Don't fall for false advertising. There is the potential that hostels can abuse the integrity of the hostel-websites rating systems. This experience happened to me and many others who stayed at the Bahaus Guesthouse in Istanbul, Turkey. We all made our selection based on the ratings and the comments. The reality is that this hostel pressures guests into giving them inflated ratings as well as deleting any negative comments by the Guesthouse Manager.
Not only were our comments deleted, but we have received very offensive and belligerent emails from the owner/manager. this was distressing because our feedback written to inform the hostel on how to provide better service and to alert other travelers.
In an effort to inform other travelers we will provide a brief synopsis of our experience. From the beginning our 2 week stay, the manager/owner of Bahaus pressured us to write him excellent reviews and ratings. He would continually make disparaging comments about past guests who did not give him a positive review or rating. Most of these interactions were extremely uncomfortable. In fact, many of the guests would try to avoid him.
The guesthouse ran many events that cost an excessive amount of money for the frugal traveler (i.e. a 50 euro party in the only common room). If we chose not to attend an event, he try to make us feel guilty. Some of the guests felt so stressed that they moved to the Sultan Hostel, the Orient Hostel and Yuclet Interyouth Hostel where they said that the atmosphere was much better. We were unable to move because we had prepaid on arrival.
Sadly, he had some decent staff who were obviously afraid of him. They even resorted to begging us for excellent ratings and comments because they were afraid of “what he would do”. On our last night, the manager was even more relentless and said that we should write our review right then and there (while he watched) because he said he needed us to boost his rating after a previous guest gave his hostel a low security rating. Though this hostel had plenty of other issues (i.e. days with no water, cold showers, miscommunication on prices/ costs of services, payment receipts not issued leading to awkward situations, resistance to the advertised free use of kitchen, cold rooms, etc.) most of us agree that these issues could have occurred at any hostel.
The good news is that Istanbul is a BLAST no matter where you stay! We highly recommend the Archaeological Museum, Aya Sofya and the Underground Cistern. For fun, check out the inexpensive ferry services, Taxsim’s main street and a walk through the Grand Bazaar. If you stay in Sultanamet, Restaurant Doy-Doy is inexpensive and delicious and Taksim has the fantastic Marco Pasha Restaurant.
Enjoy and be safe!
Thanks for sharing. My only problem with this is how do we know you aren't the hostel on the corner???
The thing is that guests asked to write hostel reviews are not asked to do this until after they leave (at least with the hostel reviewing system I know). Also, there is no way a hostel can edit these ratings given to them...
Maybe you could explain what rating system you are talking about? As far as I know, the online ones always happen online and can be done far after a booking...
I'll try to do my best to explain what I mean about the misuse of the rating system. My friend and I choose our guesthouse/hostel based on the info and comments from different hostel booking sites. All of the information was extremely positive and the ratings were incredibly high. What we weren’t aware of was that some guesthouse/hostels have a lot of say about what gets posted. Also, some guesthouse/hostels may be pressuring their guests into these reviews.
I was hoping to inform others about our experience at this one guesthouse/hostel where the manager was clearly obsessed with the whole rating process. I am not sure how he was able to get the Feedback Form from hostelworld.com, but he had it and he forwarded it into my traveling companions email mailbox. Maybe he had access to the forms because the guesthouse/hostels are the “booking agencies” real customers and not the end users, like us? I don’t really know.
Anyhow, he’d often put us in awkward situations by saying “today we are rated at 91% but you can make us 92%!” He kept asking us if we would “honor them” with a good review, ratings and comments. We made excuses, as politely as possible, every time he asked us because both think that surveys should be completed the end of service and not before.
The second week the manager let everyone know how upset he was after another guest left a poor security rating on hostelworld.com. I personally did not think that there was a security problem at the guesthouse/hostel. I was far more uncomfortable with the manager’s constant conversation about previous/bad guests. These forced conversations always seemed to end with his idea that my friend and I could undo the injustice by getting on the computer and writing a good review and giving the guesthouse/hostel excellent ratings. It was clear that he wanted us to do this right then and there while he watched. These interactions were very awkward.
When we finally did go back home my friend who made the reservation completed the form and sent it back to Hostelworld.com. She was extremely generous and diplomatic. She feeling pity for the staff and gave a kind review but rated a few parts of the experience as “average” (which I thought was far too nice).
The next morning, she received a very abusive email from the guesthouse/hostel Manager. Also, her comments were also deleted from the hostelworld website. We wrote to hostelworld asking why the comments were deleted and hostelworld did not give us an answer. Unfortunately, hostelworld mistakenly forwarded our message on to the guesthouse/hostel Manager. This resulted another belligerent email from the guesthouse/hostel Manager.
After this we forwarded the messages sent from the guesthouse/hostel Manager to hostelworld so that they knew what was happening. Hostelworld said that they would contact the manager to make certain that the harassment does not continue. At this time, my friends’ comments are still not available on the hostelworld.
Thanks for that; I have checked with hostelworld and they are definitely not pleased if this is the case. Reviews are sent to customers only after they have checked out and if there are hostels putting pressure on customers, they definitely want to get to the bottom of it.
Could you send me through your booking number via my message center or via firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll have someone from hostelworld get in touch with you asap on the matter
Hi! Can you let me know, please, how the things with Bahaus Guesthouse evolved? I'm leaving to Istanbul tomorrow (Friday 11th) and I have confirmed a room in the Bahaus Gueshouse but after what I read from saalbano I'm seriously afraid to stay the whole week in that hostel. Moreover, I tried to contact the hostel 3 times to order the Airport pick-up (as advertised on the websites) but nobody ever answered. How do I know that somebody will be there waiting on our arrival at 11 P.M.? So maybe "doubts" about this hostel are escalated now and my long time desired visit of Istanbul will probably turn into a sleepless night a day before departure
Hi QS, don't lose sleep about it, you should be fine! People experience things in very different ways. I can't remember exactly how this matter was resolved but saalbano and hostelworld.com communicated with each other about the experience. If any of the properties listed with them or any of their partners (like TP for example) gets two serious complaints, they are removed from their booking system - I've seen it happen.
Have you tried calling the guesthouse about the airport pick up? Generally, if they haven't confirmed it, I wouldn't count on it (not just with this guesthouse but anywhere...).
Unfortunately, I am only too aware that accommodations owners and management around the world are often downright terrible at responding to email...
Hi Sam I Am, thank you for your positive post. I hope the things will be ok. Well, I tried to call them but honestly we failed to organize anything on a phone basis and agreed on written form better Anyway, we don't count on Airport pick-up and take a taxi or something if there is nobody waiting for us (would be no problem during a day, but we arrive to Istanbul short before midnight only). Thanks again!
Hi! I just wanted to write here that our stay in Istanbul was very pleasant and no fears were fullfilled! The Bahaus hostel is really nice and with very good and friendly staff. There was the problem with airport pick-up on our arrival because my emails for whatever reason ended up in hostel's junk mail box but we just took a taxi to the hostel and there was no other problem since then.
Thanks for sharing that. It's one of the things well worth remembering when reading others comments I think in general.... No two people ever experience one place in the same way.
Glad to hear you enjoyed your stay!