When in New Orleans, go to India!
Its funky. Its hip. Its has everything a budget-conscience traveller would want, plus a few resort-like features thrown in just for the heck of it. If you’re planning to visit New Orleans, get online and book at the India Hostel. You won’t regret it.
The hostel has captured the funk and soul that is New Orleans and splashed it across the walls in colourful murials, and embedded into culture of this efficiently run business. In fact, staying at his hostel is such an experience of itself that its hugely tempting to just stay within its walls all day admiring the its vibe rather than pulling on those walking shoes and seeing the city.
The hostel is huge, comprising of several buildings over an entire block. Yet it still manages to focus people to a central communal area. Probably because of pool. Yes, it has a pool. And an outdoor stage, which is occasionally occupied by local bands. Oh and an outdoor bar area where you can throw your cheap beers from the corner store in one of the three outdoor fridges.
One the best things I found was the rustic outdoor kitchen under a lean-to where they serve the perfect hangover-cure; a full greasy breakfast menu from 9am – 1pm, for only $6. Believe me, when you stumble out of your sweaty, beer-smelling sheets, its sweltering hot, and the sun is too bright for your poor, blood-shot eyes, you don’t want to be floundering around the kitchen foraging up something to soak the last of the alcohol in your stomach. It would also be waaay too much effort to change clothes and head out to find some grub.
Besides, as you shuffle your way to breakfast you can give a passing nod to those you vaguely remember dancing with in the blur of images thats all thats left of the previous nights memory. Then plonk yourself down with your greasy fare next to those you started off the night with, give them an accusing glance for setting you up for this misery, then proceed to thread together the events of the night as you tuck in. By the end of breakfast you’re chipper enough to realise it was a pretty awesome night and maybe well worth this morning’s pain. Plus, if you’re still a bit delicate, a good swim in the pool washes away the last of the sweat and smells clinging to you like a bad companion.
The hostel is definitely designed for travellers on a budget making the most of the party scene in New Orleans. It comes with the other usual hostel facilities as well, such as wifi and laundry, but bathroom towels can only be bought at reception for $5. So its best if you can BYO, plus don’t forget a towel for the pool. The bathrooms in the main building are also a bit short, tend to spray in all directions, and are in high demand. I was told those lucky enough to be in the in other buildings had bathrooms which were a lot better.
I had originally booked 5 nights at this hostel, but have since realised that you should ideally only stay for 3 nights for the best experience. I don’t know about you, but three days of high intoxication and little sleep can start to take a toll. With the high volume of people coming and going from this place it can also get a little overwhelming introducing yourself and repeating your travel itinerary to at least 10 people each and every day. On top of that, I seem to bond the best with those travelers that check in on the same day, like Freshmen at a new school. After three days most of your new BFF’s are moving on to new exciting places and its hard to have quite the same experience without them. Yep, 3 nights seems to be the magic number.
The India is not as new and fancy than some other hostels I’ve stayed in. But its got a lot of charm, a funky vibe that can’t be beaten, attracts fabulous friendly people, and has everything you need – and that is pretty much what New Orleans is like in a nutshell!