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“Bill is the perfect host!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Capitol City Hostel

Capitol City Hostel
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Capitol City Hostel
2411 Benning Road NE, Washington DC, DC 20002   |  
Hotel amenities
London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
“Bill is the perfect host!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2013

Bills hostel was more like a house with the option of staying in two houses next door but one to each other. Beds are double bunks so plenty of space and you can cut the cost if you bunk up with a friend! Bill had great advice on what to do, was helpful with parking, bus schedules and even which Chinese food to get. There are computers, a TV and comfy sofas and free calls allowed within the states. Bill really is a lovely man and offered to take us to the doctor when my friend was sick. You can tell what a good host he is by the wall of thank you notes in the corridor! Two down sides though. 1) the area seems to be in the ghetto and the bus ride in isn't the safest. Woke up to the sound of sirens throughout the night. 2) the hostel could do with a bit of tlc and a dust down. Can't fault Bill at all though and after all it isn't a hotel!

Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
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35 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    2.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    2.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (7)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Melbourne, Australia
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
34 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2013

My boyfriend and I stayed here for 2 nights in June 2013. Bill, the owner, is a very enthusiastic man and is always happy to answer any questions you might have about buses, trains, what to do, where to go etc.
The house itself is quite old and the walls could do with a fresh coat of paint, but the haphazard living arrangements work well and if you embrace the "clutter" its a very comfortable hostel. We made a few of our meals in the kitchen (would benefit from a serious scrub) which we ate happily in the tv room.
Being a couple, we saved money by sharing a double bed (easily big enough for 2) and only had 2 other people in our room.
Downsides- the neighbourhood. I really didn't enjoy where the hostel was located. Its pretty far away from all the attractions and the bus/train rides aren't pleasant. We definitely got an (not so pretty) insight into how other people live... (I would not use public transport at night there).

All in all, it was very homely and great if you're on a budget (remember though that here you HAVE to get public transport to the sights/downtown, so the savings might not be as much as you originally thought).

Room Tip: Check out all the rooms with Bill, to decide where you want to sleep. Don't order food from the...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Urbana, Illinois
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 16, 2013

My wife and I stayed for 3 nights, taking advantage of the shared bed rate. We managed a semi-private situation; nobody took the bunk above us, and while there was another bunkbed in our room, it was partially separated by a half-wall. The other guests were friendly but gave us our space.

Bill was a great host. Offered advice on the sights (thanks for the tip about getting into the Senate visitors' gallery) and transportation (X2 bus is very handy: stops half a minute's walk away and goes directly to within about a block of the White House in 20 minutes or so for $1.80). Free peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and internet.

Parking available for $5 a night. The neighbourhood isn't bourgeois, but it's hardly the hood either. We left our car there for 3 nights without any problems. We brought bikes along to travel downtown (you can take them on the bus except during morning rush hour, or bike to Capitol Hill in 15-20 minutes), and chained them up at night, but no problems there either.

The whole place, bathrooms included, was certainly clean enough for me. I mean, it looks like a lot of 20-somethings have been living there, but if you can't handle that you probably shouldn't be booking hostels anyway.

I slept very comfortably, and there were no issues with loud guests at all hours of the night.

Bottom line: if you're budget conscious and a little adventurous, this is a fantastic option. If I return to DC, I'll stay here.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Ontario, Canada
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2013

I would not recommend this hostel to anyone. I have experience of staying in dorms in various cities. But this one is the worst experience. As one previous reviewr pointed out, it is a converted house, stuffed with old and unclean furniture and sofas. The kitchen, toaster, fridge everything are very dirty. The dorm rooms are small and cramped. So I chose a bed in the basement area with relatively larger size. People do not prefer to choose the basement room and so I got a bit of room to myself. But the bathroom was a real problem. During my 3-day stay, I did not feel like taking a shower as the bathroom was small, unclean and had a funky smell. The bathroom door lock also did not work! The first day I used the toilet, somebody had not flushed ! I had to clean the mess up to use it myself. On reporting it to the ower Bill, he used some cleanser, which was perhaps responsible for the unbearable funky smell.

