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“This place made me feel like home =o)” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of ITH Zoo Hostel San Diego

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ITH Zoo Hostel San Diego
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Zilina, Slovakia
2 reviews
“This place made me feel like home =o)”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 February 2014

I spent in ITH Zoo Hostel almost 2 months and I could feel the home there. Since the first day I arrived, I met many friendly people who have turned into my "family" for the time I spent there. Hostel itself was well equipped and well managed. There was all the time something going on. But really...the best part of the hostel was the atmosphere, its residents and staff...I'm definitely coming back! Thank you ITH!

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Petra_K26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Internati0nalTravelr, Manager at ITH Zoo Hostel San Diego, responded to this review, 29 April 2014
Petra,
Thank you so much for your kind words! We are so glad you felt so at home here! It was so great to have you as part of the ITH family, and we're so excited you've chosen to return to San Diego to stay with us again this upcoming summer! We can't wait! .
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155 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (18)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
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English first
Oyten, Germany
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 February 2014

I was staying in the ITH Zoo Hostel San Diego for about five month, which was not intended, actually. When I was still in my home country I was looking for a hostel, which is located in the center of San Diego…so I visited hostels.com, found the ITH Zoo Hostel and booked a room in a 4 Bed Dorm for about 4 nights. The original plan was to find an apartment during those 4 days, but finally I have been falling in love with that hostel and so dropped that silly plan. ☺
I have been traveling a lot already, so I saw a lot of different hostels as well, but seriously I have never been to such a warm-hearted place like the ITH Zoo Hostel. I personally don’t really care a lot about super fancy and chic hostels with high-standard NASA-Technology. When I go to a hostel, the most important thing for me is: How are the guest? And how is the staff? – That’s the only thing that matters to me – and yeah of course cleanliness!
To make it more easy and less unclear some of the pros of the ITH Zoo Hostel in headwords:
- breakfast every morning
- three times dinner a week (tasty and good food) …sometimes cooked by the guests, which is pretty cool (international food)!
- a creative atmosphere with wall paintings from different artists making the hostel incredibly unique
- a lot of activities together (sailing tours, trips, surfing lessons…)
- the opportunity to make a lot of good friends from all over the world! ITH, which means International Travelers House fits a 100% to that place ☺
- and also the opportunity to make a lot of friends from the US, which is very beneficial, if your goal is to improve your English during the time abroad.
- people who care about each other (and that is definitely not naturally in every hostel, especially if the hostel belongs to a chain…because those places are normally so huge, that the individual personality don’t really counts)
- the hostel is located in the heart of San Diego’s Uptown District – the uniquely designed Hillcrest. This neighborhood is know for its locally-owned businesses, including restaurants, cafés, bars, clubs, thrift-stores, and other independent specialty stores
- good access to public transportation (even though a car would be nicer in the US)
I would recommend the ITH Zoo Hostel San Diego to both short term hostel guests and especially students (like me) who are staying for a long term. The decision I made in the beginning to drop my plan to find an apartment was the best decision I made during my entire time abroad. Guys, I promise you: if you are open minded and a social personality, you will have your best time in this hostel! The staff and the guests will give you the feeling of home!
Thank you to all the people in the ITH Zoo Hostel San Diego for the best time of my life!

Chris

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Chris D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Internati0nalTravelr, Manager at ITH Zoo Hostel San Diego, responded to this review, 29 April 2014
Chris,
Thanks again for taking the time to write such a wonderful review on your time here with ITH! We feel so lucky to have had you for your semester abroad here in San Diego! You were an absolutely wonderful ITH family member, and we haven't had anyone ever wear an eye mask so well since you left! Please know you always have a place to call home in San Diego!! Wishing you all the best back in Germany!!
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Fairfield, Connecticut
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 February 2014

International Travelers House is a pleasant place to stay. It is in strategic location in San diego, 5 minutes from down town. The Hostel is clean and cosy. Room is neat and Bathrooms are clean. The best place there is the lounge/kitchen where all residents meet. The ITH staff are extremely friendly and they make you feel a part of a big family. They even cook for you dinner three times a week. This place is awesome for students especially for those who want to have international experience. During my 5 weeks stay in the hostel, I made many friends from all over the world. plus the good friendship with the staff members. I had wonderful times in that hostel and I wont hesitate go there again if I went back to San Diego. I would like to thank all of ITH family for the good times and for their kindness.

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Ferris K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Internati0nalTravelr, Manager at ITH Zoo Hostel San Diego, responded to this review, 29 April 2014
Ferris!
Thank you for taking the time to leave such a kind response! We really appreciate it! It was wonderful to have you all here for the month you had off of school and enjoyed our time with you as much as you enjoyed being here! Thanks for taking the time to notice all of cleaning efforts, the volunteer staff work incredibly hard to make this a beautiful and clean home for everyone! But most importantly, thanks for being such a wonderful member of the ITH family! You always have a big international family here in San Diego!
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London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 January 2014

This review is long overdue. At first, I stayed for two weeks then left to explore the East Coast. I missed this hostel so much that I returned after two weeks and stayed another 3 months!

When I returned, there was a new manager, Meg. She has implemented some amazing changes to the hostel. First off, she gave the hostel a 'face lift' and revamped the decor in the hostel- which looks artsy, colorful and inviting. The volunteers and management work very hard to maintain the hostel, working all hours throughout the day and night to provide a great service to all guests. The hostel works hard to offer new and exciting hostel activities, bearing in mind that some of these guests are international students not wanting to do the same activity every week. The same goes for dinners. ITH offers dinner 3 nights a week which always varies. The staff mostly cook but sometimes guests are able to volunteer to cook an international dish from their country- I remember Brazilian night! Breakfast is served daily and there is a huge variation from French toast, to English breakfasts to Yalcin's special pancakes! The hostel is kept super clean, the bathrooms and kitchen are deep cleaned twice a day and the receptionist on duty checks all common areas 24 hours a day/7 days a week. The hostel has all of the 'on-the-surface' facilities you would want from a decent hostel- lockers, bike racks, two washers and dryers, a library, a huge kitchen and lounge area offering free pool etc but what made my experience was the warm hospitality from all of the management and staff.

The warm welcoming rubbed off on everybody and resulted in everyone treating each other like one big international family. In most hostels, it is easy to meet people but they move on quickly. In this one, due to the long term guests and the staff hospitality, everyone feels welcomed and safe (I have never stayed at a hostel before where I have openly left my valuables in the lounge- but here I could). I have to say, if you want a life changing experience, one where you meet new, amazing people from around the world sharing their inspirational stories but still manage to feel like you are at home- this is the place for you!

I would recommend ITH to both short term hostel guests (there are a few hostel rooms for shorter stays) and to students because no matter what length of time you stay, everyone is ready to welcome you into their ITH family.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Aleesha R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Internati0nalTravelr, Manager at ITH Zoo Hostel San Diego, responded to this review, 29 April 2014
Aleesha! Thank you so much for such an awesome review of your time here! We really can't tell you how much we appreciate the kind words! We're always working to making ITH a true home away from home! You'll always be part of the ITH family wherever in the world you are! Thanks for staying here with us!

Team ITH
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London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles 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
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
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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San Diego, California
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles 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
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      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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Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
172 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles 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
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      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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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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