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“The ceiling actually fell through...” 2 of 5 stars
Review of San Francisco International Hostel

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San Francisco International Hostel
140 Mason Street, San Francisco, CA 94102 (Union Square)   |  
Hotel amenities
Miami Beach, Florida
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“The ceiling actually fell through...”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 29, 2014

Bad, bad neighbourhood. It's just on the edge of the Tenderloin which, during the day, is fine. At night however it's a different story. I walked to the end of the block at around 8pm one evening to go to the small grocery store and didn't feel particularly safe doing so. The sirens at night are non-stop, there is so much noise coming off the street it's difficult to sleep. "Free breakfast" consisted of coffee from what I could see, and I wasn't aware of any appliances to prepare my own food. I had a room with a private bathroom which was small, dark and dirty. In the 3 nights that I was there my dorm wasn't cleaned once and there was only one double plug socket for 4 people. The best bit had to be as I was walking into the lobby and saw the ceiling cave in, flooding the floor with water. You are required to press a bell and show your key to prove you are staying there each time you enter the hostel which is a good thing considering the area it's in.

Room Tip: Go about 15 blocks north
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled solo
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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218 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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3
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    2.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    2.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    2.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (31)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
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English first
Belmont, New South Wales, Australia
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2014

We arrived at the hostel at 10:30 am today after checking out of another hostel in the city as it was full for the next two nights (USA Hostels was our first hostel - go there, do NOT stay at this hostel!) When we arrived at reception they told us we couldn't check in until 3pm this afternoon which was fine. We left our luggage in the tiny luggage room and went exploring. When we got back there were so many pieces of luggage in the room we couldn't possibly get to our bags, my husband had to wade through the sea of it just to get them out to check in!

By this time it was 3pm and we were ready to check in, there were 4 people ahead of us and it took half an hour to get through the line. By the time I made it to the front desk another 30 people were behind me waiting to check in, the line was out the door. It took her 10 minutes of searching through papers and the computer to find my reservation and get us sorted. We made our way up to the fifth floor to our room only to discover that all four beds were already occupied.

I went back downstairs to change rooms and the two receptionists were talking. One of them said to the other "It's just going to have to be a first come, first served basis, just move someone who isn't here yet out of there room and these guys can have that one..." Hmmm, I feel bad for the last come people who won't have a room to stay in!

Our second room, while only 2 beds not four (yay private room!) is filthy. Like, filthy doesn't even begin to describe it. Both our mattresses are mouldy and when trying to flip them we found urine/blood/possibly semen stains on the other sides. The sheets we were provided at check in also still have dirt on them and mine had a few long blonde hairs through them. The blankets provided were covered in dirt also, mine looks like someone with muddy boots has been trampling on them. We were stoked to discover a sink in our room, until we realized it has one heat - scolding hot and the cold doesn't work.

We are freezing due to not being able to use the blankets provided and the heater doesn't work. We opened our window sill to discover cigarette butts, food pieces and layers and layers of dirt caking the base. Our walls actually have some sort of mayanara sauce spilt down them? and my bed has a big piece of gum wrapped around the railing.

When we were going to use the toilet, the first didn't have any toilet paper, the shower was out of order, the urinal was full of brown poo coloured water and the sink full of hair.

In short - don't stay here. Stay at USA Hostels, it is a much, much, much, much better hostel... or sleep on the street... really there isn't much difference.

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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Castro Verde, Portugal
2 reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2014 via mobile

The place where I seem to always come back!:) Good price, safe area. You can walk to the major atractions from here. Friendly staff. Free coffee and tea. There is no breakfast included but I suggest you to make some nice porridge:)

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London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 8, 2014

A friend and I checked in here for 6 nights just a week ago. My! What a location. A lot of travelers, myself included, tend to look down on the classic "holiday maker" for not connecting with a city. That can't be said in this case. If you didn't already know before reaching San Francisco, there are a lot of homeless people, especially centrally around this hostel. By staying here, you get to really experience this for yourself - being homeless that is. Allow me to explain.

1) Experience the sounds of the city at night! The excruciatingly loud sirens tend to go off every two hours or so. These sirens are even more infuriating when they are completely irregular, with a loud "AWOOOO" that slowly gets quieter and quieter, then just as you think its about to stop, it fires up again.

2) No reason to set an alarm! If you did manage to drift off between sirens, you'll be awoken naturally at around 7am if not earlier by loud bangs outside. I never actually worked out where these came from. At first I thought they were large bins being emptied, but there were far too many and it was happening every morning. The only thing I can liken it to is an angry child slamming a metal door shut. Only the latch on the door doesn't quite work as well as it did yesteryear, and so the door swings open and the angry child slams it again. This tends to go on for half an hour or so.

3) Maybe I put these in reverse order - as even finding a sleeping position is tough. I remember when I was a child and being dragged to church being told many a biblical story, and usually at some point in the story someone would be tired and lie down. The Sunday School leader, Mrs Preston, would often tell us that their beds those days weren't like the beds we have today, and were usually piles of straw or material in the corner. Nevertheless, I am sure they were more comfortable than the beds here.