It seems none cleans the house. In fact, i found a poster by BIll: Clean the room and bathroom, else you will be charged !!!

Never found such proclamation in a hotel/hostel.

There is one bathroom per floor and numerous people using it.

To top it all, Bill charged me $5 for leaving my 2 small backpacks (daypacks) for 5 hrs on day of my check-out.

The free bread with jam/peanut butter hardly substitutes for the free breakfast i have got in other hostels, where you really get a good breakfast with cereals, milk, fruits,...

Bill told me that there were different types of free food, some contributed from other people who stayed in the hostel.
He has a filtration pitcher in the fridge, but it is as good as drinking water, as he himself pointed out (my guess is the filter has not been changed for a long long time)

The hostel was the only bummer in my Washington trip. And I will think twice before stayng in a dorm again, though my experience in Chamonix Mont-Blanc, Boston Hi- Hostels, and Yessin hostel in Hong-Kong were extremely good.

Room Tip: Choose the basement room in the second house if you are looking for a bit spacious bed and more room
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sunbury, Ohio
Top Contributor
83 reviews 83 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2013

We stayed in DC for three nights and needed a cheap place to live. This was my first hostel experience and overall it was good. The hostel is a little run down, the beds are about 3 inches thick on plywood. However, for $15 a night it is perfect! Bill was a great host, and very helpful. Now to the downside. The neighborhood is sketchy. I drove here, and ended up moving my car to the airport for safe parking. We had to problems but it's best to keep your wits about you.

Room Tip: Pick a bottom bunk if you can.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 15, 2012

I didn't come by car, so had to use public transport to get everywhere in dc. The X2 bus made it easy to get to and from the hostel since the bus stop is basically two steps away. That compensated for the place not being in a central location. The hostel is divided into 2 parts in the same townhouse complex, but they are not adjacent to each other. In each part there's a couple of bathrooms, a kitchen, a computer room, and a communal room with a TV. Food is only provided in one of the kitchens, but both have fridges. The attention shown by, I believe - now famous, seeing all of the appreciation notes on one of the walls, Bill, was really nice. Talking about the upkeep... here I think Bill really needs a hand. If not for the those weird looking brownish little creatures that I think I saw in one of the rooms and that probably were the ones who could've been guilty of attacking one of my roommates (I slept well for two nights, and had no problems), I'd say it's a decent hostel.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Doha, Qatar
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2012

its not the best in terms of physical outlook but way-way better because of personal touch of "Bill"... I will state the negative first because it is the first thing i've noticed:

i am hesitant at the location because it is a little far from the tourist spot when you based on the map compared to the other available hostel. i judged instantly - untidy and not properly maintained as i got my bed without sheet and looks like dirty with gas smell on the floor. i felt the area are unsafe and secluded.

BUT... that is a book cover only and not the content, which i clearly notice afterwards. below are the good impressions that i really felt once i got to know the hostel:

first, it is cheap and worth it, why? yeah it because of bill. i was wrong the location is excellent because of the bus X2, its a frequent route even late nights. there are free transfer and easy access so you don't have worries for public transpo and actually it is not far - a few mins only to dc capital. there are 711, Chinese resto and pakistan resto with pizza and burger to offer. sorry i was rude, it is actually well maintained and tidy, maybe the gas smell is a floor wax for their maintenance. everybody is shy to be responsible enough to help the maintenance of the hostel. it is actually safe as the hostel gate is along the main road. the best thing that happened to me in this hostel is when i came there without breakfast then when check-in i was informed that there are free bread with lots of spread available, wow i was so full after lol. i enjoy also the free use of computer although it is not updated and slow.

well i guess my only suggestion for improvement is to have a safe locker. you never know... bill told me that theft is not normal to their hostel and he offer me that he will provide valued receipt and safe-keep any items you might want to save.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Capitol City Hostel

Address: 2411 Benning Road NE, Washington DC, DC 20002
Location: United States > District of Columbia > Washington DC
Hotel Style:
Ranked #10 of 24 Specialty Lodging in Washington DC
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 20
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