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“First time hostel experience” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Charleston's NotSo Hostel

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Charleston's NotSo Hostel
Augusta, Georgia, United States
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“First time hostel experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 12, 2013

I had no idea what to expect for my first stay ever at a hostel. I heard it was a way to greatly enhance the experience of traveling alone and forced one to meet new people. When I arrived at the hostel I definitely got the impression that the place had character to it, but the nice kind that makes it feel more homely and special. I loved getting to meet people from all over the world that I'd never have been afforded the chance to had I just booked a room at a local motel for a bed/tv setting. My advice to anyone wanting to try out this different way of traveling is to approach it with an open mind. Your visit here might be vastly different then someone else's due to the different dynamic of group of people staying at the hostel at that time.

If you're an adventurer who wants to go beyond the conventional form of travel then I would highly advise trying out NotSo Hostel.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Joshua M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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465 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (89)
Date | Rating
  • English first
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  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Richmond, Virginia
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 5, 2013

So, as you may notice, I don't write reviews often, if at all. I usually find it to be a waste, as I've never suffered a ridiculous situation. Bad, yes...but I am content to choose to not return. My experience with NotSo Hostel was probably the worst experience I've ever had, hence why I write the review.

We are able to park in their limited lot, getting the last spots. Upon entering the main office, we are greeted by a friendly attendant among a room full of older guests (60+). They eye at us over their ipads, but all is well. The attendant gives us a decent tour and we pick our rooms. Typical hostel rooms. It's convenient that they have multiple kitchens, though you're looking at no less than 8 people sharing a bathroom. They have "quiet" hours from 10pm-8am, which is very inconvenient as the walls are paper thin and you can hear a full conversation of whispers.

On their website they claim "friendly clientele, a place to meet new people and bond over your travels". This is not true, actually. Their rude, insulting clientele is why I would never return. I went with some college friends, so the idea of a quiet time (especially at a hostel) starting at 10pm is quite odd. We had driven all day and got to the hostel at nine, so we instead decide to go out. It is about a 10-20 minute walk to King Street (the major hub). We spend about three hours out, then head back to the hostel, grabbing some food first since we hadn't eaten for hours.

Upon returning to the hostel, we enter our room with three friends from the main house. Dropping our plastic bags on the floor disturbed the two elderly ladies next to us and one asked us to "keep quiet". I apologized for my friends, and told them to solely whisper and be careful when cooking the food. Already in the oven when we started to pre-heat were a bag of a doritos...I do not know why. It seems unprofessional and quite odd. Do they not clean the kitchen? It sets the fire alarm off and I immediately get embarrassed. My friend takes the fire alarm down and we continue. The neighbors on the other side of the kitchen use the bathroom and asks us if we are almost done. I apologize again, not realizing how thin the walls are. Soon, we go to sleep on the thin, plastic mattress and undersized sheets. I wake up at quarter of eight, my sinuses sore from my allergies. Soon after, our elderly neighbors begin to bang around in their room and turn their hair dryer on. They slam their door and walk to the kitchen, then begin to speak loud enough for us to hear them. "I thought the place was going to burn down last night! They burned pizza!" They continue to talk about how awful a night it was for them, before waking out other neighbors. They come out and the old woman repeats "I thought the place was going to burn down last night!" They continue to talk about the mess we made (a dirty pan and some crumbs, while these woman had left a pot and two dirty dishes out yesterday). They continue to complain, loudly so we can here them and to wake us up, then they say we are "hiding in our room". It's about this time that I realize this is not an average hostel, it's more a nursing home. It's quite common for people to come in and out of a hostel and one has to get used to avoiding noise, especially when whispers or soft talking are easily heard through walls.

An attendant for the hostel comes in, looking for a coffee cup. The elderly women say we started a fire, almost burning the place down. The attendant says that the fire alarm is quite sensitive. They mention a friend of ours, who entered the hostel initially wearing heels, and how loud she was with those heels and how she "almost died". However, this friend was not even with us, as she went back to her room in the main house. Additionally, she was no longer wearing heels. They also mention the "mess we made". The attendant says she can give us a fine, the women request it, and she leaves. I walk to use the bathroom, the younger couple in the room across the kitchen are showering. I apologize to the most vocal woman, saying I understand we were loud when we returned and that setting the fire alarm off was unacceptable. She tells me "you all should be, I could barely get any sleep." I apologize again, but she storms off. Her friend comes in and I apologize to her too, yet she does not acknowledge me. I clean off the cookie tray, dry it, then wipe up the crumbs and sweep the floor. This is all done in less than a minute.

