We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Had a pleasant stay, but later discovered that someone or something within the hostel stole money from my bank account.”

Best prices for -
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
and 1 more site!
Hostelling International- San Francisco/ Downtown
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 1, 2012

I stayed at Hostelling International on Mason Street for a week in March this year. I chose this hostel primarily for its location, and I wasn’t disappointed. The hostel is situated smack bang in the bustling heart of downtown San Francisco.

I booked a private room in the hostel, with a shared bathroom. The room itself was certainly nothing to do cartwheels about, but as I was staying in a hostel I knew not to expect the Hilton, and so didn’t really have a problem with it. The room had a bunk bed, a sink with a mirror above it, and a locker that was more than large enough to store my luggage in. The only real complaint I have about the room is that the door wasn’t particularly easy to open, which became annoying very quickly.

As for the rest of the hostel, it was neat, homely and well-organized. The breakfast room, which served breakfast from 8am to 10am, had more than enough fresh food for everyone (including fruit) and the room itself was nice and bright, had a pleasant atmosphere, and was buzzing with travellers from all over the world. There was a different activity to take part in every day at the hostel, from bike riding to bar crawling, but during my stay I only took part in one – beer tasting, which offered guests the opportunity to sample the local beers. It was fun and informative, and the staff member who hosted the activity was funny and likeable. In fact I had no problems with any of the staff I encountered during my stay, most were friendly and helpful.

When I checked out of the hostel, I left feeling satisfied that I’d had a pleasant stay. It was only when I got home that I realized that it didn’t go quite as smoothly as I’d originally thought. I arrived back in the UK on March 30th. Just over a week later, when I checked my bank statement, I was shocked to discover that someone in the US had used my card details on April 10th, spending £46. I immediately phoned my bank, only to discover that someone had also tried to spend a further £500 of my money, but luckily the bank successfully blocked the transaction before it went through and cancelled my card. When I asked them if they could tell me where exactly in the US my details were used (I travelled to L.A too) they told me, without hesitation, San Francisco.

Now of course it’s possible that someone stole my details in L.A and then travelled to San Francisco to use them, but it’s much more likely that my details were stolen in San Francisco while I was there. And as my bank statement from that month shows, the ONLY place in San Francisco that I used my card was within the hostel. I used it once at check-in to pay for my stay, I used it a few times in the computer room (you have to swipe your card to use the computers) and once at the cash machine by the front desk. I should add that my card was in my possession at all times. Looking back, I suspect that there was probably some kind of scamming device on one of the machines that I used. A more worrying possibility of course is that a member of staff stole my information from the system, but I like to think that wasn’t the case.

When I asked my bank if I should contact the hostel, they advised me against it and assured me, after I’d filled out a form, that the police would now investigate the matter. The only problem with these investigations is the victim is never told the outcome, so five months later I’m none the wiser as to who was actually responsible.

As quite a forgiving guy, I originally had no intention of writing this review. It was only recently when I told a friend what had happened that they convinced me that I should, and that I had a duty to in case this kind of thing happens to anyone else. So for anyone thinking of staying at this hostel, I’m not telling you that you shouldn’t, because overall I had a pleasant stay there, I’m just reminding you to be very vigilant and careful about where exactly you use your card.

Happy travelling ;-)

Stayed: March 2012, traveled solo
2  Thank SgtPepper_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
hiusaggc, Guest Relations Manager at Hostelling International- San Francisco/ Downtown, responded to this reviewResponded September 12, 2012

Hello,

We wanted to contact you in regards to this review. We are very glad that you had a good stay here and enjoyed the location and activities! We wanted to address the issue you encountered with your credit card.

We want to express how seriously our company takes these types of situations. This is the first instance we have encountered in which a guest has advised of erroneous charges on their card after checking out. We would really like to get in touch with you so that we may help investigate this issue. We have sent a separate message to you with our management’s contact information. Any information you can provide regarding your use of the atm and computer stations would be helpful in helping us follow up with these companies to check their fraud protection systems.

As far as hostel employees utilizing card information, the front desk staff has no access to card numbers. This information is encrypted in a limited access section of the booking websites. Also, when a credit card is processed, the number is encrypted on our credit card reports to show only the last 4 digits. We utilize these measures to ensure the safety of our guests' important information.

Again, please feel free to contact us so that we may help you investigate this matter and put any concerns you may have to rest after all these months!

Thanks!

HI San Francisco Downtown
312 Mason Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
415.788.5604

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review
Reviews (855)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
Language
  • More languages

431 - 437 of 855 reviews

Reviewed August 13, 2012

You couldn't get a better location in San Francisco than HI. It's right in the centre of everywhere you want to be. Easy to walk everywhere, or to catch the myriad of quirky transport available here.

