• Understanding Autism from the Inside

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London with the Boys Wombats Hostel: Review

I was apprehensive at the idea of staying in a hostel, but in the end I wanted to give the boys that experience. Truthfully, staying at Wombats, London , in a private room with the boys was more like a hotel than a hostel. Being that Matthew is under 18, we had no choice but to purchase all four beds in a private room (even though there was only 3 of us—but this is still cheaper than staying in a hotel in central London, albeit not that much cheaper).

Our private 4 bunk room had a modern bathroom ensuite with a fabulous shower, and honestly after staying in a very old building in Rome with a tiny creepy shower that we all avoided, the shower at Wambots was incredible. The room was large enough for us not to feel cramped, each bunk had its own reading light, and alcove ledge with charging ports. There were four lockers that could have been locked with the room key, but since it was a private room for us there was no need.

A word on security and key locks. All areas are accessed only keyless entry with room keys so no one from the outside can just come in and wander around the hostel. This was the most comfortable place we stayed in our whole journey overseas! The staff at reception were helpful and friendly so although we had a private room we stay had the sense of not being there all on our own.

Simple things like being given a map, and told the best place to get to our destination or where to go and walk around at night really made a big difference. The hostel offers daily free walking tours, but we didn’t take advantage as the boys were already toured-out from Rome.

In the lower level, there was a communal kitchen, bar, and area to hang out. I wasn’t sure how this would go over but the boys enjoyed the comfy seats, and had no problem labeling their food for the fridge, or going down there by themselves to make a cup of Ramen Noodles. I think they rather liked the freedom of it. And I enjoyed that they had that freedom still within the confines of a place a felt safe.

On our second night at Wombats, we grabbed a couple of pies from Papa John’s (right around the corner, buy one get one free—couldnt’ get better than that) and went down to the kitchen/bar area to eat. The boys headed straight there while I ran up to the room to grab my iPad hoping to get some work done.

When I met them downstairs, they were seated at a table with their pizzas, glasses out for drinks, glass plates and real utensils. It felt as if we were eating in a restaurant but without the price and a much more casual and comfortable atmosphere. We are sold. The boys have proclaim that for now on we will be staying at hostels. Although, I don’t know about that, I have to agree that this experience was the best we’ve had on our trip and we are so glad that we took that chance and stayed.

The only bummer of it all was that we extended our stay in London by a night (wish it was longer the boys LOVED London) and Wombats was booked so we couldn’t extend our room and had to move places for our last night. We moved to The Palmer’s Lodge Swiss Cottage (another hostel)—also a wonderful experience. More on the Swiss Cottage later, but Wombats was still our favorite!

Jeannie Davide-Rivera

Jeannie is an award-winning author, the Answers.com Autism Category Expert , contributes to Autism Parenting Magazine, and the Thinking Person's Guide to Autism. She lives in New York with her husband and four sons, three of which are on the autism spectrum.
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