For quite some time I thought that hostels were only for students. Having studied in a boarding school for years, for me hostel and dormitory meant it was for students. It was only when I started travelling, that I learnt about backpacker hostels for travellers.
Mostly for solo travellers, backpacker hostels have gained popularity in the last few years. These are extremely economical, perfect for solo travellers, a great place to network and perfect for slow travel. So last month when I was in Mumbai for two weeks, I decided to stay at a backpacker hostel in Mumbai – Cohostel.
Mumbai as you all know is one of the most expensive cities to stay in in the world. Many people thought I’m foolish to be spending two weeks in Mumbai, They thought that I could have travelled international, but they don’t know the amount of knowledge I got about Mumbai in those two weeks. I’ll proudly call myself a pseudo-Mumbaikar now 😉
Since this was going to be my first ever backpacker hostel experience, I decided to have it only for a few days instead of the complete 2 weeks. I stayed at Cohostel Mumbai for about 5 days before moving to an Airbnb nearby.
Nonetheless, I got a good experience staying at a hostel. This is going to be my honest Cohostel review. This is going to be the most elaborate and detailed review of Cohostel Mumbai based on my research before the trip.
Cohostel – Budget Backpacker Hostel in Mumbai
Based on my interaction with people from the hostel space in Mumbai, I came to know that a lot of them shut down due to covid. Currently, there are only 3 good ones, Zostel, Namastey Backpacker Hostel and CoHostel. There are a few others as well, but I don’t have much information about them. Zostel is one of the most popular and fastest-growing backpacker hostel chains in India.
The reason I didn’t choose to stay there in Mumbai is because of their location. There are located quite far away from the central areas like Andheri, Bandra etc. where I wanted to stay (basically far from the local train or metro). Similar was the case with Namastey as well, hence the only option I had was Cohostel Mumbai.
Location & Ambiance
Cohostel Mumbai is located at one of the posh locations in Mumbai – Bandra West. It’s set up in an old Portuguese style bungalow nestled among equally mesmerising bungalows around. It’s off the chapel road which has narrow alleys that portray Bombay and not Mumbai. There is some amazing Bollywood street art in the vicinity and some of the best cafes in Bandra are within a walking distance.
For the Bollywood fanboys, this is a few kilometres away from Mannat and Galaxy Apartment and the famous Bandstand beach.
Coming to the property itself, it’s a small and congested place. There’s a flight of narrow and steep stairs that lead up to the hostel. It can be difficult to climb if you have some luggage. The entrance has a passcode protected lock, they’ll share the code with you after you check in so that you can come in and move out at your will.
Once inside, you’ll pass through a narrow alley with rooms on either side. Not to forget the shoe rack that greets you at the door which isn’t pleasant for your eyes or nose. After you clear that hurdle and reach the end of the alley, there’s another flight of extremely narrow and steep stairs to the reception.
The reception is tiny and is manned most of the time. There’s a flight of stairs that takes you to the common area on the floor above. There are tables and benches where you can work or eat. There are beds and chairs around the place. There are large windows which make the place windy. There’s also a co-kitchen where you can prepare your own food, a refrigerator and a water pot. The common area is what I loved the most because it’s open, airy and a great place to hang out and meet people.
Rooms, Amenities and Service
There are 6 rooms with one being exclusive for female travellers, the rest being mixed dorms. The female room has an additional passcode based lock. Each of the rooms has 3 bunk beds and a bathroom along with lockers. Each bed has got a couple of plug points for charging and a small lamp. The bed/mattress is quite broad and comfortable. For someone like me who can’t sleep when the bed changes, I had a pretty good sleep here. The rooms are air-conditioned, but they turn on the AC only after 10 PM and up to 7 AM. You can request them to turn it on during the day.
Most of the rooms didn’t have windows – or maybe people didn’t open them. And that was the reason, I came to the room only to sleep. The rooms are extremely small. While the entire property along with the bathrooms is extremely clean, you can occasionally see some ants on the walls.
They don’t allow you to eat in the room and you have to go to the common area for it. Even for drinking water, you need to climb the stairs to reach the kitchen which can be irritating at times. Also, I wished they had hangers/hooks to hang clothes and maybe a chair in the room.
In terms of amenities, they have a very basic complimentary breakfast. It includes bread butter/jam/cheese along with tea/coffee and omelette. Apart from that, there is WiFi which is good enough for working and taking calls. I was working from here for almost a week and didn’t face any major issues. There are also board games and a small pool table to chill.
Evenings in the common area are nice as most of the people hang out here. For lunches and dinners, people order from Zomato and Swiggy. I too did that occasionally as most other times I went out to eat.
One major concern that I have is that a few people don’t respect the quiet hours. As per the rules, after 10 pm, people should refrain from playing loud music or talking loudly for the comfort of others. However, there were parties happening in the common area, people returning from parties early in the morning and talking outside the room. It’s quite disturbing for someone like me who needs a peaceful place to sleep. One major reason, I also opted for a private Airbnb flat for this trip.
Verdict: A Good Place For Solo Travellers
For a city like Mumbai, getting a clean room to sleep in at an affordable rate is rare. Cohostel Mumbai does exactly that. For about Rs 900 a night with complimentary breakfast, CoHostel Mumbai provides a good bed in a clean air-conditioned room. What else do you need?
Based on what I heard from others at the hostel, this is one of the cleanest hostels they’ve been to in Mumbai. Moreover, a lot of international travellers also stay here making it a great place to network. Barring the petty issues like that of the air conditioner, shoe rack and quiet hours, I feel Cohostel is a great place for solo travellers. If you plan to explore the city during the day and use the room only to sleep, this is a perfect place.
My first backpacker hostel experience was a pretty good one. Keeping all the issues I highlighted earlier aside, I would go back and spend time here during my next trip to Mumbai. If you are going to Mumbai and looking for a budget backpacker hostel in Mumbai, I’d recommend Cohostel.