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“Bad start but Good overall”

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Banana Bungalow West Hollywood
Certificate of Excellence
Swansea, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
27 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Bad start but Good overall”
Reviewed September 26, 2008

I booked into this hostel for 2 nights. I requested a female only dorm. One big reason I picked this hostel was that they have a free airport shuttle that takes you to hostel at certain times, which fitted with my flight arrival. I had previously rung the hostel to book a space on this shuttle and was advised that it was not running on that day but if I got a receipt they would re-imburse me the cost.

On arrival I was told that they would not re-imburse me as tthey only do that for people staying 4nights or more (something i was not told over the phone). Also I was told that they do not have any female only dorms, so i was in a co-ed.

The rooms themselves are partitioned in 2, with 3 bunk beds in each, and just one bathroom. The bunk beds are metal frame and a tad wobbley when climbing up to the top, but a good nights sleep. Also, in my room, there was only 2 moveable ladders between 3 beds! No air-con either!

Despite all this, I had an enjoyable stay. The hostel is in a reasonable location, bus ride from Hollywood, 50mins bus from Venice/Santa Monica Beach, round the cormer from shopping on Melrose Ave and a few blocks walk from the world famous farmer's market. There are a few takeaways and minimart nearby. Also a few nice bars/clubs about a ten minute walk.

The communal areas are quite nice. large kitchen, pool table area, area with sofas, outside patio with chairs and tables, and another outside area with patio and faux grass! This is where the free breakfast is offered. And at night it turns into a party area where you can bring your own drink. this can get quite noisy at night (signs say the area is closed at 11pm, but this was not the case during my stay) so I would advise against a ground/first floor room.

The hostel organises daily events such as Hollywood tours, trips to Universal Studios, party night at sister hostel in West Hollywood. These fill up fast, so book early to not be disappointed.

  • Stayed September 2008, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank Layla L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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340 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (40)
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London
Level 3 Contributor
9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed September 10, 2008

The hostel is reasonable with a good location, the rooms were adequately clean and there are plenty of facilities.

However, the staff were very bad. They are, at best, apathetic and at worst, aggressively hostile. In particular, the security guard was highly confrontational and was very abusive to guests. He made my friends very upset by shouting at them and threatening them. This was unprovoked and inexplicable.

The other staff were not so aggressive but generally couldn't be bothered to help with anything. They would do the bare minimum expected of them with great reluctance.

Until the staff attitude is completely changed, I suggest staying at the Orbit Hostel around the corner.

  • Liked — Location
  • Disliked — The security guard
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank handytom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UK.
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed September 9, 2008

I stayed recently & would NOT do so again . In fact , I wouldn't board my dog here !

Firstly ; despite booking a private room , I was asked to share a dorm on my first night as they'd messed up the reservation. Not a good start after a 12 hr + flight.

Secondly ; on the whole , the staff are rude / unhelpful / disinterested e.g. When a fellow guest made a comment to one of the girls " serving " breakfast about how it was usually late starting, she bluntly told him not to talk to her & to speak to the management. See other reviewers comments for more of the same.

Thirdly , I was so badly bitten by bed bugs during my stay that I had to take a week off work & was placed on 4 different types of medication. Disgusting !

Also, the location is poor eg. Sunset Strip/ Santa Monica Blvd. ( bars etc. ) = 45 minute walk or expensive taxi . Hollywood Blvd. = 20 minutes by bus.

Do NOT stay here ; its crap . The Bates Motel would be a wiser bet.

  • Liked — Leaving it.
  • Disliked — Bed bugs , disinterested / unhelpful / rude staff , location , atmosphere.
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank JohnnyThundersDTK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
melbourne
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviewed September 8, 2008

I was a little unsure at first about staying in this hostel at first but i have to say it was an awesome experience. The rooms are average for a hostel and good for the price, the bathrooms are very clean and the facilities are great. Some people did have problems with bed bugs but they acted quickly on the matter and gave people new sheets and bug spray etc.
The thing i loved the most about this hostel is the laid back party atmosphere. It was really a great place to meet people, there was always a party on and often you get free food which is great if your on a budget. The people are really friendly and although some of the staff could be a little vague, i found most of them pretty helpful. If you are travelling alone, or with friends or you just want to meet lots of fun, interesting people this is definitely the place to go, its close to public transport, hollywood, sunset blvd and melrose. Its in a great location. The down side was probably the bed bugs, also because they are quite laid back there wasnt much security - not that anything bad happened but i suppose it was pretty easy for people to walk in off the street but thats about it really.

