The River Hostel in Valencia is a very special hostel for me. Why? Because that was the very first hostel in which I have fallen in love. It has a cool interior, happy vibe and it has…Ivan. 

If we talk about working experience, The River Hostel was the one from which I have the most fun memories. Ivan used to be my master in the reception, but eventually, the student has outgrown his master…

Haha just kidding (Ivan don’t be mad!).

The truth is he is already The River legend and I have never seen a receptionist being mentioned so many times in the hostel reviews (in a positive way of course!)

Since we were a great team behind the front desk and he has many stories to tell I have decided to ask Ivan some questions about his experience (and don’t get scared…Ivan likes to be scandalous :D)!

Me and Ivan

When we bumped into each other in another part of the country XD

How your adventures with hostels has started?

Hello Queen! My hostel adventure started in 2012 in Valencia, when I came for an Internship in Purple Nest Hostel.

What is a ‘hostel’ for you?

To be honest: a young hotel with social dimension amplified.

The River Hostel is a successful hostel. What do you think are the most important components, that make a hostel a great place?

To be honest: PLACEBO. People will book a hostel if they see a good price (although they DO have money), and then if you have the basic things, like big rooms with a lot of space, clean bathrooms, security, Pub Crawl and Social dimension, everything else will just come like placebo and people will label that to a certain hostel…Yeah, it is what mostly happens.

common area of The River Hostel in Valencia

Common area in The River Hostel, Valencia (Source: hostel website)

According to you, what are the most important abilities of a good hostel receptionist?

To have the ability to see the situation from the broader perspective, trough the eyes of the source. I really think that the quality of a good receptionist appears when you have to deal with squeaky situations and scandals, of course.

Do you have any favourite hostel story to share?

Well yes, when I was working with you for the FALLAS and when you just throw in the face of some random clients city maps, before I even realized they asked for it, hahaha. 😀

Any weirdest thing that ever happened during your shift?

Everything is perceptual and a lot of times I am like PERDONA? Generally speaking, people are dumb, and once happened that guest tried to sell ME a metro ticket so that I can resell to other customers, no comment…

Me and Ivan at my farewell party

Do you have a favourite guest or inspiring traveller that visited your hostel?

Well, all normal, educated, polite and elegant people are my eternal inspiration and they will always be in my journey for the purpose of the co-creating in it’s best! It’s just better to be positive and general, then specific and negative.

What’s the most important thing/lesson you have learned while working in hostels?

That you have to be merciful, know what MERCY really means, and not judge anybody, because they are right in their perspective.


Any advice for the aspiring/future hostel workers?

Sure: Do your best, work hard, align with yourself, be a patient and good-hearted person and everything will unfold perfectly for you, that’s my promise to you if you want to become successful receptionist.

If you are planning to visit Valencia in Spain, make sure to book your stay in The River Hostel and don’t miss the chance of getting to know Ivan.

With love,

P.S. This post is also available in polish!

Previous interviews from ‘Hostels (Un)Revealed’:

Interview With Fabio From Lake Como Beach Hostel

Posted by Ewa Gabara

Posted by Ewa Gabara

Founder of Don’t Mess With The Receptionist. I geek out on hostels and I’m a long-time receptionist turned into a copywriter. I help the hospitality and travel brands conquer the world with words.

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