The attendant gives us the thirty dollar fine, not asking what actually happened. She tells us she doesn't want to, but then why does she do so? Not to mention the elderly women were being loud long before the "quiet time" was complete at 8am. As I've said, this is a hostel for older customers. I'm sure they judged us the moment we walked in and waited for us to slip up, as cane be common. I am absolutely disgusted by the behavior of these two women and disappointed in the hostel in believing their exaggerations. The hostel is expensive enough for simply to bunk beds that practically touch each other and the terrible clientele they host--and defend. I was excited to visit this place, but checked out the next day. I would rather pay for a hotel then be mistreated by the management and two women who desperately need something to complain about.

Avoid this place, there's gotta be better.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank ElenaS1520
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
notsohostel, Manager at Charleston's NotSo Hostel, responded to this review, June 17, 2013
Ah yes, I remember your group. Thank you for your review and for the review another person in your group left right before you posted this one. Staying in a hostel means sharing space and being aware of how much you drink, how loud you are, etc. I understand you didn't get along well with the people staying next to you, but it's really something that one cannot predict and we all need to be respectful of each other in order to live in a more peaceful, understanding world. Best of luck in all your future travels.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
14 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 4, 2013

PROS:
- has a kitchen
- parking available (though limited)
- provided a basic breakfast
Cons
- difficult check in times - no one around during the day
- not enough bathrooms for the amount of people
- overpriced
- plastic mattresses and 'make your own bed' seemed poor for what we paid
- wasn't walking distance to the city and in a rough neighbourhood

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank James O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
notsohostel, Manager at Charleston's NotSo Hostel, responded to this review, June 17, 2013
Thank you for your review. For the price you paid for the dorm room ($26) you received linens, a bagel breakfast, free wifi, your choice of over 14 private parking spots and a safe, comfortable place to sleep in addition to a kitchen and bathroom for your floor which only has three rooms on it. I appreciate all the pros you listed for the hostel and thank you again for your review.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winston Salem, North Carolina
Level Contributor
3 reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 3, 2013

The Notso Hostel was very welcoming and friendly. The staff was helpful and offered suggestions for places to visit and things to do.

The rooms were small, but clean and comfortable. I went with three other friends and we took up a whole dorm room. If I had been in our room (Cuba), with strangers it might have been a little more claustrophobic.

We took advantage of the continental breakfast every morning. There were bagels and english muffins with almond butter, nutella, jam and cream cheese options. There was also freshly ground coffee. It was really great, especially when we took it outside and sat in the sun on the porch.

Other people have said the location wasn't the best, but I disagree. It was a comfortable walk to North King Street, which has a lot of bars. The neighborhood feels like a place CofC students live and one that is going to be quickly developed in the next few years. It isn't the swankiest, but everyone on the streets was nice. There are some great restaurants close by called Hominy Grill, Xiao Bao Biscuit, and Five Loaves.

Overall, for the price, nothing can beat the Notso Hostel. There are definitely some quirks, but I would recommend this place to anyone visiting Charleston.

Room Tip: The walls are very thin! We talked to a couple who was staying by the bathroom and they could hear...
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank CJC_626_13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
notsohostel, Manager at Charleston's NotSo Hostel, responded to this review, June 17, 2013
Thank you for your review! We do appreciate it and hope you'll come back to visit us again.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Roanoke, Virginia
2 reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 2, 2013

This hostel was fantastic! For the traveler on a budget, you can't beat the experience. I have stayed at many hostels in the U.S and abroad and found the Notso to be extremely comfortable and clean. We chose the Brazil room, which is next to the bathroom (convenient, but causes extra noise - a problem for the light sleeper). We took advantage of the full kitchen, which saves on money and creates a vibe of being in the comfort of your own home :) LOVED the parking lot, since parking is impossible in Charleston. We walked to the Mission yoga studio every day, and there are some other restaurants a couple blocks over. Super convenient and only a couple minutes drive downtown. The staff is friendly and the breakfast is generous. Only downside was that the room was freezing. The heat worked in the other parts of the house, just not our room.

