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“"THE HORROR, ITS' WORSE THAN THE MOVIE, ["HOSTEL"].” 1 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
San Francisco, California
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“"THE HORROR, ITS' WORSE THAN THE MOVIE, ["HOSTEL"].”
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.
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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
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
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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
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Barcelona
1 review
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 5, 2010

Nobody that stayed liked it. It was increadibly bad.

  • Stayed August 2009, 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
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Manchester
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2009

We turned up on a saturday afternoon having booked a private double bedroom. We were told that we'd rang the previous night to cancel the booking so they no longer had our private room.
We were offered a double bed to share with others which we took up the offer in case we couldn't find anywhere else. The room was filthy, with dirty tissues behind the beds.
We spent an hour or so looking for other hotels and ended up paying $218 for a room at the hilton as they were the only ones who had a private room nearby.
On a positive, the gentleman on reception was empathetic and allowed me to have a refund which i am grateful for.
I wouldn't recommend this place to anyone.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alexandria, Virginia
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 24, 2009

Despite what everyone else has written about this hostel, it isn't the worst place I've ever stayed. I was able to get a room here at the last minute and probably wouldn't say here unless I found myself in the same situation again, but don't let that discourage you from staying here. The people that work here are pretty unorganized, the reception guy was giving me change out of his wallet, I'm pretty sure that isn't how it was supposed to work. The rooms were basic, I stayed in a 6 person dorm but it was quite spacious. Each floor had 2 toilets and showers, however not every shower was working so there was a slight wait in the morning unless of course you got up early. The common room was small but it did contain 3 computers with internet, cable TV, along with a kitchen. Breakfast was offered in the AM and consisted of muffins and coffee, quite basic but was enough to get you going. Can't complain about the location; a few blocks from the BART and surrounded by a plethora of restaurants and bars, all of which were suprisingly inexpensive.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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San Francisco
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2009

Everything the other reviewers say is true. The three-man staff remains insane, sullen, and hostile. The place is loaded with bed bugs. The owner/magager is forever in the shadows but never there. The bathrooms are a patch work of taped garbage bags and electrical cords running on the floor. The matresses sag. The sheets are thread worn. The rooms cold. Its awful. I was tired when I checked in. But after four days at the place, I think of the whole experience as a personal failure of my traveling skills. I made the mistake of booking a week in advance. Ug. The bugs really dug in on the second night. For the little time I spent there, day three and four became a series of failed negotiations with the staff at the asylum. So far I've found it impossible to get even a partial refund to check out early. Definitely a life lesson to look before you book. I'm not staying another night, even if I can't get the refund. Dialog at the front desk went something like this.
"What, you have bed bugs in your room?"
"Yeah. What can you do about checking me out early?"
"Oh I don't know about that. Are they fresh?"
"Yep."
"You have bedbugs in your room?"
"Yep."
"You have bed . . . bugs?"
"Yeah. I'm bitten all over. I want to leave. What kind of refund can you get me?"
"So you've been bitten?"
"Yes. All over my chest and back and on my face. Along the jaw line."
Another staffer walks up to the desk.
The desk clerk turns to him, "This guy says he's been bitten by bed bugs in room four."
The second staffer doesn't miss a beat.
"Are they fresh?"
Oh my God. I booked a week for $250. I've traveled in China, Mexico, Central America, and Europe. I've stayed at some randy places with lots of charm, but this place combines all the worst features that in other places are just bumps in the road. Not a bump, this place is a hole. They bumped me to another room without bugs, I think, but the place still gives me the skeeves and the vibe from the staff is all wrong. It should have been easy to have followed my instincts on this little travesty. I can't let myself stay. I'll have to sort out the money thing later.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled on business
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
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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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