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“Like staying in someone's home” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Indy Hostel

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Indy Hostel
1.5 of 5 Hostel   |   4903 Winthrop Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46205   |  
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Hotel amenities
Special Rate
Unique and Affordable
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Edinburgh, Scotland
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Like staying in someone's home”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 2, 2012

This hostel was great, we've been travelling for 9 months and it's one of the nicest. Hailey and Kevin, the young couple who have just started running the place were very friendly and helpful, offering us tips on some great places to eat in the area.

The hostel was in 2 buildings and we were in the one behind the main building. It was really nice, just a few bedrooms and a bathroom with shower. It honestly felt like we were staying at someone's house rather than a hostel. There were some great communal facilities in the main house, although we didn't get a chance to use them.

Our only criticisms would be the mattress on our bed sagged in the middle which made it uncomfortable, and there was no lock on the bedroom door - not the best when you have valuables in the room. Both of those could be easily sorted though.

Overall we were very happy, there were a lot of nice places to eat nearby and the off street parking was handy as we had a car.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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137 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 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 (24)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Bourbonnais, Illinois
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 27, 2012

We recently spent a weekend in Indianapolis to tour Butler University. Butler University is just two miles from the Indy Hostel which was very convenient. The staff of the Indy Hostel was very friendly and accommodating. I booked the private room which was very comfortable and very adequate. I enjoyed the shared kitchen accommodations, and meeting some international guests. The hostel is located just a few minutes away from a Fresh Market and the Broad Ripple Village neighborhood with all of its interesting eateries. I look forward to my next trip to Indianapolis and the Indy Hostel

Room Tip: If you want to add a little expense to your visit upgrade to the private room
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  • Stayed September 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Portland, Oregon
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 24, 2012

Came to Indy from Portland, Oregon for an extended stay and a funky conference. If you are into public transit, and biking, this hostel location and options will do you right.

1. It is adjacent to the famed Monon Trail, which takes you to the city, all the way to Carmel, and the funky community of Broad Ripple. Fantastic option.

2. They have a host of bikes you can rent - none fancy - but brought my own lock and helmet and cooked all over the city -- way easier than busing around and with the amazing trail system in Indy, a ton of fun.

3. The hostel is not your Euro hostel that is crowded, factory-like, and party-central. Felt like an Air-BnB - low cost ($30 per night), clean, but with autonomy. Once you are "checked-in", I had complete ability to come and go with great ease.

4. Super lovely hosts. Hailey and Kevin are the local hosts, and were great resources, fun to see here and there, we had a great time watching football Saturday night while indulging in amazing Creole (Yatz is a must eat - cheap and amazing, a rare combo), plus old school Crazy Bread from nearby Little C's. They keep things in great order....

5. The only major issue you need to think about? If in a dorm room, the beds squeak a little, something I think the owners might be able address with some WD-40, I failed to mention this and perhaps the solution is more complex than that.

Advice, if interested, and flying into town:

A. Print out and get the IndyGo PDFs for the 8 and 17. The 8 leaves from the airport. Ask the bus driver to let you know when you are at the stop to switch to the 17. It is at the Capitol. Then jump on the 17, and get off at 48th or 49th and College, and then prepare to walk 4-5 blocks, past the Little C's (pizza) and the hostel is on the left, red house. Walk around the back to the deck, that is the best way to come in. Have a phone with you, so you can call and get someone to check you in (or someone may be there, but a phone is a best bet -- Kevin and Hailey have the phone with them).

B. You may actually get their phone number in advance and call when you are getting off the bus. This way no issues checking in. I had none.

C. Dorm is great if you don't mind some potential others in your space. I had it to myself one of my four nights. Other nights I barely noticed the one other in the room. Kept stuff in the closet, etc. Was nice. Baths are also single person, and great. Towels and sheets included.

D. Bike. I used the Specialized hybrid, and it worked great. Brought lights and helmet and lock. All were necessary, especially biking at night. Monon supposedly closes at night, but Winthrop (the cross street the hostel is on) was easy to bike on, coming back from Broad Ripple.

E. Grocery up. Save money. Natural grocer at Broad Ripple is sadly way over-priced, even for my Co-op tastes as a Portlander. Kroger in Broad Ripple worked fine for sundries. Kevin/Hailey probably have other ideas. I ate with the conference, mostly.

