stayed in an all-female dorm room. The room had six twin beds, a full kitchen and its own bathroom and shower. There was plenty of space to spread out, and small lockers for valuables. The hostel had such an aura of trust that most travelers in my room simply left their belongings unguarded in the room.
The hostel has a tiki garden where a complimentary breakfast of toast, cereal, juice and coffee is served every morning.
The space features cushioned lounge chairs, which make it a great place to spend afternoon reading or relaxing and soaking up the Los Angeles sunshine.
But what made this hostel special is the staff. One night I sat on a bench by myself, uncharacteristically feeling too shy to mingle with a nearby group. This was however the first hostel I stayed at in the United States and I was missing Europe. I had only been sitting on the bench for a few moments when a staff member named Michel approached me and struck up a conversation. He introduced me to some other staff members and hostel-goers, and I ended up having one of the most enjoyable evenings of conversation that I’d had in a long-time.
Thank you, Banana Bungalow Hostel, for a safe and wonderful stay.
Note: I was provided with a complimentary stay at Banana Bungalow Hostel. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.