Saturday, September 24, 2016


Ah, Riga, such an underrated city in Europe. Thanks to the 16-hours layover in the capital of Latvia, I got a chance to check out it's charming old town. For my short stay in Riga, I opted for the Seagull Garret Hostel while my friends stayed in another hostel outside of the Old Town. 

I’ve heard good things about the hostel from my friends from the Hostel Geeks. In fact, it is included as a 5-star hostel in their brilliant E-book Greatest Hostel of Europe. Normally, what do you see when choosing a place to stay? Budget? Comfort? If you want the best of both worlds and need some guidance, grab a copy of the ebook today!

Approaching the entrance, the first thing I noticed was a cute cat hostel built on the sidewalk. "How sweet! They even installed a sleeping area for street cats!", I thought to myself, now I’m bias towards people who adore and love animals, they must be a genuine bunch! thus, I foresee an interesting stay here in the Seagull’s Garret Hostel. Yea, I decided that even before stepping into the property. Turned out, my instinct was accurate.   

Checking In

As a first time guest, I rang the doorbell and the staff promptly unlocked the door. Upon checking in (which was a breeze), the staff made sure that I was well-informed of the facilities provided by the hostel, including a free walking tour on the next day. I was given a magnetic card to access the floors, and a map of Riga with personal recommendations from the staff clearly marked on.  

Inside the Hostel

        One step into the common areas and you’ll figure out the obvious: the owner of Seagulls Garret Hostel puts in their best effort in the designs
       The whole second floor (open between 7am to 1am) dedicated to socializing is a space that will temporarily bring you out from the city, away from the hustle and bustle. The owners brilliantly make use of the calming effect of cold colors, to be exact: Blue, gray, and white, generating the relaxing vibe of the place as well as placing various related elements and ornaments to bring out a touch of the sea at Seagulls Garret Hostel. There is a comfortable hammock sofa in the middle of the common area. Just climb on it, close your eyes and let it somehow magically swing you onto a pristine beach with seagulls flying above your heads. There is also a long table sitting across the room! The perfect place to organize a backpackers meet-up or group dinner to meet interesting people from around the world, isn’t it? 2 computers are made available for guests to access the internet if they don’t have any devices. And, did I mentioned free flow of coffee and tea
        The 30 square meters hidden terrace at the back of this common room is one of the ideal places to have a drink and rest your feet. If you are lucky, you might be just in time for a themed dinner party when the friendly staff at the hostel join forces to create some unforgettable memories for you to bring back to your home country.  
        If you are a budget traveler wanting to cook your own lunch, dinner, and breakfast, don’t worry, the kitchen is very well equipped! This place is not the kind of hostel that advertises having a working kitchen but turn out to have only a microwave. (side note: encountered this too often and I hate false advertisement! ). 
       Wait a minute, don’t exit the floor yet, there is more to this! Coming out from the common room, walk straight into the chill room equipped with a flat-screen TV, PlayStation and plenty of beanie couch lying around. There were 2 guitars at the window and I picked one of them up. This is a pretty cool area if you feel like showing off your crazy guitar skills to your new friends. 
You’ll have to be a guest of the hostel to access to this common area (need a magnetic card ) and they are subjected to 24/7 CCTV surveillance, so you can know it is very safe.   


       Laundry service is available at €5.00 per load. For travelers who have been on the road for an extended period of time, we appreciate the convenience where someone else would get your laundry done for you while you spend precious time discovering the old charm of Riga, doing your own thing. 
       Wi-Fi works well throughout the building, I managed to upload 4Gb worth of pictures to google drive. 
       Also, just like some top European hostel, Seagulls Garret Hostel is bike-friendly. The hostel does bike rental and you’ll have a nice, safe place to store the bikes while you rest.        
       Not into biking? Don’t worry, you won’t be bored as the hostel offers a lot more interesting tours, such as Paintball, shooting, escape room quest, beach outing and so much more! Sounds like something different to look forward to? I thought so as well!    
       Oh before I forget, the hostel also organize a daily FREE walking tour and if you wish to join the tour on the day you check out, you’ll be allowed to keep your luggage in the storage room. I heard from other travelers that the 2-hours walking tour is a very well planned, insightful one, giving the guest a chance to see Riga through the locals’ eyes!    

The Staff

       The “Seagulls Garret team“ is all about creating the best experience possible for their guest, making your stay not only comfortable but a blast. Those people are energetic, the smiles on their face are contagious, they greeted me warmly at the reception, with an exclaim “Welcome to sunny Riga! ” (despite there was thunder rumbling in the background). Nevertheless, positive vibes were in the air. 
       They were especially passionate when it comes to recommending their favorite places. One of them took a good 10 minutes running through all the interesting hidden gems on the map with me. So, wanna know about tours, cafes, nightlife, cheap things to do? Just ask! You’d appreciate their authentic local expertise!  

The Room

To get to my room, I needed to unlock a huge metal door in front of the floor (that is what the magnetic card was for), so it keeps those without a card away. I felt secured. My private double room was located at the end of the corridor with a shower and toilet conveniently situated next to it. There are nothing much going on in the room, just simple designs with a big window, pretty cozy. The room was bright and airy… to top it up, a plant was placed at the window to cheer up the space. Towels are nicely folded up on the bed. There are enough European sockets to get all my devices fully charged. It was raining during the first hour, so I spent some time kicking back on the comfortable bed, reading local’s recommendations marked on the map.   

Around the Hotel

       The hotel is ideally situated in the Prime location at the edge of Riga Old town, just a stone throw away from the Galerija Centrs Shopping center. It is also a less than 5-minute walk to the bus station and the central railway station. You just have to cross the main road by passing through the underground walkway, pretty easy to reach. It serves as a good base for travelers who wish to explore both sides of the river on top of the obligatory tour through the beautiful old town. 
       My friends decided to start our independent tour of the old town right in front of Seagull’s Garret despite staying in another hostel, and within few minutes walking distance, we found ourselves in the very heart of Riga Old Town.... and, appearing right on time, a plethora of bars, restaurants, and cafes!
       Due to it’s proximity to the central market (you know I am crazy about morning markets), I manage to grab some pastries and fresh fruits in the morning on the day of departure! Not to forget the overwhelming sight of freshly chopped Salmons and the unlimited supply of caviar! 


It is surprising even for me, to be able to enjoy so many perks with the price that goes as low as 10 Euro (dorm beds). I stayed in a double room that cost 35 Euro, and what I got was definitely worth it… I call my stay in Seagull’s Garret Hostel — Affordable Luxury! I highly recommend staying in this hostel if you are passing by Riga! 

I visited Seagull's Garret Hostel in Riga as a guest of the hostel and the Hostel Geeks to introduce these 5-star hostels and promote affordable luxurious stays in Europe. However, opinions and photos are as always, my own. 

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