Hell is real in the sense of it being two things*. First, a state of being, second a place. If you study languages and specifically Hebrew, the origin of the word in the scriptures refers to "spiritual world" or "paradise". This designates a physical location as a place where one goes after death. After Jesus died, he visited this "world of spirits" and mentions to the sinner on the cross beside him that he would soon spend that day with him in this place. If you consider what is mentioned in the book of Peter, Christ goes to "hell" and teaches and organizes the spirits there to do his work.
The second treatment of the word, is always described in context of continual burning/suffering and is typified with expressions like "lake of fire and brimstone". Again, research a bit, it is used to designate a state of being. Suggesting a mental and/or spiritual state of a spirit in "hell" as torment of conscience, guilt, and suffering. Note that the torment Christ suffered in the Atonement was one of both body and spirit. As an unembodied person, who has died, you would therefore be suffering in spirit.
Note that Christ tells David, that while he will suffer greatly, the Lord will not leave his soul in hell (both uses). One, Christ will save David from his sins, (relieve his torment of soul) and two that he will physically leave hell (spirit world) once he is resurrected and receives his body to be judged by the Lord and placed where He sees fit.
*The last and often mistreated interpretation of hell should really be referred to as something else entirely and is done so in Hebrew but not in the English language. That is the final destination for Satan and his followers. This "hell" is reserved for all those who will not repent and have denied Christ. This use of the word signifies being 'cast out of Gods' presence' and not allowed to return thereto. It is not used as the same 'world of spirits' but in a physical location somewhere else, a "second death" or "second hell" is suffered.
In my opinion this is the truest hell. It would be one where you feel the return of all the pain that you had in spirit in "hell" (spirit world) with the added feeling of pain now in your body as well, never to leave. You cannot die again. Being out of God's influence and presence leaves you dark, alone, and left to suffer endlessly with a guilty conscience and possibly even evil spirits that did not receive a body attacking you in yours.