F. Eat at Yatz! Not super close, but so damn good, veggie or otherwise. They have this peanut butter dessert that if you tend to dip in the p jar spoon solo, then you will like it.

Stopping there. Flight is departing. Getting looks from the stewardess.

Room Tip: Imagine if you wanted to go single room, you would have no serious noise issues. But again, I was...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled on business
    • 5 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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England
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2012

As I said in my title, mixed feelings but overall very good.

I booked through Hostel World for two nights but my US Airways flight was delayed so instead of arriving at 1.30am, I arrived at 12.30pm the next day. I did telephone Indy Hostel from the airport and was able to speak to the owner (John, I think!) who thanked me for letting him know and reassured me I would still have a bed for the next evening. I advised of my eta for the next day and was given fairly good directions on how to get there using public transport.

I rocked up and after banging on the door for a while, was let in by a lovely resident who also allowed me to use her phone to try and get hold of the owner/managers. I left a message and ended up hanging around waiting. Said friendly resident kindly gave me a cup of tea and found me a clean towel, allowing me to take a shower to freshen up after about 24 hours of travel. She was lovely and explained that it was pretty relaxed at Indy Hostel but not to worry, if the owners expected me they should be back soon.

I used the internet for a while and the owners returned around 2pm, letting in a harassed guy who had been waiting outside the hostel for an hour to be let in. He was grumbling that he was scheduled to arrive at 1pm and had been banging on the door for an hour (admittedly, I heard banging whilst in the shower but nothing subsequent otherwise I would have returned the kindness). I also checked in with John, who was VERY relaxed about everything and said I could pay later. So I toddled off for a look around the town.

Upon my return from town, I specifically sought out John to pay and he very kindly only charged me for one night (although the deposit for two nights was retained) and gave me good directions again on where I could catch my Mega Bus to Chicago.

Having read some of the other reviews on here, I can see where some people are coming from as the Hostel Managers are VERY relaxed about things and when you are used to manned receptions and quite formal hostels, this can take you back. Although I found it refreshing once I was familair with the set up and ended up feeling as though I was staying in someone’s home as opposed to a hostel.
I did get an email response to my query about late check in and pick up from the airport (which I didn’t use in the end).

From a practical point of view, I was in a four bed female dorm. Fresh clean sheets and towel, space to store my bag and comfortable bed. Clean but dated/old bathrooms that had seen better days, space in the kitchen to store food, enough utensils, lockers (bring a padlock or be prepared to hire one), free internet, LOTS of tourist information about the surrounding area and what to do.
Really good communal areas with a TV room, computer room and general reception area together with a garden, decking area and small conservatory. There is also parking.

The hostel is close to some good (so I am told by other residents) nature walks and the Broad Ripple area. Sadly I ran out of time to visit there and only visited town.

I was surprised how far out of town Indy Hostel is – don’t get me wrong, you’re not in the sticks, but if you want to be on the doorstep of the centre of Indianapolis, this isn’t right for you. However, if you don’t mind a 20 minute bus ride and short walk, you’ll do just fine.

Room Tip: The upstairs four bed female door was comfortable, spacious and close to bathrooms
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Kevin019Sing, Manager at Indy Hostel, responded to this review, October 5, 2012
We appreciate all the feedback that is left on this site and other sites, but I would like to respond to this review so that others will be able to make an informed decision regarding their accommodation choices.

The Indy Hostel has recently hired new full time management, of which I am one. My wife and I have now been working at the Indy Hostel for approximately one month. The owner, John, is still in the same position and remains involved with guests and daily tasks. The time during which many of these reviews were posted was either between managers or at the end of one of our manager's time here. Thus, John, the owner, was somewhat stretched thin, but this has been solved.

Issues such as guests remaining on the front porch banging on the door have not occurred in our time here and will not occur in the future. One of the staff has the Indy Hostel phone on them 24/7 and are always doing our best to meet the needs of our guests.

I would also like to comment on the relaxed state of the hostel and the differences between this hostel and others. I do consider one of our strengths to be the home-like feel that we have created. This is a common response from many of our guests. However, I do not see that as an excuse to be unorganized. If there was any lack of organization due to overburdened staff members, this issue has been resolved by our full time presence here at the hostel. We take these reviews and other comments seriously and value the feedback as useful material to make changes by.
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Columbus, OH
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2012

We were passing through Indy on the way to visit family in Chicago and decided to make a night of it. We like supporting small locally owned businesses and have stayed at various hostels so this seemed like the perfect fit. We booked the en suite double (double bed, private bathroom in the room). We arrived at 3PM on Friday and one of the guests let us in and told us we were looking for Deb, the person in charge. I saw her outside and said "Hi! Are you Deb? Can you check us in?" We were parked in the driveway (with no signage instructing us otherwise). She looks over and says "Is that your car? You can't park it there, that's where the owners park" I said "OK" (figuring I'd move it as soon as we were checked in), but she stared at me like I had sprouted another head, so my husband volunteered to move the car while I checked us in.

