This was quite simply the worst hostel experience we have had during our time in China.
Negative reviews of otherwise well received places often, in my opinion, say more about the people who stayed there than where they are reviewing.
To avoid coming across as a combination of deranged, angry and vindictive I'll simply state the problems we had at Riverside YHA so you can make your own mind up.
We stayed for three nights in a double room over the course of two separate stays - so had two different rooms.
The problems we encountered were:
1) Both rooms stank of sewage after we had flushed the toilet and used the shower. We raised this, and the hostel promised to look into it.
2) Both toilets blocked when we tried to flush them. Although they did eventually clear themselves, it required several flushes. In case you were wondering, no we weren't overloading the system.
3) One of the plug sockets sparked from round the back as we tried to use the hairdryer. There was a smell of burning afterwards.
4) We tried to order food on our first morning almost an hour into the allotted "breakfast" period. We were told the chef was yet to arrive but he may be there in half an hour.
I don't know if this was a one off as we didn't ever try again. However, I never witnessed anyone eating breakfast.
5) During our second stay, the key card for the door did not work. As we arrived after 7pm there was no one with expertise to fix the problem.
As a result, every time we wanted to go in or out of our room we had to get someone from reception to come up and let us in each time. We were trying to do laundry going to and from the room so this was a real nuisance.
6) The laundry. The single dryer was hopeless. Staff told us not to put too much in at once - but even when we split each of our two loads of washing in half and dried them for an hour each they was barely any difference from when they came out of the machine.
As we were leaving and couldn't hang the clothes up, we were forced to dry everything with a hairdryer.
The "40 - 50 minute wash" took well over an hour. We did not overload the machine.
In total, getting our clothes washed and dry(ish) took us well over six hours. We were up until 1am and down at the machine again at 7am the next morning.
7) The staff on reception were pleasant and helpful but very overworked. As a result, it was almost impossible to hold their attention for more than 20 seconds at a time. I can't blame them for that though.
SUMMARY: Overall, I am sure we were deeply unlucky and many guests who stay here won't have a bad word to say about Riverside YHA. Otherwise the hostel is generally pleasant, the rooms are nice and the beds are decent despite being generally very creaky. That said, we have experienced quite a list of problems.
There are many positive points which you'll read in other reviews on this page. I wouldn't disagree with a single one of them. Here I've merely outlined the problems we had.
I'll let you be the judge of whether our experiences are unique, whether I'm simply having a moan or whether you would be unduly bothered by our difficulties.
Personally, I could never recommend this place. In the interests of transparency and openness, I hope as many people as possible read this post before deciding whether to stay here.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.