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HI Washington DC Hostel
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Reviewed November 5, 2012

Upon initial impression – this struck me as an old-school style hostel – that just hasn’t modernised itself or perhaps because it's the cheapest place in the whole city it just doesn’t give a damn.

Firstly the good stuff:
- breakfast was better than I expected, fresh bread, bagels, yogurt, cereals – but it gets busy quickly;
- location, so central & close to the metro - it can’t be beaten.
- 24hr reception - most places in DC will charge you an extra $20 for checking in after 10pm!! If you're arriving late from the airport - then this could be a cheap first night alternative.

Now - the not so good stuff:

– the rooms are tiny and are over-cramped with old bunk beds, yes there are some lockers available for each bed – but there is very little room to move.

-There is no airconditioning. I was in a 10-bed female dorm room on the 3rd floor – there were only two windows – that weren’t open and there was little ventilation – I can’t imagine what this place was like in the middle of summer.

- The wifi doesn’t work in the rooms – it can only be used downstairs in the lounge area

- The bathrooms are a mess. One bathroom (for each gender) on each floor (so 20-30 people for each) – with only three toilets and three showers – the latter of which didn’t have doors, but curtains – nowhere secure to leave you’re clothes while you were showering and certainly no privacy.

- lots of school groups - which depending on the school (or students) can either be very mature or just rabid...

- the price: $35/night for a bed in a 10-person dorm, you can find a B&B (if there are two or more of you) for not much more.

This is a great place to stay if you arrive with no expectations - but if you’ve spent any time in European/Australian hostels – then this place is a step back to 80’s and 90’s. No comfort – just the basics.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled solo
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1  Thank Travelling_Bilbury
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mark-GM, General Manager at HI Washington DC Hostel, responded to this reviewResponded February 19, 2013

Travelling_Bilbury: Thank you so much for your frank and honest comments. Honestly, it was a little difficult to take in, as all of us care a great deal about the hostel, and our hostellers in particular. I greatly appreciate the balance in your review.

Just as important, are your notes about how we can improve.
* It is not often that people find our 10-bed dorms to be cramped, but I am not familiar with hostels in Australia, for comparison. We are upgrading the beds from old, wood ones to new metal ones from Ikea. That should help somewhat.
* You are probably spot-on about the A/C. I have seen some other, similar comments on that front, and we need to get that up to scratch.
* The Wi-Fi is a tough one. We have asked travelers about Wi-Fi in the rooms, and it's a mixed bag. Lots of people want it, but plenty of others have noted that others keep them awake, either late at night or when someone would like to grab a nap during the day.
* Since your stay, we have put in changing areas for most of the showers. That will help with the privacy, but will not do much for your sense of security for your things. Sorry about that.
* Groups, like individuals, can help or hinder a fun time. You just never know...
* It is true that there are some inexpensive B&Bs in DC. The difference tends to be location. Anything near downtown, where we are, will be more expensive. Further afield, the prices you mention are in the range I have seen. Just be prepared to have multiple bus changes and / or a Metro ride. Each time, that's money out of your pocket -- easily $2 per ride. For two (2) people going to and from downtown during the day, and to and from the nightlife, that translates to $16. Not really a deal any more.

I hope you find this useful. ~ Mark Schneider, HI-DC General Manager

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Reviewed November 4, 2012 via mobile

For a cheap place to stay in an expensive American city, HI DC meets all the basics. It's nothing amazing but has everything you need for a comfortable stay. Decent rooms, showers with hot water, free breakfast, wifi and locker storage.

Compared to other HIs in the US, the staff was great here - very friendly and helpful. Emily was amazing at the front desk and had some stellar advice. The breakfast was pretty standard as far as big hostels go, but we've had much better at Other HIs. The kitchen and dishes situation could be improved. Rooms are adequate but not the greatest - small and very sparse but they do the job. Good common areas and the location is very central.

Overall, a good value if you know what to expect!

  • Stayed: November 2012
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1  Thank MeagAlayne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mark-GM, General Manager at HI Washington DC Hostel, responded to this reviewResponded February 19, 2013

MeagAlayne: Thanks for sharing your experience! Your review was fair, and thank you for the kind words about the team. Emily is truly a gem! Since you stayed, we have added granola and yogurt to the breakfast, rounding things out a bit. Also, the Kitchen renovation is about done...with a new dishwasher! ~ Mark Schneider, HI-DC General Manager

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Reviewed October 22, 2012 via mobile

If you're used to HI hostels, this is pretty standard. Staff are friendly and welcoming and hostel has lots of activities on offer, should you choose to take them up.

Good value compared to other prices in DC but not the cheapest HI I have stayed in.

Rooms are ok but AC wasn't working in our room so very warm as window only opens a fraction. AC in communal areas was working though. Beds not that comfty but it's a HI hostel, they're never the best.

Bathrooms basic but clean and lots of hot water.

It's the staff and activities that really make a HI experience and this hostel meets those expectations. The hostel it's self is a bit tired though and could do with a bit or TLC to make it a more rounded and fully enjoyable stay.

  • Stayed: September 2012
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Thank miniffer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mark-GM, General Manager at HI Washington DC Hostel, responded to this reviewResponded February 19, 2013

miniffer: You certainly appear to be a seasoned traveler. HI has some fabulous hostels out there, but I was hoping to be more toward the upper end of the spectrum. :-) In any event, I agree that the staff can make-or-break the experience. It's nice to read that we did well on that front. I have have noticed a couple of comments about the climate control, so there must be an issue. I will have it looked into. We do have a couple of areas that could use some freshening up, like the floors in the 1st Floor. We just replaced all of the leather club chairs in the TV Room, and the Kitchen renovation is due to finish. That should help things a bit! ~ Mark Schneider, HI-DC General Manager

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Reviewed October 22, 2012

My stay at the hostel was ok. It was neither outstandingly good nor bad. The shared dorm I stayed in was very small and there seemed to be an issue with the air con (or possibly a guest who kept turning it off in the night) The kitchen was large and clean so was nice to cook in. The breakfast was also good. All in all I would say that my experience was very average, I have no overwhelming good or bad feelings about the hostel and yes I would stay again but I would consider a smaller or private room after the air conditioner issues/

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank bowsera
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mark-GM, General Manager at HI Washington DC Hostel, responded to this reviewResponded February 19, 2013

bowsera: I'm sorry we didn't light your fire with a great experience. We really want to be an integral part of a great stay. Not sure what the issue was with the climate control, but we do check them weekly during our room inspection. I will be sure to have the Maintenance Team to do a thorough check, in case something was wrong with the unit. Thanks for sharing! ~ Mark Schneider, HI-DC General Manager

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Reviewed October 20, 2012

Not enough plug sockets in my dorm room, but everything is kept very clean, the rooms are spacious & there are plenty of social areas. Also a great choice of items for the free breakfast & a couple of well-stocked vending machines for when you get peckish.

In a great location close to a metro station & easy to get to all the main sights. I would stay here again.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled solo
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Thank lrnnnn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mark-GM, General Manager at HI Washington DC Hostel, responded to this reviewResponded February 19, 2013

Irnnnn: Short, concise...and accurate! Thanks! Oh, about the outlets in the dorm rooms. We are in the process of installing bed lamps for each bed, and each lamp has two (2) plugs. That should help! ~ Mark Schneider, HI-DC General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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