Room Tip: Next time I will stay in an upstairs room, away from the bathroom.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank KelliE446
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
notsohostel, Manager at Charleston's NotSo Hostel, responded to this review, June 17, 2013
Thank you for your review! We have since checked on all the filters and the vents so that all the rooms are getting heated and cooled properly. We are so glad you enjoyed the hostel and hope you come to visit again soon.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kinmen
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 26, 2013

My friend and I stayed in the "Cyprus" room during a recent trip to Charleston. Overall, it was a very good experience, but there were a few things which kept it from being perfect.

The buildings and grounds are very attractive and well-maintained historic buildings. The hostel provides a free parking lot, which is a plus. Our room, which was located in an outbuilding, was pleasant. It was nice that each building (and maybe each floor?) had its own kitchen, as we did a good bit of cooking, and never had to fight with anyone else over use of the space. I was a bit surprised at the lack of baking pans in the kitchen, but I can't really complain since they didn't have to provide anything. There were plenty of frying pans and dishes, and even a tea pot, which was nice.

The bathroom was nicely decorated and clean, but there was only one on our floor, which was hosting about 10 people. At key times in the morning/evening, there was a line. The toilet and shower are all in the same room, so even if you just need a quick in and out trip, you may get stuck waiting on someone in the shower.

Breakfast is provided at this hostel - a big plus! - and consists of bagels, English muffins, and various toppings (cream cheese, jam, etc.). The kitchen area where it is set up is very small and awkwardly situated, however - two of the three mornings we were there, it was so crowded that it was difficult to maneuver even cutting open a bagel and spreading cream cheese on it. Once again, though, I was super thankful that they had breakfast at all, so I can't really complain.

I really liked the convenience of this hostel, as it's within walking distance to a stop on Charleston's free trolley system. This saved us a lot of headache on the day we went to explore downtown, as we could just leave our car at the hostel. They are also only 2 blocks from the Hominy Grill, a feature we took advantage of! The owners have prepared a lovely guidebook which is supplied in every room, which we referenced a lot over the course of our stay.

My biggest complaint - and it's not a minor one - is the noise level at this hostel. I understand that it's a community setting and that people are going to socialize into the wee hours, but the walls in our room were so paper-thin that I could distinctly make out our neighbors' entire conversations, even when they weren't talking loudly. Posted quiet hours are 10pm-8am, but these are not observed or enforced. I got no sleep any of the three nights we were there.

I would stay here again - the benefits, and the bargain rate, definitely outweigh the negatives. However, next time I will definitely pack a pair of earplugs.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank sla17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington,D.C.
Level Contributor
26 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 25, 2013

My girlfriend and I stayed in one of the private rooms at the NotSo hostel annex in March. The private room was clean and nice. It included a bed, lamp, table, and a fan (which was helpful even in March). So while the room did not have a lot of fancy extras or amenities, it was fine, although the bed was not the most comfortable. The shared bathrooms were generally clean and with two full bathrooms for about 4-5 rooms, we rarely had a problem with both being occupied. The location of the hostel annex was also great - within easy walking distance to most attractions in downtown Charleston (plus parking if you have a car). If traveling to Charleston on a budget, I would recommend the NotSo Hostel to other travelers.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Jon K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Charleston's NotSo Hostel

Property: Charleston's NotSo Hostel
Address: 156 Spring St, Charleston, SC 29403-5220
Location: United States > South Carolina > Coastal South Carolina > Charleston
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 12 Specialty Lodging in Charleston
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 21
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in lovely and historic downtown Charleston, the Notso Hostel provides safe, clean and simple accommodations. We offer camping, dorms, privates and more. Guests have access to kitchens, porches and common rooms with Internet and WIFI. Breakfast is included as are linens and parking. Come and have breakfast with travelers from all over the world and explore this beautiful Earth. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Charleston`s Notso Hotel Charleston

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