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“Overall it is very good” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Hostelling International Chicago

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Hostelling International Chicago
1.5 of 5 Hostel   |   24 E. Congress Pkwy., South Loop, Chicago, IL 60605 (The Loop)   |  
Hotel amenities
Kingston, Canada
Top Contributor
108 reviews 108 reviews
64 hotel reviews
Reviews in 67 cities Reviews in 67 cities
162 helpful votes 162 helpful votes
“Overall it is very good”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 3, 2012

We really liked this hostel. Two of us had booked a private room (bath outside the room) at a very reasonable rate. Building itself is beautiful. Rooms and common areas were all spotless when we got there.

Our room was huge, with a bunk bed (double on the bottom, twin on the top), large window with desk top under it and a chair, radio/alarm clock. Each 'unit' had several bedrooms off it, a small kitchen area and a lounge area. A connecting hall with a gender segregated toilet and shower off of it led to the unit next door.

Hostel also has a very large lounge area for the whole hostel as well as a very well stocked kitchen that is available if you want to self cater. Everything was clean and in good condition.

When we arrived our room wasn't ready yet so we stored our luggage in their luggage room and went on a free 'architecture of Chicago' tour. The tour was excellent, and itself was worth the cost of our stay that night. A volunteer guided us by and into buildings that we never would have found on our own.

Breakfast is included and was very good and filling. The usual continental breakfast things - toast, waffles etc. This is a hostel, so you have to do your own dishes after breakfast. Great views from the dining room of nearby buildings and the el.

Our only complaint (and the reason for 4 rather than 5 'hoots') was that in the attached unit there were 'gatherings' every night, and that common room was a complete disaster. Luckily the noise from there was far enough away from our room that it didn't bother us, but we met an older couple who were not so lucky. We saw the staff walk in and gently mention that 'they would clean this up when they were done right?", but other than that staff showed no concern to the noise or the mess. When I checked out I mentioned it and the two staff members on the front desk just shrugged. My worry is that it is possible to end up in a room with noisy inconsiderate guests outside your room, and staff don't appear to be responsive to problems such as this.

Overall though I highly recommend this hostel and wouldn't hesitate to stay there again.

ktown

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • 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
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404 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (56)
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English first
La Mesa, CA
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
68 helpful votes 68 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 26, 2012

I stayed here three nights when I came to Chicago to drop my son off at the University of Chicago. Overall it was a very good experience and I highly recommend this hostel to anyone looking for reasonably priced accommodations in Chicago.

The hostel is a large 7-story building in a really great location at Congress and Wabash, at the Southeastern edge of the Loop, within easy walking distance of a great many Chicago attractions and many public transportation choices.

We flew into Midway airport, and it was a easy and inexpensive 30 minute ride on the Orange Line to the Harold Washington Library Station. From there it took less than five minutes to walk the two blocks to the hostel. The hostel is also close to the train from O'hare airport and the Metra commuter trains.

The first night we had booked a private room with a shared bath for the two of us through a hotel booking website. The room was very clean and not huge but had two beds, arranged in bunk bed fashion, with a queen-size bed on the bottom and a twin-size on the top. The room also had a desk, a chair, and a small closet. Bedding and towels were provided.

It was part a suite of five other rooms opening onto a shared living room with sofas and chairs and a shared kitchen with a stove that had all the burners removed (fire regulations?). There was a shared bathroom in the suite, but for some reason it was for women only. There was an unlocked internal door connecting this suite to another just like it next door, that had a shared male/female bathroom, with an individual shower/toilet area that could be locked for privacy and a public sink area. It seems strange that they had a dedicated female bathroom, but not a dedicated male one. Maybe women use the semi-private rooms a lot more than men?

The shower/toilet area was nice. Unlike some hostels I've stayed in, it had plenty of shelves and hooks to put your stuff on while taking a shower. The shower was a water-saving one with a very weak flow, but was still usable.

The room was on the sixth floor and overlooked the Southeast corner of the loop, and there were a lot of trains going by, but they weren't as noisy as on the other side of the building where I stayed later. Being on the sixth floor there was a nice view from the window.

The staff at the hostel seemed efficient and competent, but not as friendly as the staff at other hostels I've stayed in. They were someone curt, and seemed annoyed when I needed a place to store my bags before check-in. Because I didn't have a membership in Hosteling International, I had to pay an extra $3 each night I stayed. That coupled with the local 16% hotel tax made my stay a bit more expensive than I expected, but a lot cheaper than any other decent Chicago accommodations.

The free continental breakfast was pretty good. There was bread for toast, small waffle sticks, and bagels, along with a machine to toast them in. There were also croissants that could not be toasted, along with plenty of cheese slices, cream cheese, jam, cereal, and milk. Everyone had to wash their own dishes in the nearby kitchen, which is not unusual for hostels, but always makes me worry a little about how sanitary the dishes are, since they were all hand-washed by probably inexperienced people.

