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“Unprofessional management, drunked owner and staff (some).”

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ITH Zoo Hostel San Diego
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Unprofessional management, drunked owner and staff (some).”
Reviewed 18 December 2013

I arrived with a friend to this hostel after over 13h bus trip from San Francisco hoping to be promptly checked in to relax after such a long trip, at the reception we were greeted by receptionist which definitely was not sober and it took her at least half an hour to check us in even though there were no more people waiting. We were not told that breakfast is included so we missed it in first couple of days but thankfully our roommate mentioned it to us so we could use it in last 2 days. But the worst experience was Tijuana trip that the hostel offers for $17 advertising real Mexico experience, fresh street food and drinks after. This trip is total ‘get drunk until you can’t walk’ trip and to be fair if we were told that we would never go there as we did not see anything of Mexico tradition or real food (what we have eaten was overpriced crap for tourists on which they make money and I am sure take commission, afterwards I asked Mexican cab driver and he said usual tacos would be $1 while the place we were taken charged almost $5).The guy who run this trip named Bobby (apparently owner of the hostel) was drunk plus hangoevered since this trip started and his other colleagues assisting him were in the same poor stinking state (literally!). I understand that some people enjoy getting smashed at those kind of trips but I would imagine that tour leader who runs it should stay in reasonable condition to be able to see his customers needs (like another tour guide from USA Hostels who runs same tour which we met in trolley on way back and had pleasant chat), well our guide by 10-11pm was barely walking and trying to get us into some dodgy bars where he was ‘negotiating’ entry fee (security guys looked at him with funny faces, I was sober so I could clearly see what he wasn’t seeing anymore). Anyway we decided to take cab back to the border and cross it on our own. Another thing I need to warn you that even if you are not drinking Mr Bobby will ask you to pay equally for the bill so we had to pay same as the boys who had about 15 Coronas or more per head and main course while we had 1 Corona and just tacos (when I pointed that to him he totally made fun of me asking how many dollars I want back, 1 dollar, 3 dollars..) Really ridiculous business attitude, hopefully he grows up one day to treat his customers with respect.
To support my review I must also mention that at the same time of my arrival another girl from Italy, Veronica arrived who supposed to be a volunteer at this hostel however seeing the unprofessional way that this business is run she has never taken this job opportunity and left the hostel.
On the other hand to be objective on this review I must say that hostel itself is quite pleasant and clean however the manner it’s run is tragic and unprofessional.
I was staying before at HI San Francisco and USA Hostels Los Angeles and cannot say anything bad about their professional manner, however International Travellers House is far from that.

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
3 Thank MagdalenaGPoland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Internati0nalTravelr, Owner at ITH Zoo Hostel San Diego, responded to this review, 22 December 2013
Hi MagdalenaGPoland!

Thanks for staying with us, and I appreciate comments you posted so we can improve our operations for our next travelers! Everything you have said has been taken into consideration as we are always looking to offer the best hostel experience to our travelers.

Despite your experience on our Tijuana Tour, we are glad to hear that you did enjoy your stay at our hostel and noticed how clean and well it was maintained it was.

My apologies to hear that you had lengthy check-in. We have addressed this issue and will continue to improve the training of our receptionist so they can offer professional, fast and efficient service to our guests. As we rely on an entirely volunteer based staff, high turnover rates can slow things down efficiency-wise, so we do apologize that you had a poor experience upon check-in. We absolutely have a zero tolerance policy towards volunteers ever being drunk on shift, and we guarantee that this is not reflective of our volunteer staffing standards. The staff member that was working during your check-in has been spoken to and now carries a more happy, professional and sober lifestyle! :) Just so you know, she has moved on and is no longer with our hostel.

I am sorry to hear that you didn't enjoy the Tijuana Tour that I guided. Tijuana during the night time is definitely a party city and because the majority of our guests are looking for fun and crazy party during their trip to Tijuana, we do our best to make sure everyone has a great time. This tour is designed to be a social tour that involves taking advantage of the cheap drinks and food. My sincere apologies to you if there was a mix up with the prices for your tacos or drinks. In an effort to speed up the tour so we can check out multiple bars, I tried to verbally confirm with the 15 other guests on our tour with what they had to eat and drink. Normally this is a very efficient way to pay the bill when you have a group of 15 people and in no way would I ever want to offend you by not returning the proper amount of change.

Tijuana can be a place where many tourists get taken advantage of, so we try to negotiate deals with the bouncers for our large groups so that we can get the best deal for everyone. Normally by negotiating a deal with the bar owners, we can get free entry and free drinks in the best bars because we have such a large group. The last thing we we want our travelers to do is get taken advantage of by the locals in a tourist city. I do apologize if I came off as having to much to drink. As the tour guide during this trip, I try to socialize with each guest and make sure everyone is taken care of with food and drinks. Many times guests want to enjoy drinks, shots or margaritas together so it can be a tough balance sometimes, but my number one priority is to always ensure that guests make it home safely.

In regards to the the volunteer that arrived and wasn't happy about our hostel, it was unfortunate because of the timing that she arrived. She arrived on Thanksgiving night as we were preparing our free Thanksgiving dinner for 75 guests. It was quite a feast for our guests and it is tough to keep the kitchen spotless during such a large event. We do have nightly housekeeping that deep cleans the kitchen after every free meal that we prepare for our guests, but we will do our best to monitor the kitchen cleanliness during our meal serving events.

