After almost a month traveling hiatus (been in the house most of the time after a month of exploring Malaysia), as Philippine summer still wants its presence to be felt, I was really itching to go to the beach – well at least somewhere near Metro Manila. Good thing, a few of my friends back in college decided to go to La Union just to spend the weekend away from the city – and of course, hit the waters.
La Union is one of the best surfing spots in the Philippines. Because of its distance from Manila, it has become the “Go To” beach for those looking for a cool place to unwind or just to hang out away from the busy Manila. Many surfers and beach lovers fell in love with this place and ended up embracing the island life 24/7. Because of this, Urbiztondo Beach is now a hipster heaven with artisan cafes, restaurants and themed accommodations became its main attractions after its waves. Think of it as a mini Bali (Canggu side).
I’ve been planning to visit La Union ever since my friends Nikki and Buji opened their sleek new hostel at the heart of Urbiztondo. The last time I was in La Union was during their wedding and that time, the hostel was still under construction.
Knowing my friend Nikki, she is a crazy traveler (she inspired me to travel to Iceland) – we always think that we can be the best travel buddies who have never traveled together (yet)- I am sure she got a lot of points and inspirations from all her adventures placed in designing the hostel. Buji on the other hand, is known for his clean design aesthetics with a tropical vibe architectural works.
Made from repurposed cargo containers, it is standing tall just across the street from the Urbiztondo Beach. When asked why a big chunk of the hostel is cantilevered, Nikki quickly answered, that is our only option — as the hostel is on top of the owners’ residence. Though restricted with this option, it made the whole building stand out among the other accommodations around the area.
Who would have thought that this hostel is made from shipping containers right?
On a first look, Vessel Hostel gives a vibe of Scandinavia, San Francisco and Hawaii in one shell. It is also obvious how this hostel got inspired from the mid-century modern interiors (check out the TV lounge photo below). The whole interior is a mix of palochina wood and iron works, just clean lines with “astig” architectural details.
What I love most in the hostel’s architectural details are the use of jalousie for its windows. I always believe that jalousie is the best window type ever (hahaha), aside from being economical, it gives a full (directional-control) ventilation in a room. JALOUSIE is LIFE!!!!
Currently, there are 22 beds in the Vessel Hostel. All bedrooms are dorm types so if you are looking for something more private, maybe you shouldn’t be looking for a hostel (right :P).
I have slept in so many hostels around the world and I must say, this is one of the cleanest dorm rooms I have ever been. There is even a free towel for each bed!
My bed looked so fresh and perfectly fixed. The first thing I noticed was the smell of the sheets, it was a mix of vanilla, lavender and bubble gum ( that was how it played in my nose). The scent of vanilla was all over our room – even at the reception area.
Although, technically you are sharing the whole room with other people, your bed still has a sense of privacy. Each bed in the Vessel Hostel is equipped with drapes which you can close if you don’t want other people see you sleeping with your mouth open (or if you are in your introvert mode). Aside from that, there is also a table integrated in every bed which you can use to put your laptop or even as a shelf for your bags. There are also storage spaces provided for every guests (which you can put a padlock — I am not sure if you can request to borrow a padlock or you have to bring your own, I always bring one whenever I travel as a habit – you should too).
Because it is really a beach hostel, a place to hang wet clothes was one of the major factor that the designers considered, there are enough clothes line (made from bamboo) at the balcony of the hostel.
I still remember my roommate in my hostel in Florence Italy, he used his shoelaces to hang-dry his undies hahaha. So funny. For sure you will not have this problem in the Vessel Hostel.
The main common area at Vessel Hostel is their roof deck. Me and my friend Nikki call it as the “Black Hole”. Why? Because the moment you climbed up the deck and sit, you’ll forget about the time. A perfect place to “muni-muni”, to think about what you have done with your life wahahaha.
Even with the summer heat, the morning breeze at the roof deck is just refreshing. Imagine, eating pandesal (salt bread) with orange marmalade and coffee while over looking the La Union waves, perfect! – YES THEY SERVE BREAKFAST HERE (for free).
In the evening, this is also a place where guests can hang out after partying/drinking. They don’t have any bar serving drinks here, but you can bring your own and use the common fridge to chill your San Mig (light?).
Even if they are still in their soft opening, I didn’t feel that it was the case. Everything I needed was taken care of. Well, being a hostel, everything was very upfront. Nothing needed to be fancy, just a clean and comfortable place to stay, and in my opinion, it was very well delivered. The staff were friendly and well informed, the owners (not being biased) were very approachable and felt like they are just one of us, enjoying the moment, the waves and the sun.
Will I go back? Definitely! In fact I already booked a bed on the 2nd week of June. Everything about this hostel is perfect. It even offered services that a hostel shouldn’t even provide and for that I am giving it a 5-star approval. (also, internet is super fast !!!).
Email (for reservations): VesselHostel@gmail.com
Facebook Page: Vessel Hostel
Instagram Page: @VesselHostel