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“Not bad, not great.” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Hostelling International Seattle at American Hotel

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Hostelling International Seattle at American Hotel
520 South King Street, Seattle, WA 98104-2834 (Formerly American Hotel) (Downtown)   |  
Hotel amenities
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Not bad, not great.”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 10, 2013 via mobile

This hostel has some of the most unfriendly and unhelpful staff ive come across in a HI hostel.
I asked a girl for directions, she didnt even look up from the computer screen and said 'go left'. I walked off because i figured id have more luck with a map. They also seemed as though they really didnt want to be there.

The wifi at this place is shocking. Dont count on it to check into flights or skype.
I stayed in a 4 bed dorm with decent sized lockers. The bathrooms were across the hall although there was only 2 showers, one of which was located in the toilet block with only a shower curtain for privacy. I showered there and had a woman open the curtain on me... The hooks were also on the outside of the curtain so you had to lean out to get your towel and clothes.....
The other shower was located with a single toilet. The privacy of that was good although when you lock the door, there is no indication that it is locked from the outside so people would often try and walk in while i was in there. A mini heart attack each time. An 'occupied' lock might be good to invest in.
The last downside was our door to our room. It was... Broken. You swiped the key to get in and it would unlock but the door wouldnt open. It was a game of luck every time you wanted to get in or out. Very annoying if someone is coming home late trying to get in but has to keep pushing and jiggilling the door handle.

The area this hostel is in was not good. Its in chinatown and its sketchy as hell. So many druggies and homeless people who harrass you. Constantly asking for money and ciggarettes. It is bad day and night. I often crossed the street to avoid large gangs dealing drugs, i even saw a guy smoking a crack pipe at 6pm in daylight. Front desk staff tried to down play the sketchiness of the area, but we knew locals from seattle who were shocked that we were staying in that area.

I dont have any plans to come back to seattle but if i did i probably wouldnt stay at this hostel.

  • Stayed July 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Larry L, General Manager at Hostelling International Seattle at American Hotel, responded to this review, July 15, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to point out your less than satisfactory experience. I am working with all staff regarding you comment about customer service. Please accept my apologies for your experience. We are working on all fronts to improve. Especially the safety and security of the neighborhood. Travel safe and best of luck.
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137 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 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 (25)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 27, 2013

Stayed here twice as it was the only available hostel as I booked late. Turned out to be ok. Good facilities and met some great people here. Just a bit far from downtown if you want to go out at night.

  • Stayed June 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Larry L, General Manager at Hostelling International Seattle at American Hotel, responded to this review, June 28, 2013
Deb B, Thanks so much for the endorsement! Come back and travle safe.
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Redwood City, California
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 24, 2013

Being a budget traveler, I have searched the net for the most budget-friendly, but still is a good value-for-money lodging for my 4d/3n Seattle Adventure. I'm glad I stayed at HI-Seattle!

PROS:

1. Accessible Location
From the airport, I just have to ride the Central Link Light Rail from SeaTac International Airport to International District/Chinatown station. This ride costs $2.75 one way. And from the International District/Chinatown station, I just have to cross 5th Ave along S. King Street and walk like a block, and voila! There is the entrance to HI-Seattle. You just have to look at the east side windows for the sign because they don't have a big, flashy sign outside (almost missed it the first time I came, but miraculously, I was just standing in front of it when I was trying to figure out if I have passed by it by chance! Lol). Aside from this, it is also near bus and Amtrack stations.
If you like walking as much as I do, then HI -Seattle is a good 30 or so minutes walk going to many of Seattle's go-to places, such as the waterfront, Pike Place Market, and retail center, among others.

2. Adequate-to-good facilities
One of the main concerns I have in staying at a hostel is having to share the facilities, especially the bath and toilet, to other people. But I didn't have any problem with this at HI-Seattle. They have adequate number of WCs each floor so guests don't have to wait much for their turn. I didn't expect it, but they also provide hair/body wash in a dispenser container. Water temperature and pressure is good and relaxing.
The bed is good -- not too firm, not too soft. They provide linens and you'll also have your own reading light, fan, and plug-in area.
Their kitchen and dining area are also spacious enough and they have a wide range of kitchen utensils and equipment for those who want to cook their meals. You can also store your food in the walk-in pantry or the refrigerator (just make sure to label them). Free water, coffee, and tea all day is a plus. Whenever I leave for my day trip, I just refill my water bottle from there so that's one expense I can take off from my list.
I also had to print my 2-page voucher as I forgot to print them before I left, and I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't have to pay anything for it!
They also provide luggage storage (for a fee), which is super helpful if you came in Seattle waaay before check-in time; your flight back home is after check-out time; or you just have extra set of luggage you don't want to bring with you to the room.