  • Liked — Fun, relaxed party atmosphere
  • Disliked — the risk of bed bugs
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank taz88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
Level 3 Contributor
9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed August 25, 2008

I went to the Banana Bungalow during the Month of August with three of my girlfriends.
Overall I would recommend this hostel to anyone going to Los Angeles. I say this for a few reasons.
They are very accommodating and are very easy to negotiate with as well as they accept responsibility for any mistakes made to your reservation. They will pick you up from the airport, and if they forget to, as they did with our reservation they will fully reimburse you if you take a shared shuttle (keep the receipt). I would recommend calling the night before to confirm pick up. They were also so busy, that during one of our nights, they over booked our room as they had a new staff member. So my gf and I shared a bed. They gave us a voucher for a two free nights stay. They will rectify any mistakes they make.

The rooms are very clean, some people complained about bed bugs; however none of us experienced them. If you are worried, bring your own sheets. There are bathrooms in all rooms and they are clean.

The location is great. Definitely stay in this one over the Hollywood location. You are very close to the night clubs, Chinese theatre, Kodak, and all the shopping.

The crowd it brings in is a bit on the younger side, about 18-21. Interestingly you will meet a ton of potential “actors" and people in the industry. I met a few people who had been there for over 3 months and were trying to get in on the entertainment industry. They are great to talk to, and have very interesting stories as they are from all over the world.

Overall great hostel, I do recommend it, I have heard it is better than the majority of LA hostels, with the exception of one. They do make mistakes, but are willing to fix them. Only complaint I have for me personally was I felt a bit old there, and I am 23. It’s not luxurious, but it’s a place to sleep and it’s cheap and the staff is friendly.

  • Liked — the staff and the cleanliness
  • Disliked — overall look of it
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank SpecialKay84
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed August 19, 2008

I was travelling in a group of four, two couples, and our budget was pretty tight but we wanted to stay in private rooms. After massive amounts of research, we booked with the Banana Bungalow because the reviews were okay, the price was great and the location was pretty good too.

We arrived and were reasonably satisfied. The rooms and bathrooms were clean which was the most important thing in our minds. We were there four nights and two of the four we were woken up by loud people or road noise but we expected that, this is a hostel after all.

We didn't eat breakfast or dinner there, we preferred to get out and see the city but we did book the Disneyland and Universal Studio tours and it was great... nothing like door-to-door service.

If we had paid more for our rooms, we may have been more disgruntled with the interrupted sleep but you get what you pay for.

  • Liked — Location was good, price was better.
  • Disliked — Occasional disrupted sleep but hey, this is a hostel!
  • Stayed December 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank FrankieMars42
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
Level 4 Contributor
46 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
Reviewed August 12, 2008

I had planned to stay at this hostel as I knew nobody in LA. After researching different hostels this one seemed to be alright. I read some reviews on TA that had warned against staying here, but figured that I'm sure the issues were just one off's...

WELL, on arrival, I was sent to wait in a corner whilst the girls at the check in desk gossiped to one another and had a general catch up chat and a laugh. When the girl was finally ready to speak to me, my reservation was lost. When it was found it was all Wrong! I had been put into a room to bunk with complete strangers. I know that many people choose to travel like this, however I had selected a private room for a reason.

There was no apology given just a basic "this is all we've got". I decided to find somewhere else to stay, and was assured I would not be charged for not staying as it was their stuff up.

So as I checked my credit card statement, I was furious to discover that they have still charged me for all the nights I was meant to stay. I have tried numerous times to reach them by email, however noone has bothered to get back to me.

I guess it is just a lesson learned. Maybe it was a blessing in disguies as the place was a run down dump anyway.

DON'T STAY HERE!

  • Liked — The feeling of relief I got when i left!!
  • Disliked — That it is run by incapable people with a lack of skills
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank aussie_traveller30
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Banana Bungalow West Hollywood

Property: Banana Bungalow West Hollywood
Address: 603 N Fairfax Ave, West Hollywood, CA 90036-1714
Location: United States > California > West Hollywood
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Specialty Lodging in West Hollywood
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:1 star — Banana Bungalow West Hollywood 1*
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Banana Bungalow West Hollywood is one of the most popular hostels in the country. We are located in a central location right in the hottest spot of the "Melrose Strip." The Melrose area is a very special part of Los Angeles. It is located on the West side of Hollywood and borders Beverly Hills, you can walk to many of the great experiences that Hollywood has to offer plus you will be centrally located to access all the sights and sounds of LA. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Banana Bungalow West Hollywood Hotel West Hollywood

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