Following research, we loved what we saw about Hello I’m Local and asked to drop by to take some shots. They were kind enough to provide us with accommodation, however all thoughts and opinions are – as always – formed independently and without agreement to be favourable.
Back in March 2012 we took a midweek break to The Netherlands and spent the entire time falling in love with the design-focused and relaxed attitude of the country and the people within it, promising ourselves that one day we’d have to return. Two years later and we finally kept that promise.
During that time our desire to return had grown significantly as we explored more countries around the world, seeing the differences between them all, seeing which countries put design as the keystone of their entire being. So much so, that their design ethos just becomes part of their daily life, and just the norm.
Reading great articles about how dynamic and sexy design and architecture is in The Netherlands (as mentioned by Adventurous Kate) just made our urge to revisit even stronger, but not just to wander around the perfectly straight streets with their outstanding brickwork, rather to explore and perhaps stay in somewhere for the night that combines the design edge of the country that we were so keen to experience for ourselves.
Haarlem – To The West Of Amsterdam
During our vegan travel challenge we knew that we’d be spending at least a week in The Netherlands, yet without much of a plan to do anything or see anywhere in particular. We were just going to either try and hitch our way around the west coast of the country before heading to Germany, seeing where we ended up – with the exception of one quiet town.
We’d read an article about the quiet picturesque town of Haarlem by Hecktic Travels actually before we started travelling full-time in 2011 and were incredibly keen to see this more relaxed former city and center of the tulip trade for ourselves. Especially as design shops and boutiques seemed to be one of the key highlights picked out by both newspapers and other travel bloggers who travelled there.
For us, this was the key. Being only 15 minutes away from Amsterdam by train and away from the hustle-and-bustle of the crowds was also going to be a huge plus, but our being able to see and stay at an incredible design and boutique hostel like Hello I’m Local was going to hopefully complete our hopes for the city.
Hello I’m Local
There aren’t many hostels the world over that can boast the same history, theme and thoroughly well thought out design that makes Hello I’m Local so unique with its offering of affordable and hipster cool accommodation.
With 12 uniquely designed rooms all with their own backstory to choose from, there’s no reason why you won’t feel automatically relaxed and calm in the comfort it offers; and aside from that, the decor throughout is going to bring calmness over you whether you like it or not, such is the zen-like decoration and orientation of the hostel.
Rather than just having large rooms in which to occupy your time by falling down the bottomless pit that is the online world, the is more on the collection and sharing of the communal ‘living room‘ and patio where people are encouraged to relax by reading a book, playing one of the games on hand, enjoying the locally sourced design pieces dotted around the living room (all purchasable from local design boutiques) or – if you’re inclined – getting to know the others staying at the hostel over a drink from the in-house bar.
Room With A Past
Each of the 12 rooms at Hello I’m Local has its own particular story, ours in particular was named the ‘Holstein Friesian‘ after the dairy cows that are popular to the area. Some rooms are named after famous Dutch singers, such as the womens-only dorm, others are named after famous past residents of Haarlem such as Jan Davidszoon de Heem, whilst one room is named for the unluckiest of children and their sleeping conditions in times gone by.
Our room, the Holstein Friesian room was the smallest private room, but without being too minimal with our luggage and our needs, it made for an excellent size and had a shower inside, it did however lack an ensuite toilet (though there is one directly opposite the door!).
Our Vegan Opinion
During our stay we were of course midway through our vegan travel challenge which presented us with several questions that came from our stay.
Firstly, having advised Hello I’m Local prior to our arrival that we had a few vegan requirements for our breakfast, we were really eager to see what accommodation they could make for us during our stay from their breakfast selection. Come the morning after our first night, we were happily presented with a lovely tray of fresh fruit and muesli with soya milk, with a fresh coffee paired with it. The observant amongst you will spot a glass of honey. Don’t worry, we didn’t take any with our cereal as it’s certainly not vegan!
Lastly, as much as we felt immediately comfortable in the room chosen for us; staying in a room dedicated to cows and the high level of milk they produce made us feel slightly uncomfortable on a mental level, though let me please state again that the decoration was done very well so if you’re planning on a stay with Hello I’m Local be sure to state which room you’d be most happy to book into.
In short, Hello I’m Local gave us a gateway experience into how it must feel to live in a typical and stylish Dutch home, almost like an apartment on Airbnb but with a leaning towards what all good hostels provide – comfort, affordability, and great staff.
During our stay we had plenty of help getting to know the area with knowledge of places like the nearby beach easily at hand. There aren’t too many places like this in the world, so should you too want to experience the calm that Haarlem offers, don’t miss out on a stay with this fantastic boutique design hostel.
Would you like to stay at Hello I’m Local?