3. Friendly Staff
Always a plus to have warm, welcoming faces to greet you in an unfamiliar place! During breakfast, there is also a concierge in the dining area, whom you can approach to ask for all sorts of travel advise and recommendations in the area.


CONS:

1. Inconsistent WiFi
Sadly, the WiFi is not very reliable. It goes on and off and on and off and on and off...But if you are just needing to quickly check your email or FB or search something on the net, then you can also avail of their FREE 15-minute computer/internet access that they offer.

2. Neighborhood
I won't go as far as saying that the neighborhood is sketchy or not safe, because I didn't feel this way during my stay. In fact, whenever my day trip ends at around 9 pm (still light outside anyway) -- I just walk back to the hostel. Then again, every traveler should know how to exercise caution and common sense wherever they are.
Yes, there are many homeless in the area, but they don't usually bother anyone. Sometimes, they will just ask if you have a change. You can just say, "sorry, I don't have any", and continue your walk.
ANYHOOS, the REASON, that I put neighborhood in the CONS area is that during late evenings, it could get loud outside. There is a bar one block away and I can here the noise from outside when I'm trying to sleep. (And I'm on the 4th floor).


OVER-ALL: I would RECOMMEND this place, especially for budget-travelers. They have a good location, near public transportation stations/stops; walking distance to many of the go-to-places in Seattle; comes with free breakfast; adequate-to-good facilities; and friendly and accommodating staff.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Larry L, General Manager at Hostelling International Seattle at American Hotel, responded to this review, June 28, 2013
Jostine,

Thanks so much for the kind comments. Come again and travel safe.
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Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 19, 2013

Overall I had a good experience, using the hostel to add on two nights holiday to a work trip made an affordable and friendly way to enjoy the city. The best thing was the beds: solid frame meant no wobbling whilst moving to/around top bunk and good mattress made for a good night's sleep - most important! Close to the transport tunnel (buses around town plus light train to airport in one tunnel - innovative!) which made me feel easier about walking on my own in evenings. Good kitchen. Friendly staff. Lots of info. Much nicer than being in a lonely hotel! People actually chat to each other. Thank you

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Larry L, General Manager at Hostelling International Seattle at American Hotel, responded to this review, June 28, 2013
Becky, Thanks so much for the kind comments. We appreciate you patronage and interest. Travel safe.
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Plano, Texas
Top Contributor
111 reviews 111 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 19, 2013

This hostel is in a great location in Chinatown in terms of transit, and proximity to sporting events. Beware! This hostel is located in Chinatown, and with this location comes a large number of vagrants, beggars, and drug users. This hostel is not ideal for anyone that has their own car for parking is hard to come by and costs upwards to $13USD per day. However, if you have a zip car account, there is a zip car drop off located directly in front of the hostel. Now, for the hostel itself. The hostel is four stories, with reception on the second floor. Warning: if you have a lot of luggage, you need to ask reception for elevator access for they restrict the use of it to persons with disabilities. There is a luggage storage and bicycle storage in the basement if you have excess property. The access is limited to staff. This is a HI property so if you are a member, you save $3 per night on your stay. The hostel boasts a full service kitchen, large common room, TV room, internet room with a couple computers and a printer, a foosball table, laundry facilities, $2 per load, and somewhat of a quiet room with a large table and chairs. There are three stove tops, two ovens, one large refrigerator, one small freezer, a food storage pantry, ice and water dispenser, full array of kitchen utensils, and adequate seating areas. Several plugin areas for you to charge up your devices in the common room, although, some of them appear to be hidden for the fact they blend in with faux walls under the seating. There are two wi-fi access points, both of which were poor and inconsistent which caused a great deal of frustration for many. The reception area has a good amount of maps and recommended tours, events, and routes. The staff is very helpful and straightforward on what their opinion is on particular sites. i.e. space needle $21 for a view! Beautiful view, but not worth $21. The rooms are basic sized and come equipped with two sets of bunk beds, all with their own reading lamp, fan, and additional power outlets. All linens are provided, towels available at the front desk. The room also has lockers for you to place your belongings in but requires a lock. If you do not have your own lock, one can be rented at reception for about $5, with a deposit. There are also day lockers available for use for a small deposit in the laundry room. The wc's are decent and kept relatively clean for the most part. The shower has decent room, includes a soap dispenser and the shower head one of the overhead variety, (rain shower). Small vanity with a sink, (water splashing on yourself is almost unavoidable). The hostel also boasts two vending machines, (cash only), phone card station, and a courtesy telephone. On different days, the hostel hosts pancake dinners, fresh baked cookie night, and movie night with popcorn provided. Breakfast is served from 6am to 9am and consists of coffee and tea, (which is available all day), various breads and bagels, oranges, bananas, and oatmeal. The hostel provides butter, jams, peanut butter, and cream cheese. They utilize a large chalkboard at reception that lists different activities that are going on around the area such as pubcrawls, tours, etc. The area is a little different from most. Many restaurants are within walking distance, however, be mindful of the time since many of them have the tendency to close relatively early. Their is an asian grocery store a block from the hostel where many people purchase their food for their stay. This place charges for bags, so you can save yourself 5 cents if you bring your own. If you fly in, you can take the light rail from the airport and get off at International District/Chinatown for approximately $2.75. It takes about 30 minutes or so to get there but a money saver. The station is less than 100 meters from the hostel. The transit station here serves the light rail and several bus lines that will take you anywhere you need in the city. The amtrak station is a block and half away as well. Overall this is nice place to stay as far as hostels go the biggest drawback is dealing with vagrants and bums along the way to and from. I would advise you to not walk alone if you are female, and if you are willing to, carry a knife with you regardless of sex. A lot of drug users are in the area so be mindful. Witnessed people using drugs just outside the entrance of the hostel. Plus side in the evening, Seattle Police Department likes to use the parking lot across from the hostel to chat and park their vehicles while they walk and patrol the block. I was somewhat comfortable leaving my vehicle parked on the street and in the lot. Was unhappy about the prices though. Street parking is limited to 2 hours and costs $4 for the max time, the parking lot across the street has an early-bird special if you are in by 1030 you pay $10 and have to be out by 6pm. Does not include tax though, which brings the cost to about $12.50 a day. I would recommend this place to other travelers even with the vagrant issues.

