I stayed in this hostel at August 2008, because it seemed to be one of the cheapest place in Tallinn.
Mahtra Hostel is not any artificial glamorous, but it's situated in a general block house. Our private room has two different part: a kitchen and a sleeping room with two differ beds. The kitchen was good equipped compared to the price. There were fridge, TV, small table with two chairs and a water boiler. The bathroom was shared with few other rooms.
The only bad thing I found in this hostel was the shower: the water pressure was too low.
Anyway I'm pleased with this hostel and I would visit there also in future, because it's so cheap and I'm fascinated in suburbans with big non-decorative houses made of concrete.
The Lasnamäe areal itself is known for it's bad reputation. But I didn't feel any unsafety when wandering there at day time, although I have heard there is much of drug addicts, alcoholics etc. Maybe it's worse at night time.
Directions: We got a bus number 35 from Tallinn centrum and it goes very close to Mahtra Hostel.
Mahtra Hostel is located in the quite famous Lasnamäe suburb of Tallinn. The majority of the inhabitants are Russians, the unemployment rate is high. There are areas where you should not go, even when two persons traveling. You might get mugged or robbed; at least street crime rate is high there.
Luckily the Hostel is not in the middle of this compound area, it is in a green park surrounded by other high block houses reminding us of the Soviet times. Still it felt weird to have iron bars in the windows...
If you want something else than always Tallinn Old Town, this is for you. Note: not for those who have got used to luxury places or treatment. I have to say the rooms are not pretty nor cosy, so do not seek the Feeling from here. Here you are just given your room (English is not necessarily spoken, one lady spoke a little English) and that's it.
Also, if you are packpacking or travel otherwise with a low budget, this is for you - I guess I never seen this cheap rooms.
Unique Quality: It was an experience.
The staff tried their best to help and speak English.
You could trust the place; and also everything we were told when booking was exactly true.
Directions: Hotel web pages have lots of information on buses and taxi etc. taking you to the hostel. It is about 10-15 minutes away by driving from the centre.
When we arrived in Tallinn, it was cold and rainy. To accentuate the gloom, our taxi stopped in a muddy parking space beside an unattractive Soviet-era building. We had arrived at Mahtra Hostel from the side which is not featured on its website... :)
It's hard to explain, but there was something cool about staying in a Soviet building. Maybe it's because as a Canadian kid/teenager in the '80s and '90s, I saw what had been described as a powerful empire crumble in the blink of an eye. To see (and, to a certain degree, experience) first-hand the effects of the Soviet regime is reason enough to book this hostel.
The staff was very cooperative, except for one employee whose English was very limited (in all fairness, it was better than our knowledge of Estonian), which was frustrating because we were trying to book an extra night but had no clue whether or not we had been understood. Fortunately, friendly hotel boss Julia told us the next day that the extra night had indeed been booked.
Unique Quality: There are a small market and shopping centre a 5-minute walk from the hostel. The market, which still has a small neighbourhood feel to it, is where we ended up buying most of our food.
Conversely, Mastra Hostel is not within reasonable walking distance from downtown; this is the main reason we only gave it 4 stars out of 5. However, it is cheap, and if you don't mind taking the bus, the 35 line, which stops across the street, takes you a few blocks away from the Old Town in 20-25 minutes. There is also the 50 line, but it ends short of downtown and you will have to transfer to the 53 afterwards.
Directions: From downtown, once you are on Osmussaare and cross Mustakivi Tee, prepare to get off at the next stop, which will come right after the bus turns left on Mahtra. From the bus stop the hotel is on your right.
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