We were never planning on visiting Frankfurt. We weren’t even “supposed” to be in Germany until September or October. But the beauty of backpacking is that it allows for a pretty large degree of flexibility and spontaneity. Plus, Michael and I like to sarcastically say #YOLO. So long story short, we ended up in Frankfurt on a whim.
Luckily, we got an incredible rate at Five Elements Hostel. This place is only a few minutes walking from the main train station (and other sites) which is super convenient.
It is located in the Red Light District of Frankfurt, but we never felt unsafe or uncomfortable. The hostel has staff at the front desk 24/7, a security camera at the entrance, and a buzz-in system for the front door. I can see how the location could get some less adventurous travelers’ panties in a wad, but it honestly wasn’t that big of a deal.
And it was really awesome for our unplanned #YOLO trip to Frankfurt because they have a deal where any available bed is €19, as long as it’s booked less than 3 days in advance! Since we were so last minute, our first night was in a dorm room, but our next three nights were in a private room for the same price – sweet!
We got checked in, and then it was time to take a tour.
The lobby had lots of tables, great for hanging out, laptopping, or drinking a beer.
This is also where breakfast happened. And if you stayed 3+ nights, you got breakfast for free!
I loved that the essential breakfast items on every table included a giant jar of Nutella. And although I probably could have just eaten that entire jar with a spoon, I resisted the urge.
Here’s an example of what I ate. Note the liberal use of the Nutella. (Obv.) And it’s not like I was gonna pass up the chocolate bread either! (Thank goodness for lots of walking and stairs in Europe.) Michael and I have a pretty strict “eat well, exercise well” policy.
We also found out that Five Elements has free pasta night every Wednesday. And being a backpacker on a budget is kind of like being a broke college student. You don’t pass up a free meal, for any reason, ever.
So we did that too! (Isn’t our awesome last-minute deal of €19 per bed seeming EVEN MORE AWESOME?) Cheap beds and free meals mean that we can save that money to splurge on fun attractions later. Or travel for a longer amount of time on the same budget. Yes please, to both. (And the pasta was pretty good!)
There was also complimentary water, coffee, and tea in the lobby 24/7, which we definitely took advantage of. Frankfurt was one of the few cities where we didn’t have a grocery store trip during our stay because so much food and drink was available to us (and all included with the price of our room!)
They also had a book exchange, which is a fun idea. We’ve been sticking to e-books, so I didn’t actually take anything. But there were so many different languages and genres! It was interesting to see what books travelers had with them (and what they left behind.)
So that’s the lobby. And behind Michael is the spiral staircase that goes down to the basement.
Down in the basement, there was a pool table. And walls with bloated zombie teddy bears.
There was also a foosball table. (And lots of hostel brochures.)
And as a bonus, there was a (hard of hearing?) guy watching a German nature documentary about some kind of bird (REALLY loudly), so I didn’t take a picture of the couches or TV. But you can picture them, just to the left of this photo. (And if you also want to imagine the audio, here’s how it sounded… with the TV at max volume.)
There’s also a separate room with a kitchen and washing machine in the basement. This room is primarily used as a reprieve from really loud German television, but if you want, you can also cook food or wash your clothes here.
The rooms were nice enough. Nothing too special, just a place to sleep. Which is exactly how I like it. I don’t need anything fancy, and who wants to be sitting around the room when they could be out exploring a new city anyway??
However, I will say that the dorm experience is a liiiiittle different than having a private room in a hostel. Because another way that backpacking is similar to being a college student is the thrill(?) of potluck when it comes to who your roommates will be. And unfortunately, we didn’t get so lucky this time.
Since we were paying the same price for the dorm bunks as we were for the private room, we were pretty happy to move to our own place after the first night.
So there were a few less-than-awesome bits (dorm roommates, extremely loud bird documentaries), but it’s not like any of those things were the hostel’s fault. Plus, it was a great value (especially for such a last-minute trip).
Essentially, we were already pretty pleased with Five Elements, and then… THURSDAY NIGHT HAPPENED.