Room Tip: There are no room options other than four bunk rooms with the exception of, I believe 2 6 person dor...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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.
Larry L, General Manager at Hostelling International Seattle at American Hotel, responded to this review, June 28, 2013
This is a wonderful review full of good info. However, I must disagree with one major suggestion. It is completely unecessarry to carry a knife for personal protection. Our neighborhood is quite safe and patrolled by Seattles finest almost every day. Experienced travelers understand large metropolitan cities require a knowledge of where you are and common sense when you walk the streets. NYC, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston or Atlanta all have an unsavory element here and there. We are no different. We host over 30 thousand guests per year and have yet to lose one! Thanks again for the terrific reveiw.
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Chur, Switzerland
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 12, 2013 via mobile

Nice staff, nice rooms, clean showers.
Neighborhood doesn't make the safest impression. It gets super bright in the morning which makes sleeping longer than to 5am impossible without eyeshades. Wifi keeps getting disconntected.

  • Stayed June 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Larry L, General Manager at Hostelling International Seattle at American Hotel, responded to this review, June 17, 2013
Irene, Thanks for the observations. Although we have spent dearly for our Wi Fi connection, our concrete building does cause Wi Fi disruption. We have lots of bandwidth but it bounces off the concrete and causes interuptions. Our apologies for the less than sterling reception. Cheers and travel safe.
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Vancouver, Canada
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 10, 2013

Stayed here for 1 night - and found to be just perfect. Been a few years since stayed at a hostel so was slightly curious to see what it would be like.

Rooms were plenty spacious, bright and totally immaculate. Housekeeping (in bathrooms too) was excellent. Beds comfortable and had small fan by each bed which I thought a nice touch on those hot summer nights.

Shared areas were spacious, well maintained and felt very comfortable and safe. Front desk staff friendly and helpful and answered questions very well regading places to eat, directions etc.

In terms of location - perfect. Walking distance to Baseball and Football/soccer stadiums so perfect if coming into town for that (which we were). Plus advantage of also being close to the nightlfe and attractions of Pioneer Square - a short walk from the hostel Have stayed in the more central, pure downtown hotels before and found the area to be souless and spartan - especially on weekends. Much better to stay where the YHA is - has some life, plus advantage of some great Asian cheap eats in Chinatown. and still easy walking distance to all the major downtown attractions.

in a nutshell - would totally reccomend a stay here to many kinds of traveller - not just backpackers. Felt totally comfortable, safe, and welcome at all times. Have paid an awful lot more more money for Seattle hotels in the past, for a far inferior accomodation product.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Larry L, General Manager at Hostelling International Seattle at American Hotel, responded to this review, June 17, 2013
Tom, Many thanks for the kind comments and observations. We appreciate it and your patronage. Travel safe!
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Additional Information about Hostelling International Seattle at American Hotel

Address: 520 South King Street, Seattle, WA 98104-2834 (Formerly American Hotel)
Location: United States > Washington > Seattle > Downtown , International District
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 13 Specialty lodging in Seattle
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hostelling International Seattle, Seattle’s premier hostel, which is conveniently located at the historic American Hotel in the International District of downtown Seattle.Renovated in 2009, Bicycle rentals, Common rooms, Computers (to check e-mail and the web, print boarding passes, etc.),Credit cards accepted,Discounts to Seattle attractions,Grocery store (one-block away), kitchen (self-serve), laundry, & library/game room. ... more   less 
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