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Under 18's in Hostels in Madrid

Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012) VDLP (2014) Portuguese (2015)
#1
I would like to share this predicament that my grandson and myself found ourselves in on our way home via Madrid.
This camino was a dream for me as I was given permission to take my 14 year old grandson on a camino so he could taste my joy of being so privileged to walk on many caminos. We started in Lisbon having a quick visit to introduce him to a new country and culture - we then proceeded to Porto for a couple of nights then bussed to Valence where we were to begin our journey to Santiago. All was wonderful - staying in albergies and hostel along route and enjoying everyone and everything the path has to offer. I booked a hostel in Santiago and Madrid via Bookings.com and they were confirmed and so I felt at least that was no worry. Wanting to introduce him to the wonderful transport system in Portugal and Spain we traveled by bus and train. On arrival in Madrid - our last stop before we had to head back home to SA - I had booked us into the Mola Hostel and on arrival was over excited about our fantastic location - but alas that was the start of our troubles - on check in the very kind receptionist started with the paperwork and then said that Liam was not allowed in the hostel in a shared room as he was only 14. Bearing in mind Madrid was really full and I was super thrilled to get this booking. To cut a long story short it was now 6pm and in the middle of a teeming city we had nowhere to stay - the kind young man did try a couple of other hostels and all gave the same answer. I have never prayed so hard and after an hour of trudging up and down we were led to a lovely little private hostel with the kindest owners and were able to get the last available room. So this is the thing - no where along the route did we ever have any questions or problems except in Madrid - can someone enlighten me as to why this should be the ruling in Madrid and does is apply in other large cities in Spain. On booking I filled in Liams age so they were well aware that he was a minor. It all ended well but it was a horrible way to end our very special and wonderful experience together.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#2
Unfortunately this is not uncommon in backpacker hostels in a number of countries. Many have a policy of only allowing under-18s to sleep in private rooms booked for the exclusive use of their group - in your case the pair of you. It is also occasionally the case that hostels will specify an upper age limit - usually a sign that this is a "party" hostel that I would prefer not to be seen dead in even if they would allow my elderly self a bed in the first place.
 

Paladina

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Cycled caminos francés, Finisterre, primitivo & del norte (2017); VdlP/Sanabres, ingles et al (2018)
#3
I’m glad that your post-Camino cloud had a silver lining. Your experience offers a salutary reminder to anyone using a hostel booking site. Before making a reservation, read the relevant sections on hostel policies / important information on the drop-down menu for any restrictions on age or other grounds. The restrictions are always stated in the small print. I once inadvertently booked a bed in an under-40s dorm in Kiev, but the upper age-limit seem to be enforced only on elderly backpackers unwilling to sleep in bunk beds, which would be a highly unlikely complaint on the Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012) VDLP (2014) Portuguese (2015)
#4
Thank you for your comments and I really do hope this helps someone else who happens to find themselves in this predicament. My gripe is purely with Bookings.com as they were aware of the age of my grandson and still preceded to do the booking - surely they should be aware of this situation or am I missing something here. One hotel that we approached and I proceeded to tell them my tale of woe even got hold of Bookings.com on the telephone - when I spoke to them they said they had sent me a mail which I am still waiting to receive but then they gave me the number of another hostel which I should try. So before heading down there? I asked for the telephone number to confirm the booking and thank goodness I did because I was given the same reply again. They are not informed then of the hostel booking procedures themselves - I have since written them a mail but still have not had a reply!!! I would hate this to happen to anyone else so that is why I have put out this post. Buen camino to you all and I can assure you this will not stop me from further caminos and travel - will just approach my bookings differently.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - central from Porto (2018 - planned)
#5
I would like to share this predicament that my grandson and myself found ourselves in on our way home via Madrid.
This camino was a dream for me as I was given permission to take my 14 year old grandson on a camino so he could taste my joy of being so privileged to walk on many caminos. We started in Lisbon having a quick visit to introduce him to a new country and culture - we then proceeded to Porto for a couple of nights then bussed to Valence where we were to begin our journey to Santiago. All was wonderful - staying in albergies and hostel along route and enjoying everyone and everything the path has to offer. I booked a hostel in Santiago and Madrid via Bookings.com and they were confirmed and so I felt at least that was no worry. Wanting to introduce him to the wonderful transport system in Portugal and Spain we traveled by bus and train. On arrival in Madrid - our last stop before we had to head back home to SA - I had booked us into the Mola Hostel and on arrival was over excited about our fantastic location - but alas that was the start of our troubles - on check in the very kind receptionist started with the paperwork and then said that Liam was not allowed in the hostel in a shared room as he was only 14. Bearing in mind Madrid was really full and I was super thrilled to get this booking. To cut a long story short it was now 6pm and in the middle of a teeming city we had nowhere to stay - the kind young man did try a couple of other hostels and all gave the same answer. I have never prayed so hard and after an hour of trudging up and down we were led to a lovely little private hostel with the kindest owners and were able to get the last available room. So this is the thing - no where along the route did we ever have any questions or problems except in Madrid - can someone enlighten me as to why this should be the ruling in Madrid and does is apply in other large cities in Spain. On booking I filled in Liams age so they were well aware that he was a minor. It all ended well but it was a horrible way to end our very special and wonderful experience together.
If it is an overall rule in Madrid it is a new one. I was there in a hostel with my 15 year old son before our 2016 Camino and we had no problems. Maybe it was just that particular hostel? In any case, I'm sorry you had that experience!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012) VDLP (2014) Portuguese (2015)
#6
If it is an overall rule in Madrid it is a new one. I was there in a hostel with my 15 year old son before our 2016 Camino and we had no problems. Maybe it was just that particular hostel? In any case, I'm sorry you had that experience!
Hi David - thank you for your comment - I am not sure that it was only that hostel - they tried a couple for me and as I tramped the streets this was the reply that the hostels gave me as well. We still went on to have a grand time in Madrid once I was able to find the last available room at a small private hostel who were kindness personified. My reason for the post was purely to inform others who could find themselves in this same awful predicament. By the way I still have not had one word from Bookings.com even after writing to them and doing a survey which they asked me to complete - oh well that is all behind us and even that could not dampen our spirits. Looking forward to the next camino XXX
 

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