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“Unfriendly staff and uncomfortable atmosphere”

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Santa Barbara Tourist Hostel
Toronto, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Unfriendly staff and uncomfortable atmosphere”
Reviewed 16 October 2013

I stayed two nights in this hostel and was very sad that I didn't stay longer in Hollywood and make the drive straight through the next morning in order to avoid an extra night in this place. First off, office hours are ridiculous considering the nature of the business. 8:30 AM to 10 PM is not very conducive to people coming in from all over to check in/check out. The staff were nonchalant at best and they made their job seem like a chore and that you were only interrupting them from something.
I stayed in a 12-bed female only dorm. The room, bathrooms and showers were clean and I was given fresh sheets when I arrived. The people sharing my room did not speak to me at all (though not for trying to approach people) and I actually felt like some were trying to avoid meeting new people. There were two women in particular who were living in this hostel and were not approachable at all. They didn't seem too open to new people (why are you living in a HOSTEL then??). The beds were very squeaky (old metal frames) and the mattresses were completely worn out (I could feel each and every single spring). The location is central to walking around Santa Barbara and there are several fantastic shops and restaurants to visit, not to mention the beautiful beach and whale watching tour (Condor Express). I visited the Old Mission and was blown away by the scenery and architecture
There was only one electrical outlet that we could use in the entire room to charge our devices and you have to pay to use your locker ($0.25 every time you open it and want to relock it). The worst part about this place was that when I reached my next destination, I realize that someone had stolen a pair of pants out of my bag while I was gone touring for the afternoon. I am thankful that I chose to put the more important things (my money, passport, etc) in the locker and that the pants are replaceable. The sort of people staying in this hostel did not appeal to anyone wanting to meet new people or make friends. The wifi was ok and I was able to do what I needed to on my smartphone, so not complaints about that.
I would NOT recommend this place for the security reason alone, but also the unfriendly atmosphere and price for the experience (over $40 a night USD)

Room Tip: I stayed in a 12-bed female only dorm. I felt uncomfortable and wished I had the room to lock up EVE...
See more room tips
  • Stayed October 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Jenna041986
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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121 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
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  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (9)
Date | Rating
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  • Dutch first
  • English first
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  • German first
  • Italian first
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English first
Cologne, Germany
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 October 2013 via mobile

-$95 were more than named in the reservation request
- although the room with bath was confirmed, it was occupied when we checked in. The price was the same
-the wifi was only working in the lobby, which closed at 10 pm
- the price was too high for this small room with an uncomfortable bed
Supreme location for the beach, the main road and travellers with amtrak.



  • Stayed October 2013
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
3 Thank 222Timmey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers are raving about these Santa Barbara hotels

Brighton, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 September 2013

I will start with the positive.... they have free wifi and its in a great location (that's is why they charge such high prices)

We had booked 3 beds in a dorm through hostel world. When we arrived we were greeted by a rude blonde women on reception, who acted like she couldn't wait to clock off for the evening. We were told that hostel world state a different price to what the beds actually are. We paid $164 when we had paid $130 for a private room for 2 nights in Santa Cruz. They also take $20 key deposit which is strange as all doors and windows are propped open? When later asking if they provide bath towels, the lady at reception looked embarrassed and said they charge. When putting some food in the communal fridge I though I was going to be sick, it looked like it had not been cleared out ages and there was rotting food everywhere. We were in a 12 bed dorm. The room was boiling hot and so noisy with trains going pass all through the night and the sound of the vending machines echoing through the air vents. The bathroom was filthy, with black foot prints on the floor. Out of the 3 toilets, 1 was broken and the other there was a hole in the door. Reception is meant to open at 8.30am but no one turned up till 8.45am and we needed to get our key deposit back to be able to leave.

