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“Clean hostel, excellent location!! But the staff, ummm..” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Hostelling International Waikiki

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Hostelling International Waikiki
2417 Prince Edward Street, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96815 (Waikiki)   |  
Hotel amenities
Vancouver, Canada
12 reviews 12 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Clean hostel, excellent location!! But the staff, ummm..”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago

My expectations were pretty high after staying in HI in San Francisco, but this experience was nothing like it. I advertised my arrival at 11pm, and when I got there, the guy at the desk made it clear that it bothered him that I was checking in that late, even though the reception was open till midnight. They lost my reservation, even though I already payed a deposit and wrote a re-confirmation email. They opened a new room for me, which was nice, but someone kept coming in and using the toilet and the shower all throughout my stay, even at times like 3am, which was a bit creepy! You can't open or close the windows all the way, so it gets really chilly at night and quite hot during the day, and there's a lot of noise from the outside. The next day I asked for a map, they didn't have any!! All the staff were totally clueless and annoyed when you asked something, except for the housekeeping girl, who was really nice. They don't advertise that breakfast is included at the moment, but when I made the booking they sure did, so I was quite disappointed, as well as other guests staying there that I talked to about it.
Plus side of this hostel is it's location - 2min walk from the Waikiki beach, you have all the shops, bus stops and shuttle pickup to take you to various activities within a 5min walk. Also you have the Food pantry - a big supermarket a couple of blocks away, but it's quite expensive, some food and especially water is much cheaper at the ABC stores! If you need a map of the area, there are stands with several brochures right on the Waikiki strip, most of them have a map inside!
The hostel itself is very clean, including the kitchen and common areas. Wifi is not in the room, you have to go downstairs, which is annoying at times, but makes you interact with other travellers. Linen is provided, towels are not.
Overall, it wasn't a really bad experience, maybe I'd stay again, at least knowing what I'm getting into. But I guess you're in Hawaii, so sometimes you just have to hang loose and go with it..

  • Stayed December 2014, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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155 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
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Dresden, Germany
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 22, 2014

This Hostel is in walking distance (3 min!) to Waikiki Beach. On the way you're passind some abc stores where you can grap some beers and other stuff. You also have a shop just on the other side of the road, where you can lend you surfboard :).

rooms: we had a ensuite private room, which was clean and ok. Maybe a little bit to small and the garbage truck who has made his work exact 7:30 a.m. was a little bit annoying, but so we had at least a individual wake up call from the truck (MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP ;-) ). So in total, the room was ok.
The Kitchen was a in good shape and they had a lot of kitchen utensils.

staff: friendly and helpful! Just ask them and you will get ideas for a tour or helpfull advise. They also have some beach stuff for free rental (f.e. beach mats, body boards).

So in total, we found that the yha is a nice place to stay!
And now: Go surfing! :-)

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
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London, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 19, 2014

HI Waikiki is in one of the best locations on the island for travellers. It is a 5 minute walk to Waikiki Beach and Waikiki's surfing and water attractions and a 2 minute walk to restaurants and bars, markets and shopping malls, vehicle rentals etc.
If you have booked trips such as Boat trips, dives or mountain adventures, the pick up point for the coach shuttle is only 1 block away.
The Hostel staff are friendly and welcoming and always made themselves available to help, provide maps or draw directions. The Hostel also offers free sporting equipment, goggles, balls etc. for use by all visitors. The lounge is fairly small however the rooms a lot bigger than other hostels we stayed at on our travels across the States - and of course Wifi available throughout the hostel.
I would highly recommend to all, especially travellers under 30.

  • Stayed August 2014, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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London, United Kingdom
18 reviews 18 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 8, 2014

So this place is by no means good but it might be your best bet for the price.

Bad points:

Staff - The staff initially seem quite rude, there is little effort to welcome you or include you in anything. No maps of the area no info on what to see or do. (Please see good point below though).

Atmosphere - There is no socialising and they even lock the dingy common room super early. There is no fan in there either so it's uncomfortably hot in there anyway. I have no idea why but even the windows are screwed shut!!! There is a strange mix of people (I had a super old age pensioner in my room... Were talking 90s!, and a large woman with sleep apnea who wore a scary looking mask all night). Not the kind of crowd I expected.

Cleanliness - the place is pretty horrible, it needs a massive redesign which means even when it is clean it looks dingy. Owner doesn't seem bothered about making it a pleasant stay just so long as he gets his money.

