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HI Washington DC Hostel
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Reviewed 30 January 2011

Hostel was pretty darn good. The location was amazing - a short walk to a huge bunch of sights, from the White House, to the museums, shopping and a bunch of other places. You really don't need to use the public transport but even if you choose to the transport seems reliable and quick the few times I rode it to get to places a bit beyond my walking tastes.

The staff are super friendly and helpful - I arrived early on my check in date and they were more than accommodating in trying to get me into the room as soon as possible. They provide a map on check in which is incredibly helpful in getting around to good places to eat as well as pointing out where the sights are.

Other than that, I will say that the internet was hugely unreliable during my stay. For some reason it kept dropping out, wouldn't connect, and when it did it was a tad slow. However, since I spent little time on the computer that wasn't too big an issue. I'd also like to recommend maybe smaller lamps near the beds so those coming in late can avoid beaming the brighter ceiling lights into people's eyes who are already asleep.

Otherwise, D.C. was a great place to stay, and the hostel was plenty for someone traveling on a budget.

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled solo
    • Value
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Thank Helleraine
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mark-GM, General Manager at HI Washington DC Hostel, responded to this reviewResponded 28 February 2011

Helleraine: Thank you for providing a fair and balanced review! We have some highlights, among them the location and friendly staff that you mentioned.

You are right about the free Wi-Fi. For some reason, we had spotty service for about three (3) weeks, then it cleared itself up. I wish I could tell you that we fixed something, but the truth is that we couldn't figure out what the problem was in the first place. All I can write is that the issue is resolved.

All of us here at HI-DC agree with you about the bed lamps. That's something we are hoping to get started on during the upcoming Summer. I'm not sure how the budgeting will work on that, but we certainly expect to start phasing this in. Thank you, again, for your notes! ~ Mark Schneider, General Manager HI-DC

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Reviewed 29 January 2011

we booked to stay here via email, had confirmation email with my credit card etc. When we got there they had no record of our booking and they were fully booked. The guy who helped us was really apologetic, and paid for us to stay in a nearby hotel. Really disappointed as the place looked great and had such high reviews. Make sure when you book that you get a confirmation number, not just an email saying you have a booking.

Stayed: May 2010, travelled with friends
Thank vegiemite6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mark-GM, General Manager at HI Washington DC Hostel, responded to this reviewResponded 28 February 2011

vegiemite6: I am so sorry about that confusion. We should have had everything set and ready for you. Unfortunately, we do make the occasional mistake, and I certainly appreciate your understanding. Although I am very happy that we were able to get you a free night at another location, it certainly would have been preferable to get it right the first time. Please come back soon, and you'll see for yourself that we deserve the high ratings we receive. Thanks! ~ Mark Schneider, General Manager HI-DC

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Reviewed 28 January 2011

We stayed there on Christmas Eve. The hostel was almost full. You can't beat it for price. Nothing else in DC comes close. We paid $33/person for a 10 bed dorm. The next cheapest accommodations in DC proper were about $200! The hostel itself was fine. The bathrooms are well used, but clean (I rated it a 3 on the cleanliness scale because of the heavy use of the place. It's really impossible to keep up with all the traffic in and out of the bathroom.). The room was fine. The mattresses ting, but we both slept well. The front desk staff is very helpful and friendly. The breakfast was decent - make sure you get there earlier rather than later because they may run out of some items. The hostel is in walking distance to everything - China Town, the White House, the National Mall, etc. We didn't get a chance to take advantage of their tours and activities, but the hostel pretty much has something going on every day.
I've stayed in nicer hostels, I've stayed in cheaper hostels, but considering we were in DC in holiday season, this was pretty damn good.

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank jblifeguard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mark-GM, General Manager at HI Washington DC Hostel, responded to this reviewResponded 28 February 2011

jblifeguard: Regardless of the title of your review ("Decent"), I am thrilled by your description! I can certainly tell you liked the value you received for your dollar. And you are correct: We do book up roughly from Christmas through New Years Eve -- at which time many people pop up to New York City and Times Square. That's quite a party, so no complaints, here! Thank you for bringing us into your world for a moment and telling us about your stay! ~ Mark Schneider, General Manager HI-DC

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Reviewed 15 January 2011

I stayed here for 2 days before moving to a hotel. For a transit place I'd say it's pretty good. Bed is clean, room is clean, locker's pretty spaciious, just remember to bring your own padlock to ensure your belongings are safe. Then again, I left my stuffs (SLR Camera and my makeup, etc, with no lock, yet no one touched them. Still, bring your own lock just to be safe). Room at the 5th floor is nicer than the room on the 7th Floor, though.

There was a glitch upon checkin, so you should have a printout of everything that you've booked and the proof of payment..just so, you know, to avoid miscommunications.

I gotta agree on the lift, it's just slow.

Breakfast is pretty basic, cereals, bagels, milk and all. It was filling the muffin's kinda yummy...However, the queue for the toaster and when you gotta wait for your turn to wash your plates can be a real bummer. But then again, it wouldn't be a major detterrant from coming again.