She took us to our room and remembered that the lightbulb in the bathroom was out (the only one there in the combo light/vent) and that she'd never had to change that before. I told her it was no problem, we're homeowners, just give us the lightbulb and we can handle that, but no lightbulb ever materialized. I dragged the bedside lamp into the bathroom to see, but it's such a tiny space (that was not a problem, factually, it's just a very compact bathroom) that didn't work well as there was barely room for me and the lamp. We're creative so we took the lightbulb out of the lamp and replaced the dead bulb in the bathroom. That was the worst of our problems. Otherwise there weren't very many people staying there so it was pretty quiet. We traipsed around Mass Ave and the Broad Ripple and enjoyed Upland Brewing about 3 blocks away and took off first thing in the morning. The en suite room does lock so that was nice too. And we were able to store out travel food in the fridge. But I wouldn't necessarily expect any response to your emails or to have more than necessary conversation with the staff as hospitality does not seem to be their forte, but the accomodations are just fine.

Room Tip: The en suite room was $64 for two people, maybe the same as a budget hotel, but prettier and with mo...
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Kevin019Sing, Manager at Indy Hostel, responded to this review, October 5, 2012
This is another case of past managers like many of the other older reviews. My wife and I are happy to be here at the hostel managing and are happy to welcome guests. There will be no stare downs, I promise.
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beachlover101101
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2012

Very Cheap
Nice Laid Back Hippie-esque Decor
I was a little creeped out at night (hearing others moving around-coughing), but all was well.
The bathrooms were a tad dirty.

Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
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Saint Louis, Missouri
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 10, 2011

I didn't actually stay at the hostel this trip because they mistakenly cancelled my reservation (even though I had confirmed it the day before). I was called at 4:30 on the day I was supposed to check in and told I didn't have a room, which I had reserved months prior, because one of the staff had deleted my reservation. After being told repeatedly by the house manager that there was "nothing she could do" I hung up in disgust and frustration.

Having said that, the most disappointing part of this recent experience is that it would have been my fourth stay at the hostel, since my son just started at the university nearby (so, yes they lost a repeat customer for the next four years). The hostel is convenient to Butler University, clean and the rooms are adequate--kind of like staying at a friend's house for the weekend. Unfortunately, the house manager does not have any customer service skills. Having been a manager of both restaurants and hotels, I KNOW that there is never a case where the manager cannot do anything--perhaps offering to call around and find me a room in another hotel, or offering to comp a room on a future visit to make up for their mistake...just a couple of ideas. Since it was parent's weekend at the university, hotel rooms were hard to come by and I had visions of spending the night on my son's dorm floor. Luckily that didn't happen and I was able to find a room about 12 miles away.

However, it has now been five days, and I've not been contacted about having my deposit refunded or any other compensation for the extreme distress and inconvenience this caused.

Room Tip: I guess my advice would be to confirm and re-confirm that you actually have a room--the fact that a...
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
Kevin019Sing, Manager at Indy Hostel, responded to this review, October 5, 2012
We apologize that this type of service has been a part of our past, but I assure any potential guests that this is not how the hostel is run presently. Read the most recent reviews and look at the over fifty reviews at hostelworld.com. We appreciate your kind words about the hostel itself despite the lack of adequate service that you received.
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Additional Information about Indy Hostel

Address: 4903 Winthrop Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46205
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Indiana > Indianapolis
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Shuttle Bus service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 5 Specialty Lodging in Indianapolis
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:1.5 star — Indy Hostel 1.5*
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
If you like to really feel a town, meet the people, and experience the food and lifestyle of the locals, then Indy Hostel is the place to stay!!!! We have the friendly atmosphere of a hostel with the style of a bed and breakfast inn. We are near downtown but nestled in a quiet Broad Ripple neighborhood near local restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues. Indy Hostel is in the 'Heart' of Indianapolis. ... more   less 
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