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“Not very friendly” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Hostelling International- San Francisco/ Downtown

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Hostelling International- San Francisco/ Downtown
312 Mason Street, San Francisco, CA 94102   |  
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N.Ireland
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Not very friendly”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2009

The hostel itself is in a good location, very central. The building is very old but they have gave it a touch up with some paint to try bring it back to life! Stayed in a 4 bed dorm. Very basic rooms but clean and no bugs! Bed very uncomfortable. Theres a toilet and shower in the room. Not once did i see housekeepers but they must be about at some stage cos we got our toilet roll topped up. Other than that i never saw anything done. Bins not empied, bathroom floor never cleaned, soap dispenser was empty for a whole week! Beware of a guy in reception with dark hair and wearing glasses, very unfriendly. I asked a reasonable question and he answered me with sarcasm! I stayed a week and not once did i see him smile or be friendly to anyone! One more thing i'd like to add and it was a big problem for me, there was just one socket in the bedroom and it didnt work. I had nowhere to dry my hair or charge my electrical items. Internet is only available in a lounge. I wanted to make a skype call back home but i couldnt as there was no privacy and music was playing throughtout the room. I would maybe recommend this hostel for a short stay but believe me by the time my week was over i was glad 2 see the back of it!

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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456 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (54)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
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English first
Saint Louis, Missouri, USA
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 19, 2008

First a note on location - I read reviews of the neighborhood this hostel is in as being a bit rough, but I must first state that I stayed at the King George Hotel just up the street, for 5 nights previously, and had no problems with the area. I lived in NYC for 4 years, so maybe that has something to do with it - but really, the bums asking for change were harmless, and the crazies roaming around were humorous - not dangerous.

That said, most other aspects of this hostel were great, based on my 1 night's stay (but staying up the street for almost a week prior to that). I chose to stay in this hostel as my friends had left town but I had one more night in the city, and didn't want to pay a bunch of money for a hotel room. I chose the 4-person single-sex dorm. The other three girls were very courteous and quiet when anyone was sleeping. The room was clean. The private bathroom was very big; water pressure/heat was fine. San Francisco was a bit chilly that night, so radiator heaters were going in the room. Made a little noise, but was nice temp. for sleeping. Small in-room lockers, but ample larger storage lockers available outside of the lobby - one fit my medium suitcase and backpack; you can use your storage up to 10pm or midnight the day of your departure.

I was concerned the location of the room would be noisy as our window faced Mason Street, but the street quiets down significantly at night (although it was a Sunday night), and did not wake me up too early in the morning.

The wi-fi internet is restricted to the lobby and the 2nd floor lounge, unfortunately. I went to the lounge to use the wi-fi, and a large group of young kids were drinking and discussing crap noisily. Too bad the wi-fi isn't available throughout the hostel.

Breakfast is very basic - coffee, juice, bagels or toast with peanut butter or jam. But better than nothing, especially if on a tight budget!

The building is great, read up on it while you are there. It is a very old hotel; you can really tell by the rickety old elevator and strangely large bathroom; a great character to it.

To add to my initial comments about the location - what a GREAT location to stay! This is close to all transport - the BART (to the airport), the historic cable cars (runs down Powell to Chinatown, North Beach, Fisherman's Wharf), the street cars (and historic F line on Market), and buses. Therefore, very easy to get to other places not in walking distance. Walking distance to lots of shopping (familiar stores like H&M, Old Navy, but also a few large shopping complexes that include more boutique type stores including a Kiehl's), also walking distance to the Old US Mint (still standing after the 1906 earthquake/fires) and the Museum of Modern Art.

I paid $25 for the night - could not be beat!

  • Liked — location
  • Disliked — wi-fi only accessible in lounge or lobby (not private or quiet areas)
  • Stayed November 2008, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 7, 2008

Recently renovated kitchen and dining room area are clean and neat. Would happily cook my own food there, proudly aware that its clean and safe.
Generally friendly staff, was warmly received by a new guy when I came to check in a few hours early, who was very helpful and made a few useful suggestions.

