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“Great home base to see the City of Vancouver, BC” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Hostelling International Vancouver Downtown

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Hostelling International Vancouver Downtown
1114 Burnaby Street, Vancouver, British Columbia V6E 1P1, Canada (Downtown)   |  
Hotel amenities
Portland, Oregon
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Great home base to see the City of Vancouver, BC”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 28, 2011

My sons and I recently stayed at here for a weekend getaway (we took the Amtrak up from Portland). If you want to get a great experience of the city, within walking or easy public transit to everything in the City, then try out the hostel. We stayed in the men's/women's dorms, but if you want to get a family dorm for a larger group that is an option too - it just costs more.

Hosteling is a fun way to meet lots of different people as well - besides us there were visitors from Germany, Ireland, England, Spain and of course other Canadians and Americans. The hostel rents bike for a minimal per day fee, which is a great way to get around to see the city. I recommend you get a one-day pass for the public transit system which not only lets you get around on Vancouver's great public buses, but also allows you to ride the Skytrain. You can purchase passes at the hostel as well.

The hostel provides a daily continental breakfast, you just need to be prepared to do your own dishes. There is also a full kitchen if you want to cook your own lunch or dinner, or store snacks in the refrigerator. The showers/baths were not fancy, but clean and certainly adequate. You can purchase a small lock for the lockers to store your valuables, or you can bring your own lock. I do recommend you bring earplugs if you are a light sleeper - part of the "fun" of hosteling is that you never know what kind of roommate you might get!

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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161 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (17)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
61 helpful votes 61 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2011

It’s true that the location of this hostel is one of its best features. But as a single traveler on a tight budget, this place met all my needs and then some. I was hoping that a friend could join me and share lodging costs, but in case her plans changed, I needed a place that I could afford on my own. So I booked a private room (with a bunk bed) at the HI Vancouver-Downtown in early January. My friend backed out in mid-May. It turns out that it was for the best, as I don’t think two middle-aged ladies would have been comfortable in such a small room, dealing with a bunk bed, and disturbing each other to use the public rest room at night. Since it was just me, though, it was great.

The double bed/bottom bunk was surprisingly comfortable. Linens are provided. (And your own bedding or pillows are prohibited.) I was also handed two regular towels, but I was glad that I also brought my own. All bedrooms are equipped with a sink, so I used one hostel towel for hand-drying and one to use as a bath mat in the shared bathroom.

I had two, full bathrooms on my floor and in the 8 days that I was there, I wound up waiting just once for one minute for a bathroom. The other times I just waltzed right into the bathroom of my choice. The trick is to always remember to bring your card key with you to get back into your room! While there are dispensers in the bathrooms that squirt something foamy posing as soap (it felt like water), you’ll need your own soap and all toiletries. Bring a small drinking cup, too.

My room came with two simple chairs, a beat up student desk, a clothes bar with two hangers and a shelf above, a medicine cabinet, mirrors and several electrical outlets. FREE WIFI! The kitchen is fully equipped. Small lockers are provided if you wish to keep non-refrigerated foods safe (bring your own lock). I kept some food (labeled with my name) in the large, commercial refrigerators and it was always right where I left it. Coffee, tea and filtered water are always available. The continental breakfast is only served from 7:30 am to “9:30” am – which means that they stop providing extras of stuff and begin condensing what’s out at 9:15 am. The normal fare was bagels, bread, yummy biscuits and/or muffins, and pieces of fruit (such as cut apples, cut bananas, and/or cut oranges). In addition, there was always peanut butter, jelly, butter and cream cheese. (I didn’t see the cream cheese the first day and wound up buying some.) Little cups of yogurt were offered on Sundays. I’m usually a big breakfast eater and thought I’d be eating at the Denny’s one block up on Davie each morning, but the hostel’s breakfast turned out to be fine.

The front desk staff was always very helpful in providing travel information. But I believe I made a poor choice in opting to purchase the discounted 3-day Big Bus pass. It seemed like a great deal for $27, but simply buying daily transit passes (also at the front desk) for the same price ($9/day) would have been better. I was not impressed with the Big Bus service at all. I also took advantage of the False Creek Ferry discount that takes you from the dock at the bottom of Thurlow over to Granville Island. That, I highly recommend doing. From the airport, I used Aeroshuttle ($15 one way), headed to the nearby Sandman Suites stop, but the driver agreed to drop me in front of the hostel. To get back to the airport, the hostel provides a taxi-share sign-up sheet and I was lucky to find another person to share the ride back (again for $15).

The neighborhood of the hostel is fabulous: close to everything you may need, yet quiet. And I was glad to see guests of all ages – from families with kids to senior citizens – so I fit right in. I had a great trip and I couldn’t have picked a better place to stay.

Room Tip: Book well in advance for a private room.
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  • Stayed July 2011, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2011

We stayed at the HI Downtown (after reading reviews of the other central Vancouver HI) because we wanted somewhere a bit quieter but still within easy walking distance of the city centre - bars, restaurants, beaches etc.

We booked a private double room which was in a really quiet block of the hostel. The front desk staff were really helpful, there's free wifi, breakfast was plentiful (supplies of fresh bagels, toast, fruit, cereal, juice tea and coffee were all kept stocked up whatever time we went for breakfast) and the location was great - just a couple of minutes walk from Davie and only 10 minutes walk from the main downtown area.

The room itself and the bathrooms were a little bit tired (as was the games room - it was like stepping back in time - 25c Pac Man!!), but all clean, and the hostel is in a residential area, so it always felt safe walking back at night.

