It was a sudden official trip to Rihand, in UP, with overnight halt at Varanasi . There were two of us . The plan was of adventure and saving money. The intention was to relive the bachelorhood days of travelling alone or with a friend.

A quick interaction with a kind hearted soul and ace travel blogger Prasad of DesiTraveler made me aware of Zostel – the first branded hostels in India

Rooms were booked based on pics and description on their portal and we were all set.

My flight landed in the evening and a quick chat up with the prepaid taxi driver assured me that by no means it would be possible for me to watch the famous Sandhya Aarti at the Varanasi Ghats. My friend was also coming by a separate flight and would land later, so the plan of Sandhya Aarti cancelled and I headed towards Zostel.

We stayed in Zostel for 1 night while on our way to Rihand and for a few hours on our way back.

Varanasi Zostel by pikturenama room directions

Room directions

Reasosns why you should not stay in Zostel Varanasi and any other Zostel as such –

1. You are a luxury traveler and cannot lift your finger to get a glass of water; leave aside carrying your luggage through staircases to your room and bringing them down while checking out. Zostel has no room service. You will need to get your bottles of water from the 3rd floor common room area. But then, who would want to stay locked up in a room while travelling especially to Varanasi, where there is so much to explore.

2. If you want everyone to know which place you are staying in and carry off that air around you, then Zostel is definitely not the place for you. We stayed at HHI also in the same tour while on our way back and everyone in the city seemed to know this – but might be due to new entry into the market or less of promotion – very less local people knew about Zostel. The first landmark is Luxa Police station and then you need to call up the place to get the directions. The advantage is that it is very near to the ghats, which in turn gives you more time to spend on the ghats.

Varanasi Zostel by pikturenama graffiti on the wall

Graffiti on the walls

Varanasi Zostel by pikturenama way towards common area

Rooms and way towards common area

3. If you enjoy your food to be served inside your room only by properly dressed F&B staff members then Zostel is not the place for you. The Varanasi property has applied for restaurant licence, however currently food is available on pre- ordering with a limited choice. However when in Varanasi, one has to explore the streets and the wide spread varieties of food that they provide. Step out and check out the famous eating joints.

Varanasi Zostel by pikturenama common hangout area

Common hangout area

Varanasi Zostel by pikturenama hangout area with

Common hangout area with graffiti

4. If you love your hotel safe and get pleasure of setting passwords and changing them and again re-changing them – then you may try out some other place. You have to carry your own locks in case you are carrying something valuable and the only locker available is under your bed. However, in case you have forgotten anything after you have checked out and inform them – high probability you will get it back – we left our laptop for 4 days as we had forgotten to carry it – we got it back.

5. There is no lounge or Bar, there is no TV in rooms but there is a common room on the 3rd floor  and its one of the most interesting rooms I have ever seen – Chill out and spend sometime there- you won’t miss any lounge or bar ..

Varanasi Zostel by pikturenama graffiti on staircases

Graffiti on staircases

6. You want your own space and no disturbance – In Zostel you may need to share your rooms with 4 unknown people in case you have opted for a dormitory. There are single rooms also, however only a handful.

Varanasi Zostel by pikturenama the terrace hangout

Terrace at Zostel 2

Varanasi Zostel by pikturenama the skyline

That moment as a photographer when you are tempted to capture a dull skyline

Why Zostel worked for me

If you have already made up your mind not to stay with Zostel – then hold on and please change your decision .

It may sound that the intention of this blogpost is to warn the readers about why they shouldn’t stay in Zostel – but I liked the concept in total and if I am travelling alone or with friends with only a backpack, then Zostel is the place where I will get myself booked. Zostel is India’s first branded hostel.  Clean rooms , white linen, cleaner toilets with 24 hours water supply , wi fi , AC s working, helpful staff and safe and secured. All of these with a very minute hole in your pocket – Do you need anything else on an expedition tour ?

Zostel Varanasi is located at – D-54/16-D, Jaddumandi, Aurangabad Luxa Road, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221010.

P.S. – We paid for our stay and all other expenses incurred during the stay in Zostel