Now the location is really great. It's near to Metro stations.
- A few blocks away from Chinatown, and there are plenty of places to shop from (Forever21, H&M, Macy's) which is just within walking distance (10-15 minutes).
- The bus station for the Megabus (buses to go to New York, Boston, Atlantic city) is just 2 blocks away so that's another plus point.
- The monument tours however are quite a distance, I took a cab to the Abe Lincoln Memorial and Capitol Hill (each trip costs about USD 8-10).
- weather in October is quite chilly, but perfect for a run/jog.
- they have van pickup to the IAD airport that costs about USD30, u can ask the front office staff.
- If you want to buy souveniers (Tshirts, magnets), avoid the roadside vendors, go to souvenier shops that have better deals.

The staffs are very polite and helpful. So if you're flying solo it's totally okay coz they've got daily activities for you to join in. A lotta walking though so bring good shoes. Privacy in the room, well, it wasn't so bad, just be courteous to your roomates.

I'd say it's a comfortable place, you can do your own laundry for 2 dollars, there's internet access (can't remember the rate if u use their computer), wifi at the lobby and the cafe at level 2), Storage locker for 4 dollars a day.

So in short, if you're not in your room much and you just wanna sleep, this is an OK choice. If you have ay trouble finding your way, you can just ask anyone coz people in DC are just soooo friendly.

Stayed: October 2010, travelled solo
1  Thank Khairene
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mark-GM, General Manager at HI Washington DC Hostel, responded to this reviewResponded 28 February 2011

Khairene: Wow! That was a thorough review! You certainly hit all the main points. I'll try to be brief, but you covered a lot of topics.

I especially appreciate the advice you provided to your fellow travelers. (Do you write for a guide book company? If not, think about it. You've got the knack.) Complete agreement on many points:
* Bring a print-out of your confirmation
* ALWAYS lock your valuables ($4 for a lock, or free if you bring your own) is very inexpensive peace of mind
* Hostels are a great place for solo travelers to meet people; the really good ones (like HI hostels -- you knew I had to put in that plug!) have activities, and hopefully free ones
* Courtesy is key in all situations, but especially in communal environments like hostels
* FYI: Computers at HI-DC are $3/hour

Other points you made were spot-on, too. We're pricing out dishwashers. If it's within reach, we'll get one (it's the plumbing that gets pricey, not the actual machine) we'll get one any lines to wash dishes will disappear. The old girl, Suzie (our elevator), oh so very slow. No debate on that one.

Hopefully, readers of you "column" will travel more safely and with a greater sense of security due to the excellent advice. Thank you for taking the time to write! ~ Mark Schneider, General Manager HI-DC

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Reviewed 2 January 2011

There are better options available than HI DC. HI DC lives up to many of the HI standards - clean, good local information, plentiful breakfast and reasonable facilities. Unfortunately, it doesn't meet all the accolades and Tripadvisor reviews.

Here are the problems in a nutshell: no wifi beyond foyer and communal kitchen (and VERY slow where it is available); double rooms contain two single beds (not great for couples or those with long legs); tired rooms (and no sink unlike other HI hostels); and a lift that is beyond all excuses. Most importantly, HI DC is POOR value - $89/night for a double room exceeds any other HI we've stayed at with facilities that fall short of many others (try HI San Francisco Downtown for both value and great rooms).

We moved to a cheap inn that is nearly as close to all the main DC sights. The room is much nicer (with a private bathroom) and $10 cheaper. Look elsewhere.

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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Thank SydneySlickers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mark-GM, General Manager at HI Washington DC Hostel, responded to this reviewResponded 28 February 2011

SydneySlickers: I am sorry that you did not get the value you sought at HI-DC. Several of your concerns are completely valid:
* Free Wi-Fi is available in the common areas, not so much in the rooms. If you're a glass-is-half-full kind of person, I guess you could look at it as encouragement to mingle with others. Otherwise, you would be correct in preferring to have it everywhere. The routers are cheap; it's the wiring to the routers (through eight (8) levels with concrete floors) that jacks up the cost and pushes it out of reach.
* Good news about the private rooms - we'll be getting double-beds later this year. Hopefully, this will address your challenges.
* I'm not sure which hotel offered rooms for under $80. If the hotel where you stayed offered a special, cheers to you for finding it! With all seriousness, all of the hotels I know about charge at least $30 more a night plus tax (our rates are tax free), and many of these are not within walking distance of the Downtown --The White House, National Mall, etc.. Several hotels, each within a couple of blocks, charge much, much more, like the Sheraton four Points, Embassy Suites, Marriott, and Hyatt.

Once more, I am sorry that we did not provide you with the value you sought. Even with all of our free tours, free breakfast, and other free amenities, it sounds like we fell short. Yet, I am glad to read that you found lodging that fit your needs. ~ Mark Schneider, General Manager HI-DC

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