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“Great location, good people and good facilities!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Hostelling International - Washington, DC

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Hostelling International - Washington, DC
1009 11th Street, NW, Washington DC, DC 20001 (Downtown / Chinatown)   |  
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Hotel amenities
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$3 off room rate
GreenLeadersGold level
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Great location, good people and good facilities!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 22, 2014

Overall, this was a great hostel. It had everything you needed in abundance, the kitchen is huge and you never have to wait for appliances. The lounge and other common areas were a great place to charge your phone and chat with fellow travelers. The front desk people would help you out of you asked them questions about the city but they weren't too friendly otherwise. The bunks are comfortable for hostel standards, and the lockers in room and in basement were great for storing things while you were away. Also, the security is pretty tight there- so it was nice not to have to lie to my parents about that:)

I have a few suggestions to make this hostel a 5/5. First, as a few people have already mentioned, there is a zero alcohol policy which, makes you feel like you're being treated a bit like a child. Changing this would change the atmosphere and make the adults in the hostel have a better time! Secondly, I went on the Monuments Walking Tour and it was pretty awful, not for a lack of trying, our guide was really friendly but not the most knowledgable. We had so much walking to do that we couldn't stop at monuments for more than 3-5 minutes without losing the guide, he didn't have a noticeable sign so finding our guide in the crowds was REALLY difficult. Moreover, there were no bathroom breaks (our guide didn't even point out the bathrooms!) This tour would have been 100 times better if there was a bus that took us back to the hostel at the end of the tour, it was almost 10:20pm by the time we finished and took another 1/2 hour to walk back. I did like the fact that we went to several monuments I wouldn't have gone too on my own so it was worth it!

Overall, fantastic stay! Had everything you would need and a relaxed atmosphere! Oh, and HI DC has a very basic free breakfast every morning that tides you over until lunch. Will stay again next time I'm in the DC area.

  • Stayed June 2014
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
Mark-GM, General Manager at Hostelling International - Washington, DC, responded to this review, June 28, 2014
Nordic_gypsy: Thank you so much for all of your inputs! There is some great information in there. I am a bit concerned about the friendliness issue. Usually, we get high marks as our team genuinely enjoys helping hostellers. I will speak with them to see what happened. My apologies.

The ideas you have for the tours is truly excellent. We are already developing a strategy strategy for bathroom breaks and Guide visibility. The general knowledge part is probably a training issue, which I think we can address pretty quickly. To be honest, the bus idea is probably a non-starter. We offer free tours and events; if we had a bus, then we would have to charge money for them. Totally not what we're going for. We want to have as many cool, fun, and free events as we can.

Thanks, again, for all of your insights! Super-helpful! ~ Mark Schneider, HI-DC General Manager
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348 reviews from our community

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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 (27)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Liverpool, United Kingdom
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 7, 2014

This hostel has some great facilities. I stayed 3 nights, in a mixed gender room. The communal bathrooms are a little dated (especially the showers) but clean nevertheless.

The common room seemed to be pretty quiet most of the time but there is a pool table and a cards room as well as computers. The wifi is fantastic, worked even in my room on the 7th floor!!

There's not much going on in the evenings but they do offer tours etc of the city.

Free breakfast is awesome, bagels, toast, cereal, muffins, fruit and juice. John the breakfast monitor is a legend! So funny and cheerful, just make sure you tell him "good morning" in a language other than English or you might find yourself the centre of attention in the breakfast room, introducing yourself to everyone on your table..

The front desk staff are all really cheery and ready to help you with anything you need.

All in all enjoyable stay at the hostel, not my favourite HI but well run nevertheless. Only downside would be the lack of organised evening activities.

Room Tip: Lower floors if you can because the elevator is appallingly slow, and taking the stairs to the 7th f...
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  • Stayed May 2014, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Mark-GM, General Manager at Hostelling International - Washington, DC, responded to this review, June 28, 2014
Bogisz: Thanks for the grand review! We're jazzed that you like the cleanliness, amenities (we just upgraded the Wi-Fi, so glad you enjoyed!), tours, breakfast, and staff friendliness. You are spot-on about John. He is phenomenal!

We do pretty well at meeting our goal of having at least one (1) activity per day. Sometimes they are during the day, and sometimes they are in the evenings. It's all about our uber-cool cast of Volunteers and what they are able to do. Generally, we have about four (4) evening events per week -- pub crawls, night monuments tour, dinner nights, etc. The rest are more day-oriented, like some of our other tours, Sunday concerts, and such. ~ Mark Schneider, HI-DC General Manager
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Mainz, Germany
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 7, 2014

Awesome!! The hostel is great for single travelers. It is right in the heart of the city and everything is a small walk away. The breakfast is good. Meeting fellow travelers and making friends is one easy task if you are staying here.The beds are in good condition and don't squeak all night. I would recommend this one to you for sure.