What a shame to have such a horrible hostel in such a lovely town! Pay up and stay somewhere decent.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank christina c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 August 2013

Let me start by saying all reviews must be taken with a pinch of salt, personal preference always comes into the mix, after reading a good bunch of the recent reviews I'm totally shocked as my friend and I had a great stay. I thinks people need to be mindful that this is a budget hostel in Santa Barbra. Which if you've spent any time there you would know it is a highly affluent area and very expensive. It's brilliant that there's somewhere cheaper to stay as it allows budget travellers to sample Santa Barbra where otherwise it might be too expensive. Don't be put off by per reviews.
Firstly we arrived at around 11pm to find the front desk closed at 10pm an oversight on our part and the site we booked with didn't make this clear. Anyhow after trying to find somewhere else with prices at $299, so we slept in our car. We went to check in straight away the following day and explained what happened and to our surprise and delight the guys at check-in didn't charge us for the night we missed we were overjoyed as being budget travellers we checked in with no problems into our 12 bed mixed dorm. The dorm was spacious for the number of people, the bed were comfy and it was tidy. You were given sheets and there were quilts supplied, we had no problems with the cleanliness of the beds/bedding/rooms or anywhere in the hostel for that matter. The bathroom had several showers that were cleaned throughout the day.
The hostel was quiet and in sharing with 12 people we still felt safe enough to walk around.
The living areas has couches, there's wifi and a kitchen with coffee and toast in the morning. The guys gave us vouchers for a free drink in two bars we went to both and they were excellent.
The hostel is in walking distance to the main strip of bars and restaurants.
Realistically it's difficult to understand what people expect from a hostel nevermind one in a premier location.
We had a great time here it was comfortable,clean and good value.
After sampling many hostels all over the world this place is spot on.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Natalie-gsf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 25 August 2013

It started when I had no confirmation from them for 3 days despite sending numerous emails. So i had to travel to Santa Barbara with no idea if my reservation made with visa details was valid. Then I paid USD54 for the privilege of putting my own (stained) sheets onto a boney metal filled bed in a large VERY noisy dorm. Lockers were an additional cost. Then while sitting in reception for 10 minutes one group came back to reception saying the private room you just gave us a key to is already full of people's stuff, woops. Then the next customer to reception requested to change bed because it stunk.This is my last stop before home on a five month trip in Mexico, Cuba, Central America and South America and is the worst hostel experience I have had in that time and by far the worst value for money experience.

  • Stayed August 2013
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Geowb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 23 August 2013

Greetings:

The SB Tourist Hostel was referred to me by folks at a writing conference/workshop that I was attending.

I booked my stay well in advance, called to indicate that I needed a bottom bunk with a good bed due to my disability.
When I arrived approx. 3:20 p.m., I was greeted by a young woman/desk clerk who spoke in 'circles'. She told both me and my friend that regardless of my 5 day reservation priority is given to international visitors. Say what?
**No mention of this was expressed in the ' reservation confirmation' email.
She also said that she had just started the job 1 month ago....so we were extra patient.

Thankfully, my friend Steve was there to hear and witness this amazing turn of events.
After 10 minutes of listening to 'stuff' that made absolutely no sense we requested a conversation with the manager.
This person could not be located, according to the desk clerk.
Finally, the desk clerk showed us an upper bunk where 'I may' stay for one night @ $52.64.
"This is worse than the county jail", said my friend.

I had just traveled 3,600+ miles via airplane and automobile 'after' making a reservation which was denied at the front desk. Then, the desk clerk claims that I had paid for one night. The attitude was 'take it or leave it'.
Still, NO Manager to talk to.
We asked if there was another place to stay. The clerk suggested "cottage 2A" on Halley Street for another $91.84.
After driving over there, putting the key into the door and walking inside - we broke up laughing in disgust.

By this time, I couldn't move due to exhaustion and spine pain. The 'cottage' place was filthy, stained and stinking carpets, cold running shower water and a cheap bed complete with plastic cover and dirty sheets.
At a cost of $144.48, this is HORRID, unconscionable.

A refund of $91.84 will be appreciated. Please inform. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,
Carole

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled on business
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank dartdash
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vancouver, Canada
1 review
Reviewed 18 August 2013

I cannot recommend this hostels. I've stayed in lots of hostels in my life. This one was the worst.
It is expensive, untidy and the guys at the front desk impersonal. The private rooms are even too small to open a suitcase. The bath rooms are not nice and the floors cold.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank 223Anonymus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Santa Barbara Tourist Hostel

Property: Santa Barbara Tourist Hostel
Address: 134 Chapala Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101-3510
Region: United States > California > Santa Barbara
Hotel Style:
Ranked #14 of 16 Speciality Lodging in Santa Barbara
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 60
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A beautiful new hostel located two blocks from the beach and one block to State Street, famous for it's nightlife, restaurants, Spanish architecture and shopping. We are directly opposite the train station and walking distance from the bus station, with plenty of bike parking. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Santa Barbara Tourist Hotel Santa Barbara

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