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“Good for the money”

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Hostelling International- San Francisco/ Downtown
Certificate of Excellence
Helsinki
Level Contributor
10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Good for the money”
Reviewed 30 May 2012

I think we paid around $80/night for a private room/shared bath. The location is great. Safe, in the middle of everything. Not really in the Tenderloin, but very close. Can be loud (street noise) but that's like any city. Check in can be slow, depending how many people are working. The crowd skewed young-ish but I literally saw ages 2-75. Families, grandparents, kids, were all represented, which was cool. The rooms are a good size, but the bathroom get kind of skanky. Bring flip flops to shower in, you will thank me. Breakfast is free and decent (bagels). It seemed like there were way more people from Europe/Asia than from America.

If you are going and expecting first class accommodations, silence, and impeccable housekeeping for cheap, you will be disappointed. But if you go with an open mind, and realize how cheap your rate is (the hotels across the street are prob $200/night) then you will probably like it. As of May 30th, the elevator was broken indefinitely. So it's not so much fun to haul your stuff up all the stairs (esp if you are on the 6th floor, or have trouble walking up all those stairs).

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank krs001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (98)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
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English first
Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 May 2012

We had a terrible experience at this hostel. We were three Graduate Students traveling to SF for a conference. This hostel had very poor service, and they were completely unaccommodating. Moreover, the area around this hostel is filled with homeless people that follow you and bother you. The hostel even lets them come into the lobby area. Breakfast consisted of toast with jam if you were lucky, and most of the time there was no room to sit. The locks for the room didn't work well, and there was so much noise coming from outside we could never sleep. There was road work outside, and every morning a group of people would start singing and banging on garbages as of 6 am. Recommend to avoid at ALL costs.

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Laura L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 24 May 2012 via mobile

I was in San Francisco on business and added a weekend to see the sights. I stayed in a private room with ensuite shower on the fifth floor (6 nights). I have stayed in many hostels, but this was my first hostel in the US. I was pleasantly surprised by the size and cleanliness of my room and the hostel in general. My room had a queen sized bed which was very comfy, a desk with chair, a lounge chair and a good size bathroom. An extra bonus was the built in wardrobe which allowed me to unpack all my stuff and store any valuables. Bring a lock if you want to lock the closet door for extra security.

My room was on o'Farrell street and although quite noisy during the day and early morning I found it didn't bother me at all for sleeping. I expected more noise coming from within the hostel, but perhaps due to the location of my room or maybe the hostel wasn't full, but I found it to be very quiet.

The shop next door is very convenient for drinks or snacks and there are plenty of places to eat in the vicinity.

The event I attended was at the Hilton, which is right across the street. Didn't mind at all that I opted for the cheaper hostel over the expensive Hilton...

Stayed May 2012, travelled on business
Helpful?
Thank Sasvn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Clinton Township, Michigan
Level Contributor
15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 May 2012

Overall, I was impressed for my first hostel experience. I stayed in a private (1-bed & bath) room. Everything was as expected and I did not need to request anything special from the hostel staff. Steam radiator was not ideal for spring in SF (warm/cold fluctuations), but I could open my room window as needed while in the room. I would not leave the window open unattended because of fire-escape access.

The staff was very pleasant and helpful with questions about the area.

I would rate my experience with this hostel about the same, or even slightly better, than my average experience with economy lodges such as Super 8 or Knights Inn.

Room Tip: Ask about direction windows face (alley, street, fire escape, etc.). There is no shortage of "p...
See more room tips
  • Stayed May 2012, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank David W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
71 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 85 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 May 2012

I have mixed feelings about this place. Really liked this place the first stay I had but couldn't wait to get out of it the second time.

1) Location
Great location! There are three Hostelling International in San Francisco and we chose to stay at the Downtown one. It's a very quick walk (5-10 minutes) to Union Square, Powell Station and the major bus lines which basically brings you everywhere. Although it's in the Tenderloin area, a pretty dangerous area, it's not deep in the Tenderloin, which basically means that it's safe as long as you don't try to do anything stupid. There's a convenience store right next door if you need anything!

2) Safety
Connected to the above point is that the security here is pretty good. The staff at the counter make sure that you show your pass everytime you enter just so that random people have no access to the rooms.

3) Lift
The lift here must be at least 30 years old. Basically you have to hold onto the button until the light lights up, open the first door, and then enter the second door. The lift isn't that reliable because certain floors will be skipped even though you pressed them. But, if you have time to spare, it doesn't harm to spend some time in the lift with all your heavy luggage since the most you would spend in the lift is 5-10 minutes.