The beds are composed of a metal H frame with the gaps filled with a sort of metal mesh. However, this metal mesh has bowed over the years, and in fact snapped in many places meaning the top and lower halves of your body sunk into the bed quite nicely, even with a mattress that was probably intended for a sun lounger. The problem, is the big metal bar that runs across the middle of the bed. THIS is where you really immerse yourself in the homeless experience of sleeping rough - assuming of course that your homeless mind chose to lie across a raised curb, or perhaps one of those concrete blocks they put in parking spaces to stop you driving into someone else's car or onto the pavement.

4) Wi-fi - Oh how the homeless must aspire to use wi-fi. Although unlike them you most likely have a capable device, connecting to it unless you're on the ground floor or first floor is just a nightmare. This is possibly even more frustrating than not having a smartphone/laptop/whatever.

5) It can't be all that often that a homeless person gets to take a wash. Although we paid the very slight extra for a private bathroom adjoined to our dorm room, you wouldn't really want to use it. Both the shower and the sink failed to drain properly, leaving a fairly rank scum around the sink and tub. The dorm was cleaned twice while we were there, but fairly sure no effort was made to clean either sink or bath, nevermind pour some draino down there.

The only thing this hostel really has going for it is the atmosphere - providing you're young and enjoy a drink. (Or homeless, and enjoy a drink). Not a problem for me but those looking to relax after a long day exploring the city might find more solace elsewhere (e.g. the Adelaide hostel just a couple of blocks away where a friend was staying).

Side note: I just looked down at the ratings and saw options for fitness centre and swimming pool. Either these are just standard bits for every accommodation on Trip Advisor, or I was just never aware of them at the hostel.

Room Tip: Check out the Adelaide on Taylor
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Barwon Heads, Australia
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 31, 2014

If you enjoy being lulled to sleep by the smooth song of meth addicts and the homeless then this is the hostel for you! It also comes with the added luxury of zero soap to wash your hands with, plus a total of 2 toilets per floor. Now if your lucky you will have a hand basin in your room as great as they look it probably won't work. So you'll find yourself stepping over mountains of pubic hair to clean your teeth in the football club style showers. Now when you turn these showers on.. They will work but you will be greeted with a glorious fountain of water that if your lucky will be warm with the strength of a small water pistol. Now if you find yourself in need of eating and are brave enough to cook here. Don't do it. If you like bowls, there are 2. By the time this review is up there'll probably be 1. So enjoy eating your cereal off a plate or saucepan. If you like toast there is an oven. There is ample fridges with plenty of space but if you dig deep enough to the back you'll find the bag your parents left when they were your age and staying here. Good luck. Oh and if you look up google maps to find this place and it told you get free beer, it doesn't. But its not all bad, it does have a free pool table, and a nice big social room where you can bring your own drinks. Tuesdays is an organised byo beer night!! As well as every other night just not organised. Free coffee isn't bad. Wifi works if your lucky. Bedrooms are surprisingly ok but don't get too pissed which I know you will just so you can get to sleep, although when you go to close the window to drown out the wails of the 2am street artists make sure you don't fall out the window because you don't have to squeeze. Also if you see the homeless guy singing " I've been waiting, for some change for you" give him a quarter get his autograph he'll be famous soon.

Room Tip: pick another hostel
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  • Stayed May 2014, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
West Palm Beach, Florida
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 29, 2014

Very tiny rooms without any shower or toilet - I'm a seasoned hostel traveler and this was a first! This hostel has 3-5 showers and 2-3 toilets per 2 floors! (at least 10 rooms per floor x 4 people per room) - you do the math. So taking a shower or even going to the bathroom can be a very complicated task, especially in the "rush hour". No hook for the towel or shelves for the products in your shower cabin. You gotta get out of the cabin naked to get all your stuff only be watched by other anxious "I-myself-can't-wait-to-take-a-shower" guests.

Super small beds - I'm only 175 cm and couldn't stretch out my legs to rest properly - and when I did, my feet would touch the head of another person, because the beds are literally next to each other. There are better options in the vicinity, and with individual showers and toilets in the room and more space between beds/bigger beds.

Location was the only great thing about this hostel, as well as a large common area with comfy seats for people to hang out.

The rooms are hot and dark, and if you open the window and the curtain, you're likely to be seen by people from the downstairs common room (it's that close) or one of the rooms or hallways right in front of your window.

I've overheard them being overbooked and turning down some people with reservations!!

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Donaueschingen, Deutschland
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
1 of 5 stars Reviewed May 26, 2014

I've been travelling around the world a lot and almost always in Hostels. I didnt like San Francisco International Hostel at all. It was very dirty, one plug in a room and the staff was very unfriendly and not informed. One of them told you there's no laundry in the hostel, the next one tells you there is one. A backpack was stolen in front of the reception (inside the building), there were 4 cameras seeing this place, 2 of the cameras had the light turned on, the owner told us there were all turned off. Well, thats not what cameras are for, if that was true. 2 things were stolen out of my backpack. There was nobody in the room except by me. I was outside and when i came back there was still nobody in the room but 2 things gone. Dont know how somebody could enter the room without a key. The free pancakes they offer on their homepage arent offered anymore since a couple of months as they told me at the reception. The common room was nice though and the kitchen okay. I wouldnt stay at that hostel, not even for that price, not even if it was for free.

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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 San Francisco International Hostel

Address: 140 Mason Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
Location: United States > California > San Francisco > Union Square
Hotel Style:
Ranked #21 of 48 Specialty Lodging in San Francisco
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 71
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