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
Mark-GM, General Manager at Hostelling International - Washington, DC, responded to this review, June 28, 2014
KCn2487: Great stuff! So glad you enjoyed. You made our day! ~ Mark Schneider, HI-DC General Manager
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Pittsfield, New Hampshire
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 30, 2014

After saving for two years we took a group of 22 Girl Scouts for a 5 day trip to Washington DC. We found it very easy to book our stay at HI and were able to secure 5 rooms for April vacation week. The team at the Hostel was great to work with, check in was easy and John at breakfast was great. He would greet us every morning and make us say good morning in another language wihich everyone had fun with. The rooms were nice, beds could be updated but I found if I used the comfoter underneath me it felt fine.

Great location. We found it very easy to navigate around DC from the Hostel. All of the major attractions were a quick walk away and when we did use public transportation we found it to be close to the hostel. Really enjoyed the subway next door and burger joint a quick walk away. The group had fun with the pool table at night and enjoyed the movie room and dining area to sit down and relax after a long day touring. The rooms were clean and the bathrooms were cleaned every night. I was nervouse that it was going to be noisy at night but never found that to be a problem.

Room Tip: We stayed on the street side and could hear every thing outside. Another one of our rooms was on th...
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
Mark-GM, General Manager at Hostelling International - Washington, DC, responded to this review, June 4, 2014
James Z: We are thrilled that after all of your hard work and saving, that you choose our hostel for your stay in Washington, DC! We're glad you enjoyed our team members, location, amenities, and cleanliness. All essential to a great stay. Thanks for trusting us for your trip and for the note! ~ Mark Schneider, HI-DC General Manager
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Perth, Australia
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 27, 2014

Really impressed with the facilities here.

The security is great, with a swipe card not only needed to access the rooms, but to access anywhere upstairs areas at all. This means unless you have a swipe card, you won't get passed the lobby.

The kitchen is a commercial kitchen with amazing facilities. It made cooking a breeze, which was very enjoyable.

The are great activities offered which allow you to mingle with different people. I went to the baseball for $10 with the hostel, and got fantastic seats too.

The location is great too - very close to all monuments of interest, the museums, and a short bus ride to Georgetown.

Being a HI, there is no alcohol allowed within the hostel (and there was a HEAP of kids around anyway); however this is a very small disadvantage.

I would happily recommend this hostel to anyone, and wouldn't hesitate to stay here again.

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mark-GM, General Manager at Hostelling International - Washington, DC, responded to this review, June 4, 2014
Ryan C: Woo-hoo! Now that's a great title to a review! A safe place, cool kitchen, fun activities, and convenient location. Yup, that's us! :-) It's true about the alcohol, but we're working with the city on a work-around for that. I'll keep folks posted via Trip Advisor when there is progress to report. Thanks for the fantastic review and recommendations! ~ Mark Schneider, HI-DC General Manager
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Beijing
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 26, 2014

We stayed for 4 nights in a private room with our own bathroom on the top floor. It was clean and spacious and quiet except for the many sirens at street level through the night. The staff without exception were extremely friendly and helpful. They happily answered questions, gave directions and advice. Bravo! The included breakfast was much appreciated. We also enjoyed John who greeted us at breakfast each morning and gave encouragement to strike up conversations with fellow travellers. We loved being able to cook for ourselves in the kitchen. This hostel is well located to the metro and all the sights. There were a few cons if you are a light sleeper as I am-
. Use ear plugs to block out the sirens
. The rooms are bright due to street lights - use an eye mask if necessary
.The mattresses are thin, you could feel the wires underneath and it dipped in the middle. Maybe they are due to be replaced.
.The climate control vent was noisy switching on and off during the night.
Apart from these things our stay was brilliant. It is one of the best HI hostels that we have stayed in.

Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mark-GM, General Manager at Hostelling International - Washington, DC, responded to this review, June 4, 2014
BeijingFreckleface: Nice room! We only have 2 private rooms with en suite bath (and kitchenette). I am glad to read that you liked yours. It's wonderful to read that the HI-DC team made you feel so welcome. That's what we strive for! And it makes our day to know that our hostel was one of the best ones you have visited. Wow!

We do need to do something about the mattresses in some of the rooms. Thank you for mentioning that. The A/C units can be a little noisy, particularly for a light sleeper, like yourself. I have to be honest about that one: Not much we can do when the issue is the sound the unit makes turning on and off. If it were a rattle inside or something like that, we could probably fix it. I'm very sorry.

All in all, the entire HI-DC team is thrilled that you had such a "brilliant" stay! ~ Mark Schneider, HI-DC General Manager
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Jacksonville, Florida
2 reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 20, 2014

My good friend and I had an opportunity to spend 4 nights in DC and we chose Hostelling International - DC based on their location, value, and reviews.

