Hotel vs Hostel: Get the Best of Both Worlds At Your Krakow Home Away From Home

Hotel vs Hostel: Get the Best of Both Worlds At Your Krakow Home Away From Home

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When I first started traveling extensively on my own, I was still a poor law student who could only afford to stay in hostels. Since I was doing a lot of solo travel at the time, I loved the social and community aspects that hostels offered. The communal living spaces and shared amenities made it easy to meet fellow travelers and make new friends from all over the world. As the years went by, however, and I had the financial capability to stay at nicer hotels, I started to miss the community aspect of travel. I wanted the privacy of my own space and the nicer amenities I had in hotels, but I also wanted the opportunity to meet fellow travelers. This hotel vs hostel debate went on for a while in my head, with hardly a solution in sight. That’s why I was so excited when I discovered Cracowdays, a hotel in the center of Krakow, Poland that offered both the privacy  of hotels and community elements of hostels. Finally, the hotel vs hostel debate was over, and I was able to get the best of both worlds at my Krakow home away from home, Cracowdays.

Hotel vs Hostel: Get the Best of Both Worlds At Your Krakow Home Away From Home
Krakow’s Old Town Square at night

Home Away From Home

Cracowdays is located inside an apartment building on a mostly residential street not far from the Krakow Old Town Square. Surrounded by Krakow apartments on both sides, the location instantly made us feel like we were going back to our apartment at home rather than to a cold hotel in a foreign city. Nina greeted us at the front door, showed us to our room on the ground floor, and led us upstairs to enjoy some honey vodka (a local treat) and coffee while we filled out a couple of forms to complete the check in process. To make us feel more at home, Nina also provided maps, restaurant recommendations, and even some common phrases we might want to learn in Polish. I was very grateful for this as I always try to learn a few words in the local language of every country I travel to, and it was my first time visiting Poland so I needed all the help I could get.

When we got back downstairs, we walked through the long hallway past the couches, computer station, kitchen, and a few other rooms to our room at the end of the hallway, but not before stopping by the kitchen to much on some cookies that had been set out for the guests.

Hotel vs Hostel: Get the Best of Both Worlds At Your Krakow Home Away From Home
The breakfast room and kitchen upstairs

The fully stocked kitchen also included a minibar, which you could take from freely and charge to your room at the end of your stay. I was surprised that there was no system in place to calculate how many drinks you’ve taken, other than to keep track on your own and honor the honor system. To me, that was not only another sign of how the staff at Cracowdays treats its guests like family, but it also spoke to the quality of guests who stay at Cracowdays, an important factor as you’ll be sharing the common spaces with other guests. In the mornings, we were able to make coffee in the kitchen and bring it back to bed to sip on before we headed out for the day, just like we do at home.

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If you’re looking to socialize, the kitchen is a great place to do so, as are the couches in the hallway near the computer station. There is also a bulletin board in the hallway near the computer station with a list of activities to do in the city, like free walking tours and pub crawls that you can check out with your new friends or go on to make more new friends in Krakow. And just in case it’s raining when you visit Krakow, and you’re like me and never bring an umbrella when you travel, rest assured that Cracowdays provides a bucket of large umbrellas that you’re free to borrow in case you’re caught with some bad weather. The staff at Cracowdays really have thought about every detail when it comes to making its guests feel at home.

Spacious, Cozy Rooms

Hotel vs Hostel: Get the Best of Both Worlds At Your Krakow Home Away From Home
Our beautiful and cozy ‘Chianti’ room

There was no lack of space in our Standard ‘Chianti’ room at Cracowdays, so I can only imagine how spacious a Superior room or Independent Studio would feel. The first thing I noticed when I walked in was a large ceramic tiled stove that looked like it had been transported there from hundreds of years ago. Even though the stove was only meant as decoration and was not functional, I felt that it gave the room more warmth and coziness.

One of my favorite things about the room were the lights. As soon as I turned on the lights, I felt an even stronger sense of warmth, as the soft red lights lit up the room and reflected beautifully off the walls.