Great theatre/tv room, plenty of bean bags.
Lounge is good also, good music playing, free wifi access...

  • Liked — Very new decor, on an old building
  • Disliked — lack of people my age, possibly due to the time of year i travelled though
  • Stayed November 2008, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
44 hotel reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
93 helpful votes 93 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 7, 2008

Stayed here for 3 nights at the end of a trip around the west coast of America. I previously stayed at the HI SF city centr hostel and wanted to try this one to see the difference. The main difference is the location. Much better than the City centre one. YEs its a little bit rough still, but its the centre of the city and i never had any trouble with anyone during my stays at either hostel. The downtown one is more modern, and offers evething that the traveller needs!!

  • Stayed November 2008, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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Cork, Ireland
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2008

My first time staying in a hostel and I have to say I was well impressed. You will not get a better location, it is 2minutes from Union Square and the shops and about 30mins to Fishermans Wharf where you get to experience China Town, North Beach, etc along the way.

Rooms were clean, beds very comfortable and could not make a complaint about the noise.

The staff were upbeat and helpful.

The internet is also available at the most reasonable rate I have seen anywhere.

  • Liked — Location
  • Disliked — Lack of privacy - but it was a hostel so I'm only nitpicking
  • Stayed June 2008, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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Indiana
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 23, 2008

The accomodations, for the price are great! My husband and I booked a private room, shared bath. We were checked in, given our bedding, and sent to our room. Clean, basic room with bunk beds, one chair and a sink. Bathroom was down the hall. Common areas were well kept and adequately supplied with books/info on the area etc.

The location is convenient. Walking distance to many restaurants, shops and the street car. The BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) is great. The hostel is walking distance to a subway station. The public transportation options in San Francisco are fantastic. Other cities need to follow their lead.

The only detraction of our trip were the bums and drug dealers in the area. Not the safest feeling, for sure. We were hasseled from the moment we arrived, until we hopped in the cab to leave. You couldn't step out the door of the hostel without being accosted by LOTS of bums. They seem to hang out on the corner and in the alley behind/beside the hostel. We were approached three seperate times by drug dealers to "make sure we had everything we needed". His words. Not pushy, just intimidating. At least for me. Some of the bums were quite pushy and frightening also. They would follow you and hassle you until you paid them to go away. There was actually a time when we were "protected" by one bum. He told other bums to leave us alone, we had already paid him. Sounds like they work together to me. My husband was actually shoved and threatened by one. We are compassionate people and did give spare change to people when we could, but this man didn't want money. He wanted a fight. Rough area.

I would maybe try the other hostel near the golden gate park next time.

  • Liked — The price
  • Disliked — The bums
  • Stayed December 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Madrid, Spain
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 17, 2008

Just like they said: "offers a five-star location at a rock-bottom price". In the heart of SF's tourist district, one block from Union Square, in a vibrant and secure neighborhood filled with clubs, restaurants, bars, theaters, and art galleries. Easy walking distance to Cable Cars and BART (Subway). No curfew, with all amenities. Everything you need is there or really close. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

  • Liked — Location: perfect
  • Disliked — Lift: wasn't working that week
  • Stayed September 2006, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hostelling International- San Francisco/ Downtown

Address: 312 Mason Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > San Francisco
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 47 Specialty Lodging in San Francisco
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 13
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Stay in the heart of the city, just one block from Union Square and steps from Chinatown and the cable cars! HI-San Francisco Downtown is close to the best cafes, clubs, theaters, and shopping. You'll love our new look, low prices, and four-bed dorms (coed dorms range from 4-8 beds). Free continental breakfast, free WiFi, DSL Internet, guest kitchen, free linens and towels, daily housekeeping, free/low-cost daily activities and tours, 24-hour reception, and no curfews, chores, or lockouts. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hostelling International- San Francisco/ Downtown Hotel San Francisco

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