Good points:

After a while you realise some of the staff are gems they're just a bit gloomy because they have to work in a hostel with no life to it. I bet if the owner could undo his death grip on some cash it could be a great place. It would be so good if the common room was better or there were BBQ nights or SOMETHING to pump it back to life.

One member Rocco was fantastic; he was happy to personally show us all the cool places in town and it made the hostel worth staying in. (All three stars are because of him!)

All the hostels in waikiki are pretty dingy and taking the location into consideration it might be your best bet to stay in. Only one corner away from the beach, if you treat it as a place to rest your head only you'll be fine.

Stayed September 2014, traveled solo
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Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 27, 2014

I recently spent a week at this hostel and was sadly disappointed. It was disgustingly dirty and the staff didn't care about the place one little bit.

The good:
1. The location is about as good as you can get without being right on the beach. Less than 5 minutes from the beach, high end shopping/restaurants and discount shopping/restaurants.

2. It's cheap.

The bad:
1. It's filthy. Disgustingly filthy. The floor in my room wasn't swept or mopped once during my stay. There was sand all over the floor for my entire stay. The bath mats were gross, the shower curtain looked like it had been cleaned or replaced in a year. There was black mould in the shower.

I was in my room when the guy came to clean it. He didn't bother to ask if I minded if he cleaned when I was there. He spent all of 5 minutes cleaning 2 rooms for 6 guys and a washroom. HE DIDNT BOTHER TO SWEEP THE FILTHY FLOOR! Obviously he never mopped it either. That was ok because the mop was filthy and he didn't bring a bucket.

2. The staff, while friendly enough, is clueless. They don't seem to know or care about anything. If you ask for directions they seem lost, if you ask for restaurant recommendations they have no idea. Some of the staff seem to be permanent residence of the hostel and they seem to have no clue on what's going on. Someone will charge you for something, the next guy says don't worry about it.

They post events on the door but no one meets you to take you there. Mostly they are bars with happy hours in case you want to go on your own or with your friends.

3. Security is poor. The doors are paper thin and would give way with a good shove.

There are 6 small lockers in 2 adjoining rooms, most of them are bent or broken and fingers could slip through if they wanted. I had the top locker and you could lift the top off far enough that you could easily pry it off if you wanted.

At one point all my room mates had left and I was standing alone in my underwear when a guy I had never seen before walks in and goes to use the washroom. I had to ask him what he was doing. He said he lived upstairs and that he used this bathroom all the time. I was never informed that a non roommate would have access to my room.

Random people seem to get keys to your dorm. Including the people who live there. Travellers who stay the day are given a key to a random room just prior to their departure so they can shower. This would be an ideal time for them to grab your stuff and you would't know till they where gone, you might not have know there was someone in there and you would end up blaming your roommates.

4. There's no air conditioning, no screens on the windows. No way to shut the windows even if you wanted to. If you want a cross breeze you have to open the curtains and allow people to look into your room. There's a fan in each room with disgusting black garbage caked on it. There is noise day and night so bring ear plugs. Morning garbage pick ups are particularly brutal.

5. The common room is hot and the furniture looks like it's been there since the 70s. The kitchen is limited and dirty. No breakfast. There isn't even a fan in that room. Many people hang out on the balcony/walkway just to get some relief.

Overall this is a filthy, filthy hostel in an incredible location with a staff that thinks their customers are happier with low prices than clean rooms and good service. Personally I would rather pay a few more dollars to see my room professionally cleaned every day.

However if you want a cheap place to stay in a good location and don't care about black mould, filthy rooms and clueless staff than this is the place for you.

You can tell how little the staff care about their customers by the response to any negative reviews opted here. Read them, instead of apologizing to the unhappy customer they insult them. Saying they don't know what they are talking about. This attitude of the customer is never right permeates the entire staff.

For clarity sake; I have stayed at lots of hostels, Air b & b's, apartment rentals etc. I just wrote a glowing review on a USA Hostel I just stayed at. I was a professional musician and stayed at places just as gross as this one, of course in those cases someone payed me to do it. I write a variety of reviews good and bad. I know what to expect from a hostel.

The fact that I stayed there for a week is a confirmation that I'm not that finicky, I stayed there for it's other attributes, it location and it's price.

Trust me when I say. When I say This place is filthy it's disgustingly filthy.

