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“Scenic & Rustic”

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HI Marin Headlands Hostel
Reviewed November 21, 2013

Decided to stay at another hostel which I had previously visited some years back, pre-9/11. I made my way through the SF rush hour, over the Golden Gate Bridge and up the long and winding road to the hostel. The building dates back almost 100 years and like most, if not all, federal park lands, signage abounds. As the roads are narrow and tortuous, attention must be paid to driving, especially when in the single-lane tunnel.

My first concern was upon arrival, when I noticed a sign next to the hostel building, declaring an area for staff parking only. Once checked in, I asked about unloading my car in that area, and was told it was "okay" to park there overnight.

I met Molly at the check in window. Pert, with a good sense of humor and great customer service skills, she help me navigate my way through what I thought would be a comfortable and restful night. She then mentioned that there were "school groups" staying over for a few nights, young kids, no more than 14 years of age. I was a bit skeptical about a quiet evening, but it was already dark, and becoming much colder at that altitude. The other problem was that there were but two vacant adult male bunks remaining, and both were uppers. And I am semi-disabled. But I made do.

Post-check in, I had a light dinner, pulled out my laptop and used the free WiFi. (Many of the HI Hostels now charge for using the house computer, starting at $2 minimum, cash, or $3 minimum for using a credit card.)

After a couple of hours, I placed my computer back in my car, and enjoyed the brisk air, redolent of woods and forest. Young people were scurrying around, laughing and shrieking. I as glad they had their own space. Cell phone signals were non-existent, and thus that contributed to everyone's stress, as I overheard more than one person lament the fact she could not get on Facebook. I made my way back to my room, closed the light and climbed the small ladder. I situated myself and was soon in slumberland, deaf to the outside noises of kids cavorting.

I slept well and in the morning was raring to get started. Until I got to the men's bathroom. The boys in the group were there, en masse, and it was a mess. Kids have no boundaries in certain situations, and this was one of those. The floors were a mess, toilets and urinals were... well, let's just say I have seen cleaner third world facilities. I cleaned up and decided to forgo breakfast, just to get out of there with some sanity left. I packed up my things and my car and made my way to the front desk.

A NOTE HERE: This hostel also offers lockers, free of charge. (The HI Hostel in Philadelphia at Chamounix charges.) But the bank of lockers is in the basement, with other accoutrements. Problem is, the sign on the door to the basement warning about its closure and reopening is hidden when the basement is open and accessible. Thus, I placed my things in a locker to which I had no access until a staff member ambled in the next morning, 10 minutes late. I asked for the door to be opened, which was cheerfully done, but I was up a full hour before I could start my day.

At the desk, I asked for a refund for that day/night, citing the kids there. Again, it was cheerfully given, with an apology for the ruckus. I have no problem with visiting groups, but it is always a balancing act: I need to know this ahead of time and the groups' chaperones need to exert more control. Such is life. I left for the parking lot, got into my car and took off into the crisp, Marin morning. I may go back there one day, but for now, I was heading into the heart of the city.

This hostel boasts one of the better kitchens for these types of places, and I have cooked there previously. Also, the common room is quite large, with many tables and, while privacy is always at a minimum, or even non-existent in such places, this hostel can be a comfortable place for a couple of nights in warmer weather.







I had booked for two nights, but the next morning, I asked for a refund, as

Room Tip: Phone ahead to ensure a bed reservation and to ask if any groups are visiting.
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  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled solo
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3  Thank Abie S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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50 - 56 of 98 reviews

Reviewed September 30, 2013

Spent the night between visiting Pt Reyes and Angel Island. Views are fantastic! I was lucky enough to have a fog free day. Hostel accommodations are simple and very affordable. You just have to keep in mind there are no restaurants nearby but you do have access to the hostel's kitchen and fridge. Fresh coffee is available in the morning.

