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“It's fun to stay at the Y - M - C -A” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Berkeley YMCA

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Berkeley YMCA
2001 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA 94704   |  
Hotel amenities
Blu858
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“It's fun to stay at the Y - M - C -A”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2008

If your objective is to save $ but not camp on the streets- this is a great option. Don't think holiday inn but nice flea bag and you'll be fine.
At times it felt like a homeless shelter as they did have at one times an assisted living program that they discontinued five years ago. Thing is- they can't kick anyone out. Rest assured all the trouble makers have long since been weeded out. Everyone still living there is completely harmless and even friendly/helpful.
The bathrooms/showers were hit or miss as far as cleanliness but just remind yourself- You are not paying $200 a night.

So those are the bad things. The good things:
Good strong coffee in the am.
Great location-Very convienient to BART, downtown berekley, shopping, restaurants, university.
I paid $45 a night!
free internet
Access to the Gym next door with a good indoor pool

  • Stayed May 2008, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
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English first
Prague, Czech Republic
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 5, 2007

I am writing this review while staying at the YMCA "hotel" for three weeks in July/August 2007. The turn-offs for this place are the following: no overnight guests, common bathrooms and showers, basic rooms. These qualities make it more like a hostel than a hotel, but you do get your own bedroom.

The main turn-on, however, is the price for what you get. I am paying 550 USD for three weeks, which is much cheaper even than subletting an apartment (which is hard to do for a short time). Other turn-ons: wireless internet (works fine), free use of the YMCA gym (the best in Berkeley), rooms cleaned and linens/towels replaced almost daily (sometimes they miss your room), staff is friendly, kitchen to use and networked computers as well, VERY close to campus (it takes me about 10 minutes to walk to Wheeler Hall, Google Map the location).

One other thing that may bother some people is that the hotel houses some people who are pseudo-homeless, and such people often also hang out in the lobby. But this reflects the Berkeley environment: I find Berkeley rather tolerant of homeless people hanging out in coffeeshops and other places. Some people are uncomfortable being around homeless people at all, and this would make you uncomfortable here, but if you are willing to accept different types of people, it's no problem here. I don't feel threatened or anything by these people.

All in all, I would be happier in a four-star hotel getting room-service breakfast and having my own luxurious bathroom, but my bank account wouldn't appreciate it too much. Especially for a stay longer than a week, hotels get to be really costly, and I was looking for basic accommodation for a good price. The only other Berkeley option I found was the Berkeley Hostel-Piedmont House, but they charged significantly more and didn't have the gym access.

  • Liked — Price and location
  • Disliked — Not a hotel
  • Stayed August 2007, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alexandria, VA
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2007

I stayed at the Berkeley YMCA Hotel the evenings of 13-16 December 2006. I tried making a reservation with the hotel a little less than three weeks before my anticipated visit and was told that they were completely booked. However, I was later able to make a reservation through the HostelWorld.com hosteling web site -- all I needed to do was bring a printout of the web site confirmation when I checked in. The rate I paid was $35 per night (not including a 9.25% tax) for a single room with shared restroom facilities in the hallway (the hotel also offers double occupancy rooms). I paid at check in (you only need to turn in your key at check out).

The Berkeley YMCA Hotel is really more of a hostel than a hotel -- my guess is that most of the residents present while I was there were foreign students and visiting researchers at the nearby university. There did seem to be a few people who were living in the hotel as an alternative to living on the streets. If you prefer a true hotel that is similarly situated near the university and BART station, the Hotel Shattuck is located at the intersection of Allston and Shattuck. When I checked into the YMCA Hotel I was given a list of hotel regulations and told that there were two main rules: no smoking in the rooms, and no guests/visitors permitted in the rooms and on the residential floors in general. Check-in starts at 2 PM and the check-out time is 12 PM. The hotel is accessible 24-hours a day to residents; after 10 PM the Allston Way entrance is closed and residents must use a key card to access the side door on Milvia Street (the same card activates the elevator inside).

The room I stayed in was outfitted with a twin-size bed, dresser, simple desk, metal bookshelves, chairs, small refrigerator, medicine cabinet with mirror, and a closet. The room was heated by a hot water or steam radiator. There was no air conditioning, which is also typical of many of the apartments in Berkeley (it's usually unnecessary except in August and September). There was a telephone for incoming calls and room-to-room calls only; there was a pay telephone in the hallway for outgoing calls. The room was protected by a key-operated deadbolt lock on the door. There was no room safe in which to store valuables.

Outside my room was a common area containing the pay phone, a soda machine, and the restrooms and showers. Near my room was a combined shower and bathroom, and around the corner were a couple of bathrooms with a toilet and sink and shower-only rooms. The showers were somewhat busy from about 7 to 9 AM on weekday mornings and intermittently up until about noon on Saturday. Rooms are cleaned on weekdays only and the cleaning service will provide a washcloth and a two fresh towels in your room that you can take to the shower. There was a bottle of some sort of generic YMCA body wash and shampoo in the shower (I brought my own soap and shampoo). The bathrooms and showers were single-occupancy and accessible to both sexes.

The rooms have free high-speed wireless internet service (there were several available networks named "reswap*"). There is a lounge near the lobby that contains three public-use computers for internet access for residents who haven't brought their own computers. There is also a kitchen near the lobby. A flier for the hotel advertises morning coffee and tea. There are apparently laundry facilities on the 3rd and 4th floors (12 PM - 10 PM weekdays, 9 AM - 10 PM weekends). Residents can receive mail at the hotel through the regular postal service. Residents cannot send faxes using the hotel business fax, but they can receive faxes (free for the first two pages; $1 per page beyond that).

My room and the hotel itself seemed to be a bit run-down, but the room was clean. There was a bit of an odor in the hotel -- particularly near the side entrance on Milvia Street -- and the cleanliness of the public bathrooms varied depending on how recently they were cleaned (they seemed to be cleaned several times a day). The street noise was not bad considering the location in downtown Berkeley, although the late-night chirping of the crosswalk signal at Milvia and Allston did annoy me at first (this would not be a problem if you had a room on the interior courtyard). For the most part the residents were also quiet; occasionally I could hear noise from a radio in the adjacent room during the late morning and afternoon.

Overall, my experience at the Berkeley YMCA Hotel was adequate for my purposes: cheap accommodations near the UC Berkeley campus and the BART station. The major drawbacks over a regular hotel are the lack of a private bathroom, lack of a telephone in the room that can make outgoing calls, and perhaps the no-visitors policy. There also was no room safe in which to store valuables. Advantages include free access to the YMCA pool. Free high speed wireless internet access was also convenient.

  • Stayed December 2006, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Berkeley YMCA

Address: 2001 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA 94704
Location: United States > California > Berkeley
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 4 Specialty lodging in Berkeley
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Berkeley Ymca Hotel Berkeley

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