The hostel is in a good location only a few blocks away from several Metro stations in nearly every direction. I found Metro Center (blue/orange/red) to be the easiest considering the hostels location on 11th street; however, Chinatown and McPherson Square are also relatively close. The staff (Emily and Michelle) were very welcoming when I arrived and helped us with ensuring our bags were in a safe location considering we arrived a few hours before our check in.

My first impression of the hostel was that safety was a priority. Key cards were required to continue further beyond the check-in counter hostel; and, Emily made sure we understood that the main entrance doors were locked at night and gave us directions on how we could be allowed in after hours. Further, key cards were needed for entry into individual rooms.

Also, the hostel was extremely clean. I have stayed in hostels in Montreal, London, and Seoul -- and HI-DC has been the cleanest so far. Also, during my four night stay, I never had a problem with showering without hot water or waiting on fellow travelers to use the restroom, shower, or sink. Finally, no signs of bugs and out of the ordinary smells for a building as old as the building appears.

The mattresses are decent but thin, and could be fit from a bit more padding. The beds are singles and the hostel provides clean linens, blankets, and pillows. Also, speaking of pillows, they felt like they were on the "harder" side but that's a personal preference that may/may not matter to travelers.

My favorite part of my stay were the organized daily/nightly activities. We decided to do the "monument tour" and I found the tour to be informative and interesting. It was also a great chance to meet with other travelers, etc.

As for bullet points:

Positives
- clean, safe, and friendly staff

- the hostel organizes daily/nightly events that benefit both single travelers and those traveling in groups alike

- decent breakfast that consists of fruit, cereal, toast and bagels; and, milk or juice. Plus, the fantastic energy by the gentleman who works the breakfast section is a great way to start your day!

Area of opportunity
- the hostel caters to all types of travelers, including children. My first night at HI-DC was met with a dozen or so 5th graders who ran up and down the hallways, and were constantly in and out of their rooms in the middle of the night. I'm assuming that HI-DC tried to ensure these guests were kept on a different floor but, if not, I think that could minimize the noise for other guests. Also, I spoke to one of school chaperones personally and he promised that he'd have them in bed by midnight -- but thats way too late in my opinion. Of course, there's not much the hostel can do and, to their credit, the front desk was quick to apologize the next morning. However, I feel that at least an advance "heads up" that there is a group of kids on the same floor and an invitation for us to let them know of any issues would make for a better experience, or at least make it easier for guests to ask the staff address loudness during "quiet times"

- the lockers in the basement are $4 to rent but only accept cash -- and it's due immediately. I think it would be easier on travelers to pay when they need to *pick up* there bag so they can secure cash while they're away as opposed to needing to have cash on them when they *drop off* their bags.

- and, of course, Suzie, the elevator. Thankfully, I have read several times that she is already in the process of being replaced so that's good to see. Until then, I think your beautiful on the outside, Suzie, but you need some work done!

All in all, I would highly recommend HI-DC to most travelers visiting the DC area. It's great for singles and groups. Those used to goose down pillows or Queen size mattresses may be in unfamiliar territory but this hostel still remains a perfect value for only about $35/night in a location only minutes from a Metro station and landmarks.

  • Stayed May 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mark-GM, General Manager at Hostelling International - Washington, DC, responded to this review, May 23, 2014
Nick N: Wow! What a thorough review! Thanks for the shout-out to individual team members (Emily and Michelle at the Front Desk, John at Breakfast, and the Volunteer who led your tour). Your points are all fair -- especially about how friendly the team is, our great location, and that we are super clean.

OK, OK, it's true. We do have a couple of areas that need attention. Suzie, the elevator, as you mentioned, will be modernized early in 2015. We just need to stick it out until then. We do have groups of all ages stay with us. If you find that anyone, regardless of age, is not abiding by our quiet hours (11:00 PM to 7:00 AM), please let us know. We can address it quickly, as everyone deserves a good night's rest. The last one -- basement lockers -- is a tough one. The lockers are owned and operated by a 3rd party vendor. Not sure what we can do about holding off payment until the end. From my experience traveling (as well as at ski lodges and -- back in the day -- roller rinks...gosh, I'm old), pre-paying at lockers is common practice.

Let me thank you again for providing such a lovely travel blog about our hostel! ~ Mark Schneider, HI-DC General Manager
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Additional Information about Hostelling International - Washington, DC

Address: 1009 11th Street, NW, Washington DC, DC 20001
Phone Number:
Location: United States > District of Columbia > Washington DC > Downtown / Chinatown , Penn Quarter
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 22 Specialty Lodging in Washington DC
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 42
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
HI-DC is the best value in DC! Our dorm-style and private rooms bring together international and domestic budget travelers in a safe, clean, and fun environment. We have a long list of FREE amenities and an unbeatable location - just 8 blocks to The White House and The National Mall (home to world-famous monuments, museums, and galleries), 4 blocks to China Town, and 3 blocks to the Metro. We're Gold Level Certified by Sustainable Travel International's STEP ("green") program, too! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hostelling International - Washington, Dc Hotel Washington Dc

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