Hotel vs Hostel: Get the Best of Both Worlds At Your Krakow Home Away From Home
The exposed brick in the Superior Room adds a rustic-trendy touch that I love

The bathroom felt equally as cozy, with a heated towel rack that I really enjoyed after coming in from the cold outside. Rather than providing individually packaged toiletries, there was a soap dispenser inside the shower that held shampoo and body wash, a small detail that can make a big difference in eliminating plastic waste and benefiting the environment. With all the negative effects travel can have on the environment, I have been looking for even the smallest ways to reduce my waste while traveling. Although I didn’t even notice this detail while researching the best place to stay in Krakow, I thought it was a great initiative that other hotels should consider implementing as well. If you’re wondering where to stay in Krakow, I urge you to consider this environmental component when choosing your Krakow home away from home.

Hotel vs Hostel: Get the Best of Both Worlds At Your Krakow Home Away From Home

Partner Restaurants

Earlier I mentioned that Nina provided us with a list of recommended restaurants in the area when we checked into Cracowdays. What I didn’t mention was that many of those restaurants offer discounts to Cracowdays guests. I’m actually quite surprised I haven’t seen more hotels do this, but I think it’s a great way for local hotels and restaurants to partner together in their business pursuits. One of the partner restaurants with Cracowdays is Zielona Kuchnia Restauracja, an ultra modern and chic restaurant serving healthy, modern Polish cuisine that is located right across the street from Cracowdays. Since we hadn’t had anything to eat for almost the entire day before arriving at Cracowdays, we decided to go there for dinner on our first night in Krakow. I ordered a pan-seared duck dish, and my fiance ordered a fish filet dish, and both were delicious and filling, with a good mix of familiar and unfamiliar flavors.

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Hotel vs Hostel: Get the Best of Both Worlds At Your Krakow Home Away From Home
Pan-seared duck cooked to perfection

Most of the restaurants on the partner list with Cracowdays were on the nicer side, so if you’re looking for something quick, casual, and cheap, you might want to look elsewhere. We saw many tasty-looking food stands serving Mediterranean food, and we also found a delicious pierogi restaurant called Pierogarnia Krakowiacy, which you’ll walk past on your way from Cracowdays to Old Town Square, that I can wholeheartedly recommend. We had a hard time choosing from so many types of fillings but ultimately settled on a plate of the pork and beef meat pierogis and a plate of the duck and apple pierogis, both of which were delicious. Could we have eaten a third plate if we tried really hard? Probably, but we were more than satisfied after sharing two plates between the two of us.

Pierogarnia Krakowiacy

If you get a hankering for some local vodka after your meal, head across the street to Pijalnia Wodki, which Hope wrote about in her 24 hour guide to Krakow. Popular mainly with college students and hostel stayers, there’s no harm to stopping in for some $1 shots while marveling at the communist-era decorations inside regardless of which age group or demographic you fall into.

I couldn’t have asked for a better place to stay than Cracowdays on my first visit to Krakow, a city that pleasantly surprised me with how much it has to offer and how livable it is. I could see myself getting into a daily routine of going for a morning run through the park or along the riverfront, getting some work done at a cafe while people watching in Old Town Square, and going out at night in the lively Kazimierz district. So if you’re like me and find yourself running the hotel vs hostel debate through your head every time you look for accommodations on your travels, let this be proof that you can get the best of both worlds in one accommodation. If you’re still wondering where to stay in Krakow, stop wondering and go find your home away from home at the best place to stay in Krakow: Cracowdays.

Looking for things to do around Krakow? Here are a few of our favorite tours: 

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A big thank you to Cracowdays for making our stay possible. As always, all opinions are 100% our own.