My second and third nights at the hostel I was alone, and stayed in a 10-bed male dorm room. I thought would be horrible with so many people, but the room was specious, and my roommates were very considerate, and I slept well. This room was on the third-floor, and right outside the window were the elevated train tracks, just like Elwood's room in the Blues Brothers. The trains went by literally every minute, but the noise wasn't so bad. The only thing that made it hard to sleep was the snoring of the guy in the bunk above me, and after a while, he turned over and quieted down.

There were roomy lockers provided in the room, but you need your own lock. The room also had a few chairs, and each bed had its own light, which I hesitated to turn on at night, because they were pretty bright and might disturb those trying to sleep.

The bathroom for the dorm was right down the hall, and had two showers with plenty of hooks in the shower to hang things from. A small bench in there would have been nice though. The bathroom was very clean.

All in all, I had a very nice stay at this hostel, and would gladly recommend it to others.

Room Tip: Rooms on the east side are right next to the elevated train line.
See more room tips
  • Stayed September 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Sunderland, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 25, 2012

First of all, I love Chicago. I've been four times and I never get bored.
I stayed at the HI Chicago in 2008 with 9 friends. (apologies for the late review only I've just joined tripadvisor)
Its a reasonably central location, just round the corner from the Grant Park and Lake Michigan.
The building itself is pretty easy to find and the area around it isn't too bad.
We booked a room which was supposed to be for our exclusive use but could sleep maybe 18 people. On arrival the booking in process was easy and we were in our room within 10 minutes. However, when we entered the room we found that other people were staying there also. A quick word with the manager resolved this and then we had the place to ourselves.
The room was large with a living area we could hang out in as well as a private bathroom / toilet area. This was ok for the men but not so good for the ladies as there was only 1 shower and 1 toilet so we had to make sure we gave them plenty of notice to get ready (sorry not being sexist).
There were 3 bedrooms fitted with bunk beds,each room being capable of sleeping 6 people.
We had an amazing view onto two streets as we had a corner penthouse, a nice touch as well was the fact the room also had a large refridgerator.
In the restaurant area in the morning we had a free breakfast which consisted of cereal and toast. There was a communal kitchen which you could use for free and this was ideal for knocking up massive pans of scrambled egg to keep us going while we looked around the city.
I could go on for hours about where to go in Chicago but this review is about HI.
So in short, stay here. It's ideal if you're on a budget or if you'd like to stop somewhere different from the norm.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 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
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Elmwood Park, NJ
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 24, 2012 via mobile

Located in The Loop, close to subways and bus stops with Grant Park 2 blocks away. I stayed here cause of the prices and the great reviews I've read, and they were all right. Awesome place to stay! As long as u dont mind sharing a room with 6-8 others, kinda like a summer camp. I dont mind, so I really enjoyed my stay. Just have a hotel in mind incase you end up leaving the club with a girl cause this might not be the best place to bring her, haha.

  • Stayed August 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Nashville, Tennessee
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2012 via mobile

This is a nice place. But I was suffering from bedbugs bites. Even after changing bed sheets, still got bites. The receptionist seemed reluctant to admit there were bedbugs. " I couldnt have even imaged these were bedbug bites" ... And I did find rotten color on the linens. I live Chicago but this is the worst part of my staying in Chicago. Return home with bug bites around the neck :( :(

  • Stayed September 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Guadalajara, Mexico
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 14, 2012

We had an overall great stay at this hostel, it offers amazing rates for the rooms, we had a semiprivate room and you only share the bathroom and kitchen, which was fine because we never had a problem trying to use it. The location is great right next to the main train stations and near lots of shops and restaurants, you can even walk to some of the main attractions.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Oshawa, Canada
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2012

I had booked 2 nights but spontaniously decided to stay another because I liked it so much. The hostel is in walking distance to lots of things and if you need to catch the subway it's also just around the corner. They have tons of free activities, each night of the week something different. If you want to make new friends or meet new people, stay there! The rooms are clean and roomy and the bathrooms have seperate doors between toilet and shower and sinks so no one person blocks off the whole bathroom. The staff is very friendly and knowledgeable.
Should I ever go back to Chicago I definitely will be staying there again.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled solo
    • 5 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about Hostelling International Chicago

Address: 24 E. Congress Pkwy., South Loop, Chicago, IL 60605
Location: United States > Illinois > Chicago > The Loop
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 51 Specialty Lodging in Chicago
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:1.5 star — Hostelling International Chicago 1.5*
Number of rooms: 300
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Hostelling International Chicago Summer Hotel Chicago

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