Room Tip: Couples - book a private double room!
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  • Stayed June 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
singapore
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 14, 2011

i stayed in a 4 bed dorm and it was small, with not much space to navigate. there was a sink in the room. the communal bathrooms were almost always empty when i visited it, with 3 toilet cubicles and 3 or 4 shower cubicles. but one sink was not in use the four days i was there. maintenance could be better.

Stayed August 2010, traveled with friends
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HI-VancouverDowntown, Manager at Hostelling International Vancouver Downtown, responded to this review, July 4, 2011
Good afternoon;

Thank you so much for your feedback regarding our hostel. I appreciate your honesty and can understand that the upkeep of bathrooms is of great importance.

We are in the process of renovating all of our bathrooms in the west building, which is were most of the dorm rooms are located. We have totally renovated all three ladies bathrooms and are currently working on the second of the three mens' washrooms.

I am confident that you will not be disappointed the next time you return and stay with us.
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London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
78 reviews 78 reviews
41 hotel reviews
Reviews in 47 cities Reviews in 47 cities
87 helpful votes 87 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 12, 2011

I stayed here for a few nights on arrival in Vancouver and we arrived at 1.30am and the staff were friendly and the beds comfortable. The showers were being fixed on one floor, but were fine on other floors. The breakfast was good with choice of bagels, muffins, scones, toast, fruit, peanut butter, jam, cream cheese, and juice and good coffee. The only thing we really had a problem with was the slamming doors and some creaky floorboards. Being jetlagged messes around with your sleep, so not being able to shut the room doors quietly was a bit of a pain. It would be nice in dorm rooms to have some individual reading lights too, but at least the rooms had a wash-basin. Good quiet location, close to Davie Village - La Brasserie was a nice local restaurant, otherwise the eating places were all fairly low-end.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HI-VancouverDowntown, Manager at Hostelling International Vancouver Downtown, responded to this review, July 4, 2011
Hello;

Thanks for posting your review on tripadvisor; we appreciate our guests' comments!

I can appreciate that the closing of the room doors is not very quiet and I have advised my maintenance Manager of this concern in order to find a solution to the noise level.

We are also aware that bed lights are a necessary feature. We are currently researching bedlights in order to install those which may be most userfriendly for our guests.

All of our rooms have individual sinks and we are also in the process of renovating the bathrooms on the west side of the building, which will mean that by fall we should have six renovated communal bathrooms.

Please do not hesitate to contact us, if we can be of further assistance.

Kind regards.
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Oxfordshire
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 5, 2011

A fine location and a friendly hostel, though the place wasn't as clean as most Youth Hostelling places I've been to in Britain, and the whole place needs a facelift really- apparently the bathrooms are being done at present (June '11). Sort the cleanliness and the bathrooms out and I'll be back.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Derry, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
185 reviews 185 reviews
81 hotel reviews
Reviews in 66 cities Reviews in 66 cities
81 helpful votes 81 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 28, 2011

The location of this hostel isn't the worst. It is quiet and close enough to get to places for food and shopping. However the hostel is in a poor state of repair in parts, and they don't seem too keen to do anything about fixing problems.

The main issue for me was the fact that I stayed for a week and no attempt was made to fix the 2 of a total of 3 broken showers or the 1 of 2 broken wash hand basins. You can see these in my photos.

Furniture in rooms looks tatty and worn, and there is very little storage room for your things if there are 3 or 4 people staying the room who have a few pieces of luggage each.

There is a good mix of all age ranges at this hostel, it just doesn't seem that friendly. You really have to make an effort to get to know people at this place unlike many other hostels I have stayed at.

The breakfast is fine here, but not as amazing as people seem to be making out. I have stayed at a number of hostels which offer a free breakfast better than this. Admittedly not in North America, which seems to have much lower standards than Australia, New Zealand and Europe in the main.

They do offer free towels here, but you have to be quick to get them. I tried to get one on the day I was moving out, but they had none available.

I didn't use the kitchen facilities, but they looked fine. The TV room and library are a good idea. I saw no one make use of the games room the entire week I was here.

Organised events are mostly from the HI Central. Sadly this hostel has not realised that many people will not go to these by themselves. It would be better if they had a time to meet here for events then make the short 10 minute walk to the HI Central. Even if they have no one to go from the hostel they could at least show it on a map so people could then leave as a group.

You do get free wifi here, but it can be very slow.

Better management, an updating of things and some extra thought would make this place a lot better.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled solo
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HI-VancouverDowntown, Manager at Hostelling International Vancouver Downtown, responded to this review, July 4, 2011
Good afternoon;

Thanks for posting a review and pictures of the hostel after your most recent stay.

I am sorry to hear that you were unable to get a towel while staying with us. The Front Desk has been reminded to ensure enough towels are available for our guests at all times.

I appreciate the pictures of the out of order washrooms, as they show the state of the facilities. I am happy to report to you, that the reasons the showers were not fixed, is that we are completely renovating all three washrooms on the west side of the building. We are in the process of completing the 5th out of 6 washrooms. It is unfortunate, that you were unable to see the new washrooms, which are very clean and crisp.

We would appreciate you visiting us again in the near future.

Kind regards.
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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 Hostelling International Vancouver Downtown

Address: 1114 Burnaby Street, Vancouver, British Columbia V6E 1P1, Canada
Location: Canada > British Columbia > Vancouver > Downtown , West End
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #10 of 39 Specialty Lodging in Vancouver
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 67
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