At various hostels following New Orleans, fellow backpackers would ask me where I stayed in the city. But they would always finish the question with, “India House Hostel?” This seemed to be the most popular option as pointed out by a Google search and other travellers. However, when I was visiting this hostel had no vacancy, so I found myself looking for an alternative, which is how I discovered AAE Bourbon House.
I had heard of the AAE chain before in the United States, as a budget accommodation option with no frills. But I found this hostel to be a winner during my #BussingUSA Adventure. It has surprisingly been voted as the #1 hostel in New Orleans by Hostelworld and Hostelbookers. This was only surprising because everyone I spoke to seemed to have stayed at an alternative. This is my AAE Bourbon House review, with a list of pros and cons so you can decide whether it is the place for you during your visit to New Orleans.
- Location. It really is one of the most important parts of selecting accommodation. The hostel is found a block from Magazine Street, the shopping hub of New Orleans. You can wander up to the Garden District or down to the French Quarter. The downtown core is only about a 20 minute walk and you can get a public bus back to the hostel at night, which is very inexpensive and safe for us solo travellers.
- Price. So it cost me $59 for three nights! Isn’t that amazing? Something to remember is they only accept cash, so make sure you have a little extra. It’s funny but I was staying in a 6-bed female dorm and I overheard someone at reception say the hostel was fully booked for the weekend. However, for the duration of my stay there were only three of us in the room. It was like they didn’t use the top bunks? We were not complaining, though. The more space the better. It was a fairly spacious room with a mirror and shelves and good beds.
- Free Pick-ups. I had not seen this in a hostel before but AAE Bourbon House is located quite close to the Greyhound/Amtrak terminal, so the reception staff actually come to get you for free. You just have to call them once you arrive. This was so convenient for me and I thought it was a nice extra touch. They don’t do Megabus as it is located a bit further away.
- Pancake Breakfast. I love me some pancakes in the morning! There was so much batter for everyone and if it ran low you just let the person at front desk know and they will literally whip up some more in no time. I found I didn’t have to wait too long to use the frying pan either, which was great.
- Walmart. I just have to mention the fact that there is a Walmart less than a 10-minute walk away. I was so excited to go actual grocery shopping again instead of battling to find decent food in Walgreens and CVS. It was also the cheapest food shop I did my whole trip. I miss you, Walmart.
- Facilities. I found there were not enough bathrooms for guests. There were about five shower and toilet rooms for everyone to use, which sucked sometimes. I think all hostels should have male and female only showers and toilets. I believe that systems works better from what I’ve seen and experienced.
Yeah, I only have one con, because the AAE Bourbon House in my opinion had everything I needed. I absolutely loved New Orleans and my stay here just improved my experience in the beautiful city.