Hoza Hostel, Warsaw

Hoza Hostel, Warsaw


  • Building has lots op possibilities
  • Potential new clientele literally next door, on both sides


  • Poor service and hygiene
  • Bad pacing in guest experience

Hoza Hostel, Warsaw

Hoza Hostel, Hoża 42, 00-516 Warszaw

This is by far the worst hostel I’ve seen so far. Really, there is is no reason why it should look the way it does.

This review is not to slap the owners in the face, so I will try to keep a positive tone of voice.

Being a cheap, affordable hotel for low-budget travel is a choice! Not the result of letting the building and its’ staff get in a rundown state.

When entering the gate, leading to the front door, you notice how the location has become detached from its’ surroundings. Left to the gate is a very popular vegan hamburger place and to the right you can buy Flemish chips

The scene shows a cluster of seats in front of the vegan burger place and a table and benches in front of the Belgian chip place. Both places are really busy all day. Yet the dark gate leading into the dark pathway to the frontdoor of the hostel, plays no part whatsoever in the nice alternative, friendly and busy atmosphere of the two adjacent places.

Hoza hostel Warsaw1


On entering the hostel, the paid staffmember was extremely unfriendly and hardly willing to help in any way. The volunteers working there, however, were very friendly.

Is it exusable for a cheap hostel to have low service? Yes, ofcourse it is. That is more or less the deal you have with your guests. However, being a low-service accommodation, is a strategic choice. By making things just a little bit nicer and more comfortable, you add so much more value to the whole experience. Just adding little things that don’t cost any more money or effort.

The hospitality section in this review can go on and on… mostly about the negative things I have experienced here.

However, let us look to the possibilities of this place!

Using place memory

The website says the building is one of the oldest in Warsaw and goes on to say a modern guest-service awaits the guest, solving any problem you might have. Let’s be kind and forget that last part.

The building is quite beautiul and has 3 enormous qualities to it’s advantage:

  1. In effect, they have a real Italian style palazzo at their disposal;
  2. The courtyard– once cleared from rubbish and rubble -functions as a proper city palace-garden, with all it’s conceptual features exposed;
  3. The building is situated in a place that has a positive history in an enormous pool of WW II sadness, with semantics still perceivable in the surronding area;

We as inhabitants, are not merely inserted in time. We are part of both place and space. Although a great part of Warsaw was ruined after the war, the structure of the semantic urban fabric since then, is all the much more senseable and calls to the city inhabitants with a voice and language that is very clear indeed. The linked nature of the several spaces in this area, does have a stronger significance still, as the stories and structure with which we live in and through which we understand both ourselves and our relationship with place, are amplified through the rebuilt environment after the second world war. This becomes even more interesing, given the fact that this particular building was once the home of the inventor of Esperanto.

hoza hostel naamsteen Hoza hostel courtyard Warsaw Hoza hostel staircase Warsaw

Although it would take it too far (and beyond my own body of expertise) to analyse this in full, it is fair to say that not this building alone but also the surrounding area, is an entity in its own right. The derelict stage of the building dissonates with the rest of the environment in such a way, that it lost its’ own “voice”, its unique way of communicating with the environment, due to loss of its characteristics. The inner courtyard being one of the most important ones. This has the same function as a Palazzo had in the 17th century, it has the function of in-between-ness, the same function a museum lobby has: an in between space between the public space and private space. Such a space has 4 basic functions:

  • A seperation
  • A connection or as orientation
  • As a phase of preperation
  • As a resolution

Neither of these are utilised.

The courtyard has a luminoid boundary, capable of entertaining with the inside space aswell as with the outside space!

Due to the derelict state, it lost adaptability to the surrounding street network, and does not have the capacity of regaining these qualities on its own. The surroundings have enough properties to adapt to the changing structure of the embedded street network and the land uses within them. Hence the more or less alternative character of surrounding shops.

A few recommendations

Hoza Hostel will not survive if it continues to operate in this derelict and dormant state. They will need to have a long-term strategy in which they have to redefine the borders of their services. Surviving on low costs alone, is not enough. Tourist geographies are changing, also in Poland. This has consequenses you will have to think about;

If you don’t want to design a full customer-experiencemap, do learn a few basics about daily routines, arriving, leaving, relaxing. Unlocking the door for them is simply not enough.

Open up the courtyard. You will see you will get a completely different hostel (for the better) and lots of openness from around the street and your potential guests.

Renk van Oyen