4) Rooms
I will do a bit more elaboration here because we stayed in two different rooms.

We stayed in a private room for 4 days and the experience was great. The room was adequately lit with sufficient sockets.The toilet is very clean and they clear the dustbins everyday. The water pressure was not enough for me but that isn't a big negative point.

The only bad thing about the room was that it was next to the road. So throughout the night, we heard random people shouting, siren sounds, random vehicles which sounded like garbage trucks.

Okay, the more problematic part was the second time we stayed. We stayed for one night and I think that was enough. I am not sure if my opinions are swayed by the fact that the lady at the counter was snappy about us changing rooms but more about that later.

This is the twin bed room which costs $5 more than the queen bed. For that $5, I highly encourage you to get the queen bed instead of the twin bed. The room we stayed in didn't have a heater. The pillow is also cushion sized and there was less lighting and electric sockets than the queen bed room.

There's a shallow bath tub with some instructions on how to deal with the shower. Well, it isn't much of a hassle to deal with the shower. But the taps in the queen room is easier to handle than those in the twin bed room.

5) Amenities
I think the wifi is pretty good (as mentioned above) and they are in the midst of upgrading it.

Good amenities in the building- vending machines (which contain lots of food including instant noodles for the hungry person), a water dispenser (really loved this because it saved $$), a big and clean kitchen, a laundry area ($1.50/$1.75 for washing/drying), and a few common areas.

Breakfast was free although we only ate there once because it really was nothing much- apples, bagels and bread. But something's better than nothing I suppose.

6) Service
Service was generally fine with the people at the counter being willing to help. But one incident ruined it all. We had problem with the keys they gave us because it simply didn't lock the door and even the cleaning lady tried our keys and decided that ours couldn't get in. She used hers and they worked! So we went down and asked if we could change rooms.

The lady looked at me and said, "You know, we have never had a problem with it." Okay, so do you want me to sleep with the door ajar? And then she jabbed at a sign at the counter that said something along the lines that please be patient because they are changing shifts, "By the way, I'm actually not supposed to be here at the counter because I'm on break now." Okay... But you are at the counter, how do I know that you are supposed to be on a break?

But the next day, she seemed more pleasant and helpful with us storing our luggage in the luggage room. Maybe the previous day was her bad day!

Overall, this is a good and cheap place (compared to other places in the area) as long as you choose the correct room and bring your ear plugs.

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank limericklin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
32 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 April 2012

Pros: the large old building means big rooms, big lounge areas. Plenty of toilets and showers so I never really had to wait even though the place was fully booked for a convention. Location very convenient to the cable cars, BART (subway) and F line streetcar. Also some decent takeaway restaurants nearby. Wifi on all levels.
Cons: kitchen too small to handle full occupancy. Wifi can be intermittent.
Be aware you will be using the stairs a lot as the elevator is old and slow. This is not a con, just good exercise.
Overall this is a good, clean hostel, particularly when compared to some other HI hostels I've been to in the US.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank EmersonSRD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne
Level Contributor
25 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 April 2012

Pros
Really nice interior for a hostel
Helpful staff
Felt really safe in the hostel
Lovely old building
IMMACULATELY clean bathroom
Warm
Good wifi speed
nice organic hand soaps
recycling on each floor
close to everything - ideal tourist place to stay

Could do betters
Cereal for breakfast as well please

Would recommend to others

Room Tip: We had a private room on the second floor, nice and quiet, close to laundry
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank MrJandals
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hostelling International- San Francisco/ Downtown

Property: Hostelling International- San Francisco/ Downtown
Address: 312 Mason St, San Francisco, CA 94102-1704
Region: United States > California > San Francisco > Union Square
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 50 Speciality Lodging in San Francisco
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:1.5 star — Hostelling International- San Francisco/ Downtown 1.5*
Number of rooms: 13
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Stay in the heart of the city, just one block from Union Square and steps from Chinatown and the cable cars! HI-San Francisco Downtown is close to the best cafes, clubs, theaters, and shopping. You'll love our new look, low prices, and four-bed dorms (coed dorms range from 4-8 beds). Free continental breakfast, free WiFi, DSL Internet, guest kitchen, free linens and towels, daily housekeeping, free/low-cost daily activities and tours, 24-hour reception, and no curfews, chores, or lockouts. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hostelling International- San Francisco/ Downtown Hotel San Francisco

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