  • Stayed September 2014, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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Manager_HI_Waikiki, Manager at Hostelling International Waikiki, responded to this review, September 29, 2014
Aloha Jason,

Thanks for taking the time to write a thorough review, I wish you would have addressed these issues with me directly during your 7 night stay. I will definitely address cleanliness issues with my cleaning staff, but I wanted to write about some other things for the benefit of those who use Trip Advisor to decide if they want to stay here.

1. Our cleaning staff cleans from 10-2pm and our check in slide show asks guests kindly to not be in the room while they clean. Cleanliness of the room can vary, especially since you're sharing it with 5 other people who may not have the same standards as you. I wish people would rinse off the sand before coming back to the hostel as it affects our plumbing and I wish guests would not leave their belongings scattered throughout the floor, but unfortunately this is tough to control and comes with sharing space.

2. Occasionally we have new staff who are not completely familiar with the area, but I do ask all staff to have food suggestions as well as use google transit to help guests with directions. In addition, we regularly update notebooks with good happy hours, free activities around the area, and cheap eats. Some of our staff plan impromptu hiking trips or bar hops, but we do not have a regular set of guided activities unless we have an activities coordinator. Sounds like you got "hooked up" with some free stuff that you should have been charged for, I will inform staff that it is not worth hooking people up as they typically get upset as you did when another staff member tries to follow our policies and charge you.

3. Our hostel is gated entry, so you need a key to get in the property as well as in your room. I don't agree that our doors are "paper thin." Unfortunately some previous guests have broken some lockers, but we have plenty of lockers in rooms, office and storage. We have staff quarters in dorm rooms, its how we run our hostel, as well as new guests going into rooms daily, so I'm not sure why you felt this was a security issue. "Random people" do not get access to rooms only our staff and guests.

4. That's right we dont have A/C, none of our websites state we have A/C, so if A/C is important we suggest staying at a hotel with more amenities. Yes there are no screens on the windows, but the windows do shut, though most guests keep them open to get a breeze. Yes Waikiki is noisy, earplugs are suggested for light sleepers.

5. We do not offer breakfast nor do we state that we offer free breakfast anywhere. If you prefer to pay more somewhere else to get "free breakfast" we recommend it. Yes our furniture is old.

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Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 17, 2014

In the heart of Waikiki, just a 2 minute walk from waikiki beach, and 5-10 minutes to the shopping streets. Restaurants and board rentals everywhere! You will not get bored.

The staff are so nice and friendly. Some of them even takes guests out for hikes. So you really get your moneys worth. The rooms and bathrooms are cleaned everyday, or every other day, so I found the place quite clean. Free wifi in the common area, where you can stay from 7am until midnight. A very laid back and relaxed atmosphere.

Minus : The mattresses are covered in plastic under the sheets, so it's slightly uncomfortable to sleep on. The garbage trucks are horrible to listen to if you want to sleep past 7:30.

All in all, a very nice place to stay at while visiting waikiki.

  • Stayed September 2014, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kobe, Japan
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2014

I stayed at the HI Waikiki for 3 days.

Let me start with the good:

The location ! Right one block off the beach. Around the corner of the hostel you can rent surfboards, paddle boards for as low as 15 USD a day.

Now the bad:

Customer service at this hostel is pretty much non existent. It does not follow the standards of the HI brand. Hardly any of the staff has a clue of what to do. Most of them are new and inexperienced. I found the rooms and beds dirty at all time.

Overall, next time I will not chose this place.

Room Tip: just don't book this hostel
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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Manager_HI_Waikiki, Manager at Hostelling International Waikiki, responded to this review, September 2, 2014
Our rooms are cleaned daily by paid housekeeping staff. Sometimes we hire new staff that may not be 100% familiar with the area, but the love Hawaii, like to have fun, & love to help our guests book tours pick a restaurant, go on a hike, etc. If you're there to have a good time just ask Rocko, Art, Brian, or Cody what cool stuff there is to do and you never know they may take you on a cool hike or to a cool beach, just check out our FB page!
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Additional Information about Hostelling International Waikiki

Address: 2417 Prince Edward Street, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96815
Location: United States > Hawaii > Oahu > Honolulu > Waikiki
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi )
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 47 Specialty Lodging in Honolulu
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 58
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Aloha, we host all kinds of short term travelers like around the world backpackers, gap year travelers, airline & cruise ship employees, students, families & single travelers. Thanks for considering HI Waikiki! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hostelling International Waikiki Hotel Honolulu
Hostelling International Waikiki Hawaii/Honolulu

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