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“Staff great, but be careful of facility”

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Charleston's NotSo Hostel
Reviewed 2 March 2010

Having stayed in hostels in Europe, Canada and other places in the U.S., we didn't have expectations of luxury. The place was clean and the room was small but adequate.
The two bathrooms in the main building were shared by quite a few people,. We had one miserable night and left as soon as possible in the morning, not waiting our turn to shower. The bed was a thin mattress set on a frame that had about four-five metal bars across, like sleeping on a rack. No box spring. No mattress pad. We tossed and turned all night and woke up feeling bruised (tiny people might not be quite as uncomfortable). I don't know what the beds in the other rooms were like - some people seemed to be staying for several nights.
The staff was good about unlocking the window so we could get some fresh air. The neighbor's car alarm went off a few times sometime in the night and there were people outside talking loudly until very late. Neighborhood wasn't one that I'd walk in, but didn't seem menacing, just noisy, but it was a Friday night.
Allergy alert: This doesn't apply to most people, but someone with allergies might have issues when the furnace is running. I don't know exactly what was in the air, but I got pretty sick by morning. Check it out before you check in.
We called later in the morning, after we left, and were promptly offered a refund of our second night after explaining the problem. Again, the staff does their best.
I'd like to recommend it because Charleston is a charming city and we love hostels, but really, it wasn't worth it.

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank SandyToes99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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409 - 415 of 482 reviews

Reviewed 27 December 2009

Staff is quick, efficient and beautiful of heart. Hostel is delightfully quirky with much attention to being unique and different. Free breakfast with really good coffee starts the day right. Listen to the few guidelines given with respect and your freedom reigns. Troublemakers, don't bother coming. No Nonsense at the Notso Hostel.
Peace and beauty only.
Wish y'all Well,
William

  • Stayed: December 2009, travelled solo
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1  Thank willmcarr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 December 2009

This is NOT at what you might expect from a hostel. Charleston's Not So Hostel is a great place to stay. It's very clean and well maintained. It has a very casual atmosphere and homey feel. Staying at the hostel feels like your staying at a friends house, rather than just a hostel. It's also a good place to meet new people/other travelers. There is a sense of community at the hostel. The staff is super friendly! This typical, 19th century, Charleston style home has a lot of character and adds to the Charleston experience. The hostel is located within walking distance of many downtown area attractions, sights, restaurants, shopping and bars/clubs. The free breakfast is an added plus as well. In addition to the standard dorm style rooms the hostel also offers private rooms and camping. To date I've stayed at the hostel six times and would definitely recommend it to anyone! I always enjoy staying there! It keeps getting better every time.

  • Stayed: December 2009, travelled solo
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1  Thank Martygras
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 December 2009

I spent a weekend in Charleston while in South Carolina for work. I wanted to stay on the peninsula, but quickly realized that most hotels would cost me a few hundred dollars. That's when I stumbled upon Notso Hostel.

I'd stayed in hostels 8 years previously while traveling in Europe, but had never stayed in one in the US. I decided that for $55 it was worth it to "rough it" for a weekend. All in all, the hostel wasn't bad. First for the negatives: It wasn't as clean as I would have liked - I made the mistake of looking under the bed and there were so many dust bunnies it looked like it was carpeted. I stayed in the main house so I woke up as soon as the first person got up in the morning for breakfast. I could also hear anytime someone came in at night or walked up or down the stairs. There were only two bathrooms in the main house and at least 15 people staying there, so there were waits at times.

On the positive side, it was cheap, the other guests were friendly, it felt safe, and the location was very good. It's about 1-1.5 miles to the historic district. A cab cost $5. I was told before I went that the neighborhood is kind of rough. While there are some rundown houses and it probably isn't a good idea to walk alone at night, I was never nervous. All things considered, I'd definitely consider staying there again next time I'm in Charleston.