This hostel's major downfall is that there is less of a social atmosphere compared to every other hostel I stayed at on my USA trip. Having said that, I was very fortunate in that I had awesome room mates who I made great friends with. Plus, they had a cool beer tasting session, where I met some fun people to hang out with too.

Overall, the general feel is that there's too many people there treating the place like a hotel, not a hostel.

Do I recommend the place anyway? Yes, I do. There's still opportunity to meet like-minded, young traveller's here with the right attitude. It just takes more effort than usual.

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank ayechihuahua
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 9, 2012 via mobile

Not got a bad word to say. The location is excellent - near to lots of shops, restaurants and bus routes. We stayed in a private en suite room which was very clean with a comfy bed. The only negative was the noise from the street. It felt like we were outside but then again we were in the middle of the city. Breakfast is included which was a nice surprise. Basic but can save you money. The hostel has wifi which always worked really well. Very glad I chose to stay here.

  • Stayed: July 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank rbutravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 8, 2012

I stayed in a private room with an ensuite. The bed was really comfy and the room very clean. The hotel was in an excellent location, very close to Union Square which is ideal for hop on hop off bus tours. The hostel provides a free breakfast (mainly bagels) and lots of opportunities to go on tours run by the hostel. I highly recommend this hostel.

  • Stayed: August 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank ChipRocket
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 6, 2012

Hostel was clean and well maintained. Staff proved very helpful and their chinatown tour was great. The location is very convenient to main BART locations and within easy walking distance to tons of stores. Our Girl Scout troop found the theatre and game room fun and enjoyed staying there. The staff was relatively vigilant about checking room id's to keep hostel secure....so felt safe staying there. The only change we would suggest is better variety of breakfast items. We probably stayed longer than most since we were there a whole week...but bagels and an apple got old for the girls quickly. And it is noisy at night....the free earplugs could come in handy if you can't tune out the sounds. Bring some warm clothes even in August ...we found it to be chilly most of the time.

Room Tip: End rooms had own toilet and sink so didn't have to share.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Angela L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 1, 2012

We had 3 rooms- 2 with bath & one without. The rooms were clean. The employees were friendly & helpful. It was fun for our troop to experience the shared kitchen and movie room. We wished we had more time there!

Room Tip: Ear plugs are available at front desk- use them!
See more room tips
  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Sherri F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 31, 2012

My few nights stay at the HI-SanFranDowntown location as fantastic. Not only is it a clean hostel, the people are so friendly and helpful. I travelled by myself and wasnt too sure about staying at a hostel, but HI-SFDowntown is safe and was a perfect location to all transportation depots, restaurants and shopping! and when I wasn't sure, I just asked the staff at the front. They did not hesitate to help and also give a pointer or two.

Thanks for all the help and I'll definitely be coming back to my home by the bay-at HI-SFDowntown!

Room Tip: They fill up pretty quickly for many tourists because of the location and the amazing rate, so make...
See more room tips
  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank charmnuck
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
Travelers also viewed these San Francisco hotels
Union Square
Chancellor Hotel on Union Square
Chancellor Hotel on Union Square
#17 of 230 in San Francisco
5,338 reviews
USA Hostels San Francisco
#3 of 54 in San Francisco
1,214 reviews
Financial District
Pacific Tradewinds Hostel
Pacific Tradewinds Hostel
#1 of 54 in San Francisco
447 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
San Francisco City Center Hostel
#7 of 54 in San Francisco
441 reviews
Adelaide Hostel
#10 of 54 in San Francisco
651 reviews
North Beach / Telegraph Hill
Green Tortoise Hostel - San Francisco
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Hostelling International- San Francisco/ Downtown? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Hostelling International- San Francisco/ Downtown

Address: 312 Mason St, San Francisco, CA 94102-1704
Location: United States > California > San Francisco > Union Square
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 54 Specialty Lodging in San Francisco
Price Range: $47 - $157 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:1.5 star — Hostelling International- San Francisco/ Downtown 1.5*
Number of rooms: 13
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Stay in the heart of the city, just one block from Union Square and steps from Chinatown and the cable cars! HI-San Francisco Downtown is close to the best cafes, clubs, theaters, and shopping. You'll love our new look, low prices, and four-bed dorms (coed dorms range from 4-8 beds). Free continental breakfast, free WiFi, DSL Internet, guest kitchen, free linens and towels, daily housekeeping, free/low-cost daily activities and tours, 24-hour reception, and no curfews, chores, or lockouts. ... more   less 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Priceline, Booking.com and TripOnline SA so you can book your Hostelling International- San Francisco/ Downtown reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Hostelling International- San Francisco/ Downtown Hotel San Francisco

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing