I just got back from a stay at the fabulous Pacific Tradewinds Hostel in San Francisco. I highly recommend it--if you are looking for a hostel experience and not for a cheap hotel.
A hostel can be a great place to develop quick friendships with people who are willing to live in close quarters with strangers. There's an opportunity for a kind of connection and intimacy that is rare in American culture. A hostel is not a good place to go if you want a lot of peace and quiet and alone time.
All that said, I really loved Pacific Tradewinds. It's in a good neighborhood in San Francisco, convenient to Chinatown and North Beach, lots of great restaurants and bars around. Also close to Union Square and the Ferry Terminal, as well as to BART and bus stops.
It's quite a walk up the stairs to get to the hostel--a backpack is easier than luggage to carry up the stairs. At this writing, the facility is in good shape--it gets a lot of use, but is not worn, and is very comfy. A lot of attention from the staff goes into cleaning it. I saw one fellow working hard to remove some gum from the stairs (successfully).
The staff are a delight. Dave, the general manager, is accessible and present, and has a vision of offering something special to visitors--a small hostel with a family-like atmosphere. The staff, mostly in their 20's, are hip and friendly.
The comfortable common area/lounge has a great sound system, and the staff seem to enjoy taking their turn on duty and being DJ, playing their favorite music through their iPods. There is free high speed Internet in the lounge, and people did not monopolize it as they checked their emails and did a little web surfing during the day and the evening.
The dorm rooms (co-ed) were quite comfortable. I really appreciated the metal bunks, as they did not squeak, and the lockable lockers underneath the bunks. I wore earplugs and was glad of that, as there was a lot of coming and going in the evening. There is no curfew.
The guests also were great. I made new friends from several countries, and enjoyed walking and taking the bus around San Francisco with them, and seeing the sights. Most of the guests appeared to be in their twenties and early thirties, with a few in their late teens and some in their fifties. We all got along famously.
If you haven't been to a hostel before, you can think of it as being something like a college dorm where alcohol is permitted. It's a little noisy, can be untidy at times (not the same as dirty--Pacific Tradewinds is very clean--spotless bathrooms and showers, for example), and brings together people who are living their lives vigorously, and who would like to get to know you. At $24/night, Pacific Tradewinds is a real bargain, not just for the lodging, but for the magical environment, the community of staff and guests who are happily sharing their lives and exploration for the few days they are together. I had a wonderful time there.
- Also Known As:
- Pacific Tradewinds Hotel
- Pacific Tradewinds Hotel San Francisco
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