  • Stayed: November 2009, travelled on business
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Thank spatrick57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 December 2009

I'm surprised by some of the slightly negative reviews below. I've been to numerous hostels, and this one was cleaner than the vast majority. I'm not a big fan of plastic covered mattresses, but they guarantee hygenic sleeping conditions free of bed bugs. The building has a lot of classic Charleston character, with a lovely balcony, beautiful murals, and multiple kitchens. If some kitchen supplies couldn't be found in one kitchen area, I simply spent a minute to obtain the desired object from another one (I was cooking for 12 people while I was there). The hostel isn't located right downtown, but it's not TOO far a walk to get to attractions, and the hostel rents out bikes which definitely makes places more accessible. Oh, and I was also pleased to see that they use environmentally friendly cleaning products, and provide an organic continental breakfast (including almond butter! Woohoo!)

The staff were exceptionally hospitable to the traveling group of "dharma bums" I was with. Reception is open during the most important chunk of the day, and anytime we really needed to speak to staff, someone could be found.

My overall experience was excellent, and I certainly intend to stop by anytime I'm passing through South Carolina again.

  • Stayed: November 2009, travelled with friends
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Thank OdinMoksha
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 November 2009

Charleston is a spendy tourist town. We knew that and that was a main reason why we decided to stay at the Not So besides that we like staying at hostels in order to meet others. It was cheap and had both dorm rooms and private rooms. A commons room had two very slow computers but they were free. It provided plenty to eat for breakfast. We met some nice friendly folks there but they were other guests and not the staff. The complex consists of one major building and two others behind it along with a parking area. So far, so good. The Not So was a good mile's hike from the start of the historic center of town and not in the nicest neighborhood. Some guests were afraid to venture out after dark on foot. Those with fastidious tastes would shudder at the junk sitting around and that the place was simply not very clean. When you arrived (between 5:00 and 10:00) you had to phone from a commons room and a worker would come and get you signed in and show you where to bunk. The staff worker then disappeared until some one else phoned for assistance. If you had questions about Charleston I guess you needed to go to the tourist office in the center of town next day. At least they had some piles of maps of the city sitting around in the lounge. The mattresses were covered in thick rubber that made sleeping both hot and noisy- unpleasant in general. We simply decided to wrestle with the covers and take them off but it was a struggle. The commons area opened around 8:30 in the morning and breakfast was ready at 9:00. Early risers were just out of luck. Breakie was coffee, bagels, bread, and some spreads. You could eat your fill but folks were always searching for another knife, plate, or cup, queueing up for the one toaster, and guests always had to make the next pot of coffee. Once breakfast started the staff disappeared again. Since the commons area was shut down at 10:00 at night it was sort of lights out until 9:00 the next morning. Since this is the only inexpensive place in town it does get guests but the place is close to being a dump. Maybe it is a dump. I know I have stayed in many nicer hostels in 3rd world countries. Maybe it needs some competition? But it would not take all that much work to get the place shaped up. Clean it up, hire staff who actually wanted to help and talk with the guests, open the place a bit earlier in the morning, and, did I say, clean it up?

  • Stayed: November 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank unclelouie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 November 2009

After reading some good reviews of the hostel I was very disappointed to find it dirty and poorly equipped in an inconvenient location. The mattresses are covered in plastic
(horrible in the heat) my 'fitted' sheet was too small to fit and so thin it had holes in places. The managers are almost never in evidence so it makes obtaining local information difficult. The Kitchen is appallingly badly equipped, guests bought plastic cutlery as there was almost nothing to use. The house- like design of the communal space, furniture & lighting provides a congenial atmosphere for conversation and there were some great fellow travellers during my stay so despite everything I had a great time. Sadly there are no other hostels in Charleston to provide some competition. I felt the owner/managers were, through their actions, very disrespectful to their guests.

  • Stayed: November 2009, travelled solo
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Thank PGR28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Charleston's NotSo Hostel

Address: 156 Spring St, Charleston, SC 29403-5220
Region: United States > South Carolina > Coastal South Carolina > Charleston
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 12 Speciality Lodging in Charleston
Price Range: £26 - £66 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 21
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in lovely and historic downtown Charleston, the Notso Hostel provides safe, clean and simple accommodations. We offer camping, dorms, privates and more. Guests have access to kitchens, porches and common rooms with Internet and WIFI. Breakfast is included as are linens and parking. Come and have breakfast with travelers from all over the world and explore this beautiful Earth. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Charleston`s Notso Hotel Charleston

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