Planet Traveler – The Best Hostel in Downtown Toronto
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For the fact that I have stayed at the Planet Traveler nearly ten times, I thought it would be fair to share my experience about this best hostel in downtown Toronto.
I moved to Toronto in summer 2016. Before then, I had traveled to Toronto from Windsor and Stratford whenever I had long weekends and holidays. Before my stay at the Planet Traveler, all I knew was that Planet Traveler was a green hostel located on Spadina and College, but my experience was far from that.
My experience at Planet Traveler
I arrived around noon and buzzed into the hostel. I was falling in love with this beautiful Toronto hostel already. The staff at the front desk welcomed me with a smile on their face, and they gave us a tour of the hostel, where there was breakfast, laundry, a storage room, bikes for rent, and activities.
I was allowed an early check-in to a 5-bedroom female dorm (standard check-in time is at 3pm) to rest a little after my train trip, chat away with my roommate and share travel stories, and get to know each other. I met travelers from Australia, France, and Germany, and we had dinner together talking with each other about our travel experiences. The Australian traveler and I became good friends during the short three days – we watched a movie together, talked about our life in the USA, Australia, and Canada, and her travel experience gave me a sudden urge to visit Oceania and Prince Edward Island. It was only a three-day trip in Toronto and I booked my flight to Prince Edward Island two weeks after I left that hostel. It is amazing that talking to people who have traveled to various places and experienced different lifestyles inspired me to plan my next trip, with the thought of meeting another amazing bunch of travelers.
I also found guests at this hostel to be friendly and courteous. Although I stayed on weekends and the hostel is in one of the busiest areas in Toronto, everyone returned to the room and in their beds before 11:30 pm. The room had two doors – one for entry and one separating the bedroom from the locker room and bathroom. There are occasionally late arrivals and early risers, and they all tried to minimize the noise by closing the bedroom door and packing their belongings in the locker room so we hardly get disturbed from our sleep.
I constantly met other travelers from Europe and South East Asia who had been in the hostel for a week or two looking for employment and a place to stay, and a Germany traveler who had worked in a basement of a restaurant for a week and had a huge issue with her employer. It was fascinating to learn about the challenges of living in Toronto because it reminded me of many difficult times when I just moved to North America.
Rooftop bar with a view
Planet Traveler has a rooftop bar with an outside terrace offering 180-degree views of Toronto downtown. The bar opens to the public everyday till 12am, and you can bring your friends there for socializing, playing games, and watching movies. Some days, my friend and I would get food from The Market By Longos, and spend the night relaxing on the rooftop, listening to the music, and watching the city light up. Free BBQ and pasta dinner are provided every Saturday night. I could have holed up in my room during the cold winter month. Instead, we were at this homely Toronto hostel sharing our travels, eating free meals, socializing with other people, walking in the Kensington Market, and looking at the amazing Toronto skyline from the patio.
I absolutely enjoyed my stay at the Planet Traveler. Added to my personal experience, there were many good things about this hostel.
What I liked the most:
– Friendly atmosphere. The staff was very friendly and the owner, Antonio Meu Chara, was there most time to ensure everything went smoothly. He did not mind chatting with us and assisting us whenever we needed.
– Central location. This hostel is located in downtown Toronto and within walking distance to China Town, Kensington market, Queen Street, Little Italy, University of Toronto, and Yonge – Dundas. The streetcar station is at the doorstep, and St Patrick subway is within 15 minutes walk.
– The room was clean and dim in the morning and that made it comfortable to sleep in the summer morning.
– Complimentary breakfast till 1pm. It was a wonderful feeling to not worry about waking up late to missing the breakfast.
– Excellent amenities. The hostel has a kitchen area, fridge, laundry machine, a huge lounge area with TV, sofa, computer station and a bookcase.
– Free activities: free salsa lessons, Karaoke night, Thursday moving night, and Saturday BBQs (summer) and pasta (winter) on the patio. $5 dinner every Tuesdays.
Things you should know
– The front desk closes from 12 am -7 am. If you arrive after 12 am, you need to consider staying at other hostels, or contact the front desk and see if they can accommodate your late arrival.
– The private room is $80/night total and it only has two beds and nothing else. For a single traveler, I recommend that you do not to book the private room unless you have to. I stayed in the private room for two days because I was getting over a cold and then I moved into a 5-bedroom female dorm.
I have stayed at countless hostels during my travels, and not every hostel makes me want to come back and stay longer, but Planet Traveler does. It opened my eyes, allowed me to get to know more of Toronto, and made me feel home away from home. From now on, when my friends ask me about budget accommodation in Toronto, I always tell them to go to Planet Traveler.
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