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“Almost self-service”

Union Square Backpacker's Hostel
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Union Square Backpacker's Hostel
Reviewed 7 October 2012

Arriving in San Francisco to view the famous Bluegrass festival with three friends for one night, we expected a quick and easy bag drop-off before venturing out to the town, and returning for one easy night of sleep. Wrong. So wrong. We arrived hopeful at the hostel at around 1pm: the location in itself reminded me especially of the establishing scene in an awful teen-slasher. Down a 'back alley' and accompanied by flies and the occasional homeless person (not surprising: it's San Francisco), the hostel looked more dingey than welcoming. However, we're students. Firstly, there was absolutely noone at the welcome desk, and after half an hour of waiting, a resident of the hostel who said he'd lived there for a 'while' told us the boss wouldn't be more than ten minutes. Half an hour after that and we decided we'd leave for a while in favour of some American Grub. When we'd returned from eating (where we were served politely, quickly and efficiently: maybe the hostel should learn from its neighbouring restaurants) there was still not one person sitting at the desk. Oh no, I lie. There was a resident of the hostel, cleaning, sitting in the chair. He told us we could not stay because the room had been sold, and when you book on the system it does not tell you that the rooms have been booked, it just goes straight through to the desk. A piece of paper with our name scratched through told us we didn't have a place to stay, and as I was angry I'd have to carry all my belongings on my back the entire day, and that I had nowhere to sleep that night, slight relief came over me in that I wouldn't have to try to wrap myself in my own clothing and sleep with one I open: the place gave off that sort of vibe. Worst part was the 'boss' never even showed his face. This cleaner man went upstairs, said he'd spoken to the boss, and said we couldn't say. He also told us "you can still write a review". Thanks for the permission. I learned that the earlier you book, the better chance you have of actually having a room to stay in, and that we're lucky we'd only driven from Santa Cruz, and not been travelling thousands of miles to rely on that hostel. We ended up going home that night. If you're desperate to stay here, book in advance. And I mean way in advance. Maybe, years?

  • Stayed: October 2012, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Jess W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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8 - 14 of 43 reviews

Reviewed 7 October 2012

The outside should be enough to tell you not to stay here. Down a dark alleyway that stank and had no lighting. But I had no choice as I had booked the room last minute and this was the only place with a room. For good reason. It smelt awful, looked like I could catch something from being there and there was no one at the reception when there was ment to be so we waited for about half an hour before being told by one of the guests to come back later. We came back to find that we wouldnt have to stay there as they were over booked. The manager didnt have the balls to tell us this so again the nice guy who stayed there had to tell us this lovely bit of information. We were given a refund and a blessing that we wouldnt have to stay in that awful place. Lesson learnt, book early and anywhere but here!

Room Tip: Stay anywhere but here
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  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled with friends
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2  Thank Ellie H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 August 2012

Don´t go here. I booked this hostel just a couple of days before arriving because I had no choice. The rooms are ugly, the whole hostel does not look nice. It´s at the end of an alley. The location is good because it´s very close to Powell Station, but it´s also one block away to the Tenderloin, and that is a creepy neighborhood. A wrong turn could leave you in a spot that you will like to run away from. I really did not like it. The night staff was not collaborative at all. BAD attitude. The owner ripped me off. He charged me more than he should, even though he said he would charge me less because I had arrived one day late (but I had contacted them and let them know).
At night, I asked a question to one of the staff that was using the computer and he told me rudely that he was out of his working time, that I should ask the other guy, who was not at reception at the time.
This is a terrible place and sooo expensive. For this money you can get a MUCH better place. just book some time ahead.
Facilities are awful. I do not recommend this place to anybody. Avoid at all cost.

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled with friends
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1  Thank German G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 August 2012

It smells like pee the moment you step in, the beds are infested with bed bugs and the rooms are tiny! It's also located at the end of a dangerous-looking alley.

I checked out of that place immediately and they refused to refund any money (which i understand since they have a 24-hour cancellation policy), but the staff is pretty rude with criminal-out-of-prison kind of look.

I can't stress this enough: stay away!

Room Tip: Stay away!
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  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled solo
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2  Thank Noe H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 July 2012 via mobile

$30 for a weekend night. Was desperate as everywhere else was booked up - now realise why they had room!!

Room absolutely stank of dirt/ BO/ homeless people etc.

Bedbugs come with night rate.

Kitchen/ common room is gross.

No soap anywhere - feel dirty all the time.

Our room was number 2 - adjacent to reception and the front door - didn't sleep a wink all night because of noise.

Shower room is next door - so have to walk through reception to get to it = creepy staff member gawking at you whole time and asking if you fancy getting shown around San Fran!

Stay at the San Fran International Hostel down the road for $5 less!!

  • Stayed: July 2012
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1  Thank Hutclis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 June 2012

This is the first time I have ever checked out early from a hotel or hostel. The place is filthy I couldn't even find somewhere to place my bag because the other guests had spread their stuff all over the floor. You come out smelling of weed. Its located in a really sketchy alley and the staff and just as bad. They all seem to be high the whole time. You can't even shower as the place is too dirty to even consider showering

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled solo
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1  Thank Ann M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 February 2012

I stayed one night and it was rathole. My room has a serious infestation of bedbugs. I am covered in bites. I didn't notice until after I had checked out, and now the manager is refusing to believe that I got them there and refusing to give a refund.

Worst hostel experience. Don't stay here. If you do, burn your luggage after.

Room Tip: Don't stay here.
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  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled solo
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Thank Traveller_V_36
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Union Square Backpacker's Hostel

Address: 70 Derby St, San Francisco, CA 94102-1221
Region: United States > California > San Francisco > Union Square
Hotel Style:
Ranked #31 of 53 Speciality Lodging in San Francisco
Price Range: £15 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 12
Also Known As:
Union Square Backpacker`s Hotel San Francisco

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