Stayed: September 2013, traveled solo
1  Thank barfiemermaid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 26, 2013

There is ample cooking and storage space downstairs where you can prepare food with stainless large appliances and multiple refrigerators and cubbies. The living room is cozy and the common area always had a good vibe...except when the elementary school took over and it was so cramped that I couldn't find a place in the kitchen but that's the price of a community setting. I stay in the 6 to 8 bed women's dorm (don't remember exact number) just to the left across the hall as you walk up the stairs. The room was clean and I slept on my own linens. The bathroom was acceptable. Not five stars but it is an old building and I paid less than $20/night just outside San Francisco. There are multiple resources for information on the city, nature and the park and ways to get around.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled solo
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Thank Jessica S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 1, 2013

Recently had my wedding at the center for the arts which is a stones throw away. We rented out the Annex which was perfect for our wedding party and guests. Since most folks were coming from out of town, this location was great for them to see the Golden Gate, Muir woods and the City. Though its no four star hotel, the facility was clean, well kept and a joy to stay at. Definitely recommend staying there for those who are outdoorsy or looking for a good alternative.

  • Stayed: August 2013
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Thank DBarrel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 14, 2013

We were in a private room with shared bath in the Annex building. The hostel was clean, and quiet. Not just inside but outside as well. There were deer grazing right outside the door. If you have transportation, the hostel is very close to Sausalito also close to a small parking lot where you can park and walk the Golden Gate Bridge. There are a lot of hiking trails around the Headlands area as well as Muir Woods National Monument.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank JacMak
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 28, 2013

The location of this hostel is amazing! ... in the middle of the Headlands, a short walk from the beach and a stone's throw from bustling San Fransisco (a $2 bus ride away - as long as you get the times right).
The hostel itself is just great - big rooms - really well equipped shared kichen and living room/games room with big sofas, wifi etc. Pleanty of room for groups - there were a few different ones while we were there.
We stayed in a dorm of 8 - with big, solid bunk beds (some had noisy platic covered matrresses though :-( ). There was only one ladie's bathroom - but it seemed to work ok despite initial fears. The 4 showers are only separated by a shower curtain so it's not as private as you might like. Lots of hot water though and the hostel provides towels.

The staff were really friendly and the general atmosphere was really relaxed.
I was staying for a conference but would come back and book one of the double rooms in their annexes if I come back!

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled on business
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1  Thank Seallofapproval
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 11, 2013

In planning a trip to the San Francisco area, I wanted a location that would be convenient to the city as well as the Northern California coast. Marin Headlands Hostel was ideally situated. It is located in a national park, and if you climb up the hill behind it you are rewarded with a panoramic view of the bridge and ocean on one side and sweeping green hills on the other. It is about ten minutes to downtown Sausilito, a charming and overpriced seaside enclave, and 20 minutes to Muir Woods. While there, I saw deer and wild turkeys.

There were two separate buildings. One housed mostly dorm-style rooms, and the annex, where I stayed, had six private rooms and three bathrooms. I'm in my 50s, so for me staying in the shared dorm rooms was a little too communal. But the private room in the annex was a perfect solution, and to my surprise I met three other women around my age during my four night stay who were staying there as well. Beds were comfortable, and there was daily cleaning of the bathrooms and common areas, so everything was spotless. At $77 a night the room wasn't dirt cheap, but compared to other hotels in this high-priced area a real bargain.

Room Tip: Stay in the annex building for more privacy.
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled solo
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Thank Curlomatic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about HI Marin Headlands Hostel

Address: Building 941 at Fort Barry, Sausalito, CA 94965
Location: United States > California > Marin County > Sausalito
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in Sausalito
Price Range: $31 - $101 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2 star — HI Marin Headlands Hostel 2*
Number of rooms: 17
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
HI-Marin Headlands is your ticket to breathtaking ocean vistas and trails that lead to scenic beaches, forests, and rolling hills. Nestled in a wooded setting five minutes from the Golden Gate Bridge, HI-Marin Headlands provides low-cost accommodations in historic buildings in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Both shared and private rooms available, as well as a fully equipped guest kitchen, common room with woodstove and piano, game room, on-site laundry, and free parking. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hi Marin Headlands Hotel Sausalito

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