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“Better than I expected” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Union Square Backpacker's Hostel

Union Square Backpacker's Hostel
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Union Square Backpacker's Hostel
70 Derby Street, San Francisco, CA 94102   |  
Hotel amenities
Vancouver, Canada
1 review
“Better than I expected”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 14, 2011

It is in a shady alley-way in the middle of downtown, and from outside it feels a little shady, but the rooms are okay, and the staff is very friendly and helpful. Other than the outside appearance, the rest was great, and it definitely was not the worst place I stayed at. I read in a previous review that homeless people 'are let in' for whatever reason, but I found that to be false. They save up whatever money they can scratch up to stay the night at the hostel. For an average of 20 dollars they get a warm bed, a hot shower, and a warm breakfast. It makes perfect sense. And as long as they pay, it really shouldn't matter.

Room Tip: The beds are a little rickety. They won't collapse, but it's uncomfortable getting on and of...
See more room tips
  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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42 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    3 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    1.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    1.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    1.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    1.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    1.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (5)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
San Francisco, California
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 11, 2011

DO NOT stay here!!! They are not the cheapest hostel in town, and they are definitely the nastiest! I have stayed here MANY times, and I know a lot of how this business is ran. First, every room is infested with bedbugs, and they do not have a professional address the issue. If you stay here, check under the mattress. You WILL find bugs. Second, the owner will seize ANY opportunity to steal from you, lie to you, and yell at you to "Get OUT if you do not like it!", except with a lot more cursing. You can stay across the street at a different hostel for only $2 more a night. Obviously, the owner is committing tax evasion and tax fraud on a daily basis. If you prebook online, he may (in the middle of your stay) claim a mistake was made and raise your rent, offering flimsy excuses, etc. You can sit by the main desk downstairs and listen to the poor, abused employees field complaint after complaint from guests, and are powerless to do anything to help these guests. The owner also spends NO MONEY on the upkeep of the place: for example, none of the outlets on the third floor bathrooms work, and 50% of all of the rest of the outlets are broken too. The rooms usually stink REAL BAD; the employees try real hard, but you can't polish a turd. Two of the rooms on the third floor have leaky ceilings. They often overbook, and the employess dont have a proper living area or get paid often enough, so they have to sell their beds and sleep in the common room. (Don't get up in the night for a sip of water.) Also, if you are an attractive female, be especially warned- one of the employees can be often seen following the girls around, gawking at them when they leave the restrooms, and chatting them up, offering to take them to local bars, etc., the poor sad sack comes across as rather creepy- a definite mouth-breather.
I am not a former disgruntled employee, or a homeless local looking for a free ride. I have a good job, and have had to stay at these places until I found an apartment recently, so be warned!!!! Beware!!! Stay Away!!!!

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2011 via mobile

Wasnt as bad as people made it out to be. All the previous reviews of this peeping Tom, guy copying passport and credit numbers has now gone to jail. The staff were very helpful and nice people.

  • Stayed June 2011
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
San Francisco, California
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 20, 2010

This place is a hell hole, the operation is disgusting, staff is abusive, they assault guests,

PEEPING TOMS - I heard something in Fire Stairwell/Window Well - yep there he was - cruising the ladders and looking in windows

Staff dissappears, leaves with no warning - MENTAL ILLNESS RULES THE DAY

DO NOT GIVE DEPOSIT - they have no refund policy - they will screw you to the wall

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled solo
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 20, 2010

Imagine paying for a bed in a dorm room only to wake up with crazed,drug-addicted homeless people in the formerly empty beds because one of the staff left the gate open in the middle of the night {or worse snuck them in.} Bedbugs, dirty, stinking, stained blankets. No one on duty from 11P.M. until 8 A.M. Anything goes. Better lock up your valuables and hide your wallet. Long haired "JUNKIE" staff are criminals. They will lie, cheat and steal and I have been witness to it. When complaints are made to the owner of the business, he just says, "PROVE IT!"

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled solo
    • 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2010

Three of us stayed in the hostel for a total of nine days. It was the cheapest hostel in the area and had a great central location just two blocks from union square and the BART station. I have read a few bad reviews for this hostel but I believe they are a bit harsh. The guys who run the hostel are pretty disorganised and you often have to speak to a couple of them before anything gets done. However, it is only $30 a night for a single, which comes with a free breakfast consisting of muffins/doughnuts/buns/toast, and there is also free internet access on the three computers. If you are a student on a limited budget (as we were), or if you are only in the city for a few days then I would recommend this hostel. It has a great location close to a lot of the sights, and you can also rent bikes for the day at only $17. The next cheapest we found was $28! If you are going to be spending a lot of the day exploring the city and only using the hostel as a base in the evening then this is a good hostel. The rooms are pretty basic and theres not a huge amount of space but for backpackers its fine. If you are looking to spend a lot of time in the hostel then perhaps this is not for you.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2010

Maybe it was because I went into this place fearing the worst and with pretty low expectations but I really didnt think it was as bad as a lot of people have made out. Neither did the people I was staying with.
The location is pretty good if you ignore the fact that it is situated on a dirty back alley off one of the main roads and its far enough from the Tenderloin district for it to not really be an issue. Its also close to downtown SF and walking distance from the BART station on Powell Street. If you're feeling active you can rent bikes here at a pretty decent rate in comparison to the rather extortionate rates they charge in Fisherman's Wharf, etc and this is a great way to see San Francisco.
I had a decent bed and the bathrooms were all pretty clean and fully functioning so no complaints there. Also had 3 computers and wi-fi access. Common room was OK, some of the rooms even have TV with cable. I met some great people there and the staff were cool with us staying up till late, which was reflective of the laid back atmosphere in the hostel.
You will have to buy locks from one of the nearby shops if you want to use one of the lockers. Breakfast is nothing special. Granted the staff were slightly disorganised and might not be everyone's cup of tea at first glance, but they were characters to say the least and quite interesting guys once we got to know them.
You get what you pay for at the end of the day and for $30 a night in SF I don't think you can really go wrong.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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
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 Union Square Backpacker's Hostel

Address: 70 Derby Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
Location: United States > California > San Francisco
Hotel Style:
Ranked #39 of 47 Specialty Lodging in San Francisco
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 12
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Also Known As:
Union Square Backpacker`s Hotel San Francisco

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