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Hostelling International Chicago
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed November 28, 2011

We stayed at the Hostelling International Chicago for 3 nights in November 2011. We chose the hostel because it was so much cheaper than other hotels, and still had a good central location in the city. On arrival, I was surprised by how great this hostel was. It actually exceeded many experiences I've had in 3 and 4 star hotels! It was perfect for what we were looking for.

My boyfriend and I shared a private co-ed room (for max of 2 people). It had a bunk-bed, with a double bed on the bottom. The room was very basic, but spotlessly clean, freshly painted and a big bonus: they offered free wi-fi throughout the hostel, even in your bedroom. Most big hotels charge extra for this service.

We had to share the bathroom/shower facilities at the end of the hall with other guests on our floor - but again, these were very well maintained and very clean. During the 3 night stay I only encountered one other guest using the bathrooms, and never had to queue for a shower. The bathrooms also have hairdryers which was handy.

The layout of the hostel is great, and I felt very safe and secure at all times. You need to swipe your key card to access the elevators, then again to access your hallway, and then again to go into your own room. The place was quiet and felt very private. At the same time, there are great shared areas for relaxing (with free wi-fi) and a room for watching tv (you can rent dvds from the reception desk), as well as a small kitchen area for preparing food. On the second floor of the hostel is a huge shared area, including a dining area where you get complimentary breakfast in the mornings. Plenty of toast, bagels, croissants, muffins, apples, yoghurt, orange juice, tea and coffee. Great bonus because again, many hotels that offer good rates don't include breakfast.

They also have an information desk and notice boards where you can research things to do during your stay in Chicago. They seemed to have lots of free tours that you could join if you were interested, a good system for meeting people if you happen to be traveling alone.

All in all, I really don't have anything negative to say about this place. If you're looking to save some money and stay in a basic room without compromising on cleanliness and security, then stay here. The hostel is really big, and extremely well managed.

You can take the metro from Chicago O'Hare airport, which is much cheaper than getting a taxi. The hostel is only a few blocks away from the Lasalle Street station.

Room Tip: If you're traveling as a couple and don't like the idea of co-ed dorm rooms, pay a little ex...
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  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank crow84
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paul C, Owner at Hostelling International Chicago, responded to this reviewResponded August 29, 2016

Thanks for your feedback.

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Reviewed November 25, 2011

The Chicago Hostel offers a unique lodging experience. I have stayed here at least five times and have stayed in private rooms as well as same-sex dorm rooms. The hostel is part of the Hostelling International hostel chain so certain amenities can be expected - such as sheets, blankets, towels, and lockers. The hostel is clean and well kept. The staff is generally very helpful. It's a great place for young people looking to buy a bed for the night. However, private rooms cost a bit more and sometimes it might be nicer to just get a normal hotel room for the same cost or less because you would be able to have a TV and private bath which are not a part of the rooms at the hostel.
Most of the mattresses are comfortable enough though some of them have a dip in the middle which is uncomfortable to sleep on. The subway (el) runs all day and all night and makes a lot of noise - it was difficult for me to sleep with the inconsistent noise it made every 10 or 15 minutes. The linens are clean and the rooms generally offer bunk beds, a closet with hangers, a desk, and a chair.
There is usually one bathroom for every four dorm rooms - so potentially a large number of people could be sharing the same bathroom and if it's an area that includes private rooms - then both males and females could be using the bathroom. The bathrooms tend to have one area for the sink - then some of them have a seperate toilet/shower area (which means you cannot use the toilet if someone is using the shower because they are contained in the same room) - and others will have a seperate shower area & a seperate toilet area - it varies. Don't expect to be able to feel relaxed in the bathrooms as there is always someone needing to use it and no sense of privacy in regards to noise. There are additional bathrooms with showers on each floor.
There are TV rooms around the hostel that have a TV with chairs, couches, games, and books. The hostel has plenty of information about what's going on in town and has a visitor's center on the second floor. Maps and event information are provided as well as coupons and brochures. There is also a nearby room with vending machines and computers. The computers are not free to use and there is a three minute minimum in price, requires a credit card.
The second floor is also where the cafeteria can be found. Breakfast is very basic - bread, cheese, jam, bagels or croissants, fruit, cereal, milk, and coffee with powder creamer. The food is very simple and will do the job.
The hostel is located in a business and college district of the downtown area - there is not a lot of vibrant nightlife nearby but the area is certainly safe and within easy walking distance of public transportation as well as Lake Michigan and the art museum. The Magnificent Mile isn't too far away and offers many tourist attractions and shopping. Further to the north are some great neighborhoods with fantastic nightlife and restaurants. When you are near the hostel be sure to check out a restaurant called Tamarind - it's just a block and a half south of the hostel.
Overall the hostel is a nice place - affordable, fun for the adventurous type, and offers basic amenities. You can meet travelers from around the world here and meet friendly people from a variety of cultures. This is not a place for a romantic getaway and it is not nearly as nice as a good hotel room or a bed and breakfast - but for the single person it's a good deal and a fun way to experience Chicago.

Room Tip: Try to avoid rooms that directly face the subway to avoid noise throughout the night.
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  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled on business
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1  Thank MItraveler2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paul C, Manager at Hostelling International Chicago, responded to this reviewResponded August 29, 2016

Thanks for your feedback.