We do appreciate your thoughts and will continue to improve our operation so every guest can have a fun, safe and social experience during their stay with us! Again thanks for staying with us and if there is anything else we can do please contact me directly and it will be my pleasure to help you out! :)

We hope you enjoyed the rest of your world travels and have a great holiday season!


Cheers,
Bobby D.
Owner
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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (19)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
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English first
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 December 2013

Stayed one month and its such a cool place. The staff is superhelpful (even when moving out), its very clean (for being a hostel), they have free breakfast every day and dinner all the time and its just awesome. They even have a designated study room for students like me.

/Carl H

Room Tip: I did the 2person per room which seemed optimal given the different prices.
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  • Stayed November 2013, travelled solo
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank CarlGoranHeintz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Internati0nalTravelr, Owner at ITH Zoo Hostel San Diego, responded to this review, 9 December 2013
Hey Carl,

Thanks for leaving such a kind review! We do appreciate you staying with us at our Zoo Hostel and are glad you are having fun! :)

Cheers,
Bobby
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
206 reviews
42 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 November 2013

Friendly, Eager-To-Please Staff. Antique house, wildly painted. A lot of little places carved out to hang out in. Pretty comfortable and down-low for the location.

This place is definitely aimed at young people who want to meet others and hang in a homey environment. The staff plans guided activities for every day. There is a TV room, free computers for limited use in the lobby, a picnic table and patio outside, dining room and public kitchen. The staff provides free, stick-to-your-ribs type dishes for breakfast and dinner. Or you can gather ingredients ten blocks away and cook your own.

My stay coincided with a convention downtown which sold out most hotels. So the hostel was fully booked and straining at the seams. The staff said they are usually only about half full. Even so, everything seemed to work just fine, except the dining table overflowed at breakfast and they ran out of hot water in the mornings - as you might expect in such small digs.

My first experience with coed bathrooms and dorms. No problem. The bathroom downstairs is well designed for complete privacy and room to undress inside shower and toilet stalls.

Only a few blocks SE of Little Italy; seven blocks to a drugstore; ten blocks to the waterfront; ten blocks to the train station; 12 blocks to the gaslamp district; 12 blocks to the border of Balboa Park; 20 blocks to the convention center; 20 blocks to Seaport Village.

Room Tip: I saw two large dorms upstairs. They happened to book me in the only two-bed bunk room I saw. Be sur...
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  • Stayed November 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank PaulParks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Internati0nalTravelr, Owner at ITH Zoo Hostel San Diego, responded to this review, 9 December 2013
Hi Paul,

We are glad to hear you had such a good time at our unique hostel!! Thanks for the kind review and we look forward to continuing to improve our operations!! :)

We do offer free ear plugs and encourage our travelers to take advantage of them if they are bothered by any noise. We have also added some extra helpers to make sure the hostel is spotless and tidy! We hope to see you next time you come down to San Diego!

Cheers,
Bobby
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Albuquerque, New Mexico
Level Contributor
5 reviews
Reviewed 23 October 2013

Very laid back an inexpensive. I had an awesome stay and met a ton of interesting people from around the world. Located in the upscale Hillcrest area of San Diego. Parking can be a little tough if coming by car though, but there is a small paid lot nearby and street parking all around.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Liftereyes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bobby D, Owner at ITH Zoo Hostel San Diego, responded to this review, 29 October 2013
Thanks for the great words about our hostel and we are glad you had such an amazing time! Our team is always working on improving the hostel, and we will use your advice to make our environment even more amazing!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about ITH Zoo Hostel San Diego

Property: ITH Zoo Hostel San Diego
Address: 3751 6th Ave, San Diego, CA 92103-4337
Phone Number:
Region: United States > California > San Diego
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi )
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 63 Speciality Lodging in San Diego
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:2 star — ITH Zoo Hostel San Diego 2*
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome to the International Travelers House Zoo Hostel. Your destination if you are looking for the best experience and most comfortable rooms during your holidays in San Diego! We offer FREE continental breakfast and provide FREE pizza catered from an authentic local Italian restaurant for dinner 6 nights a week!! FREE daytime adventurous activities are offered daily including: surf trips, sailing, snorkeling, hiking, picnics, beach trips and more! Our night time activities show guests the local sides of the city and are designed to allow travelers to meet others and have fun! We are the closest hostel to the San Diego Zoo! Multiple male and female restrooms allows our guests to always have access to a hot shower! Our huge social lounge is equipped with a billiards table, art chalk walls, iPads, TV, Games, and plenty space for relaxing! The unique design of our zoo themed building provides guests with plenty of space for meeting people in our variety of common areas. FREE Internet is provided to all guests as well as having access to iPads! Our goal is to show you the ultimate experience and best time during your holidays. With this in mind we guide our guests on a variety or daytime adventures including: Surfing Trips, Beach Trips, FREE Sailing Tours, Nature Walks, Snorkeling Excursions, Local Happy Hours, Sightseeing Tours, Tijuana, Mexico Tours, Waterfall Hikes, Brewery Tours and More!Once the sun falls and the nighttime is here, we take our guests on the best social activities including: Pub Crawls, Club Nights, Local Restaurant Tours, Wine Tastings, Art Nights, Game Nights, Movie Nights and more! ... more   less 
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