Hi, I'm Diana, the big sister in the sister duo. I left my job as an attorney in March 2017 to pursue the work-from-anywhere/travel-everywhere life aka The Dream. I blog about off the beaten trail travel destinations, adventure travel, immersing in local cultures, and publish plenty of travel guides for all you who are too lazy to plan your own trips. I've traveled to 61 countries to date, and some of my recent adventures include hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro, visiting a child I've sponsored for over 10 years in Rwanda, and exploring the Middle East.

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14 Responses
  1. What a great stay you had in Krakow, the hotel really looks great! I love the interior design and it nice to have the full kitchen and minibar that’s super convenient. The food at the neighboring restaurant looks really delicious as well! I’d surely book a night here if I’ll visit Krakow.

  2. I love how this place balances the community, hospitable vibe with your own privacy too. I have that debate a lot on where to stay (privacy vs community) now that I’m out of school and employed too! Do you know if they have locations outside of Poland as well? (I’m guessing no because the name almost has Krakow in it- but it would be cool if they secretly had locations around the world!)

    1. Hey Angelica, they don’t unfortunately, but you should email the owners, Magdalena and Janusz, and ask them to set up a location in your city of choice! I know they are very well-traveled and actually got the idea of creating Cracowdays when they were vacationing in Australia, so I’m sure they’d be open to chatting with you about that! 🙂

  3. I love the idea of combining a hotel’s comfort with the sociability of a hostel! So cool! I’m hoping to go to Poland in the next year or two and would love to stay at Cracowdays. Thanks for sharing this awesome place.

  4. I like your take on Hotel VS. Homestay – Comfort or cultural experience? It was fun reading about your diverse experience 🙂 and the images of the food is super inviting!!

  5. I never stayed in a hostel and prefer a hotel for a privacy. But I stayed in a hotel once with a home theme and the room was like a studio with a mini kitchen, that definitely piqued my interests in comfortable places. Cracowdays does seem like a nice place and the soap dispenser is amazing, I love to reduce plastic impact when travelling I am planning a trip to Poland maybe in the next year, and Cracowdays made to my shortlist of places to stay 🙂

    1. The hotel you stayed at with the home theme sounds a lot like Cracowdays! The owners’ goal when creating this hotel was to create a home away from home for travelers visiting Krakow, and I think they did a perfect job of it. Hope you make it to Poland next year and get to experience Cracowdays for yourself!

  6. I definitely agree with what you said about wanting to stay at a hotel but not wanting to miss out on the opportunity to meet people like you would at a hostel. What I love about this hotel is that it seems to give off more of that B&B feel – which from experience is usually the type of hotel I go for if I hope to mingle with the owners or other visitors. Sounds like a lovely stay.

  7. Aaah the hotel vs hostel debate! It is always a tough choice for me too. I often end up staying in hotels (mostly because I like the flexibility about being able to cancel/change dates easily) Like you, I do miss the laughs I used to get from making friends in hostels. I just don’t miss the communal bathrooms!

    Anyway, Cracowdays looks perfect. I love how cozy it seems, and it’s awesome that they had teamed up with local restaurants. What a fantastic idea!

    1. I’m so with you on the communal bathrooms, that was one of the toughest parts of staying in hostels. Cracowdays was super cozy, and their partnership with local restaurants made us feel even more at home – like we could walk into a restaurant, tell them where we were staying, and they’d instantly offer up a discount! Almost made us feel a bit VIP 😉

  8. I love how “homey” and comfortable Nina has made the place for her guests. Your pictures and descriptions of the room, fully stocked kitchen, mini bar with the honor system in place is great. Like you, I love the private feel of a hotel, but I also enjoy the community aspects. This truly sounds like the perfect marriage. Have not been to Poland yet, but when we do go, we’ll certainly look into Cracowdays. That duck looks delicious by the way 🙂

  9. Cracowdays seems like a very lovely hotel stay. I am always seeking for that homely comfort and this hotels seems great in all aspects. The spacious rooms, fully stocked kitchen, beautiful interiors and great locality makes it so perfect. Thanks for sharing about it, will surely plan a stay there while I am in Krakow.

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