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Reviewed November 17, 2011

Excellent hostel in a great location. There really isn't anything I could fault with this place. Excellent facilities, great wifi service, the free breakfast is amazing. The tours/activities were fun and informative, I highly recommend joining in when you can. This place had the most comfortable bed I've ever slept in, stay here!

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled solo
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Thank Nicola W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paul C, Manager at Hostelling International Chicago, responded to this reviewResponded August 29, 2016

Thanks for your feedback.

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Reviewed November 17, 2011

This was my second time staying here and I will be back. You can't beat the cost & location.

The first time I stayed in a 4 bed unit. It shared a bathroom with another 4 bed unit and had to walk through a two bed "living room" to get to it. I think it may just have been overflow space. The nice thing about it was the kitchen that was also included.

This time I chose to stay in a regular dorm which ended up having 6 beds (3 bunk beds). As in the other room there is a separate room for the toilet and another for the shower. Unfortunately, there was only one sink and a regular size mirror, but it wasn't too inconvenient since we were all on different schedules. In this room, each bed had it's own personal light, but we only had two outlets which was not enough for all our cell phones, etc. Also, two of the beds had smaller lockers than the others so my carry-on size suitcase didn't fit in it. It wasn't a problem for me so I didn't ask for other accommodations, but I'm sure they would have been able to help if I had asked.

Overall, the cheaper room (the 6 bed dorm) was better with the exception of not enough outlets and no kitchen, but who wants to cook when you are in downtown Chicago?!

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled solo
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1  Thank gettingworldly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paul C, Manager at Hostelling International Chicago, responded to this reviewResponded August 29, 2016

Thanks for your feedback.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 8, 2011

When I come to Chicago if I don't stay at Chicago Getaway I stay here. Although, this hostel is really getting my attention. I felt very comfortable and the amenities are great!!!!!!! I would recommend it to anyone.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled solo
    • Value
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    • Service
Thank Jimmy J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paul C, Manager at Hostelling International Chicago, responded to this reviewResponded August 29, 2016

Thanks for your feedback.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 1, 2011

Me and my husband stayed at this Hostel for 6 nights.
We rented a private room, which consists in one bedroom with a double bed and a bulk (single), a desk with chair and a closet with iron board. The room is very spacious, so it can accommodate well the 3 gests.
The amenities for the private room are really good, it is almost like an apartment with 4 bedrooms, one living room, kitchen and one shared bathroom (very big and comfortable). Every room were very clean.
Although there is no TV in the “apartment”, there is a room on the corridor, with some couches and a TV.
Also in the common area, there is a telephone and laundry facility with machine for drinks. Didn’t use the machines, so can’t tell about their work.
The hostel has a very good free WI-fi.
The restaurant area has free pool, lounge and some meeting rooms. Also provides computer and printer, but these are paid services.
The breakfast is free, and ok. Some breads, bagels, toaster, cheese, milk, coffee and cereal.
There is also a volunteer service in the restaurant area to help the visitors, answer questions about the city and teach how to use public transportation among other things.
Some tickets, for tourism, can be bought directly at the hostel for a cheaper price.
The location is really convenient, with a CVS just around the corner, really easy access, very close to the Millenium Park. The buses that pass nearby can take you to pretty much all the touristic places in Downtown Chicago. The Union Station is a short 15 minute walk.
A few blocks north there is a good Jewel Osco market, but needs to take a bus.

The biggest problem are the trains. The line is too close to the windows and there is a parking lot between the hostel and the train line, so there is nothing to block the noise when the trains passes by. I noticed that on Saturday the trains make a lot more noise…
Of course that at the end of the day we were so tired that we were able to sleep all the nights of our stay.

Room Tip: Well, for a tip I would recommend to ask for a room in the front of the hostel, to avoid the trains.
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  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank FASrenno
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paul C, Owner at Hostelling International Chicago, responded to this reviewResponded August 29, 2016

Thanks for your feedback.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 27, 2011

Pros: Room is pretty standardized with four bulk beds. Plenty of freebies like free breakfast, free pool, ping pong, and meeting room/TV room free to use.

Room is spacious compared with other hostels I have stayed. Mattress is soft and convenient. Location is close to CBD and tourist attractions, about 10 minutes walk to the Millennium Park.

Actually, I am not concerned about all these pros because the coolest thing to stay in a hostel is to meet people. I met some really cool guys from around the world, a French cook looking for a job in Chicago, a Danish boy coming for a physics conference, a Japanese artist for a vacation as well as a film festival, and me, a Chinese guy for getting a Hong Kong VISA. When all of these international facets mixed together amazing chemistry emerged out of the ground. We had a wonderful time wandering around the alleys looking for the most authentic and hottest Chinese food, drinking, talking, laughing and looking for bars all around. It was an unforgettable experience the one could possibly have in a lively city.

Cons: sink table (I am not sure how to say it, the one where you brush teeth and wash face) is not separated from the bedroom, it seems much hassle and disturbing when one brushes teeth with the light over the sink on while others are sleeping.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank TimeGeographer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paul C, Manager at Hostelling International Chicago, responded to this reviewResponded August 29, 2016

Thanks for your feedback.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hostelling International Chicago

Address: 24 East Congress Parkway, South Loop, Chicago, IL 60605-1226
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Illinois > Chicago > Downtown / The Loop
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 60 Specialty Lodging in Chicago
Price Range: $40 - $158 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:1.5 star — Hostelling International Chicago 1.5*
Number of rooms: 300
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Also Known As:
Hostelling International Chicago Summer Hotel Chicago

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