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“Terrible”

Union Square Backpacker's Hostel
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Union Square Backpacker's Hostel
Manchester
Level 4 Contributor
22 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Terrible”
Reviewed July 2, 2009

We turned up on a saturday afternoon having booked a private double bedroom. We were told that we'd rang the previous night to cancel the booking so they no longer had our private room.
We were offered a double bed to share with others which we took up the offer in case we couldn't find anywhere else. The room was filthy, with dirty tissues behind the beds.
We spent an hour or so looking for other hotels and ended up paying $218 for a room at the hilton as they were the only ones who had a private room nearby.
On a positive, the gentleman on reception was empathetic and allowed me to have a refund which i am grateful for.
I wouldn't recommend this place to anyone.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank llinwyn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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43 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
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English first
Alexandria, Virginia
Level 5 Contributor
26 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed May 24, 2009

Despite what everyone else has written about this hostel, it isn't the worst place I've ever stayed. I was able to get a room here at the last minute and probably wouldn't say here unless I found myself in the same situation again, but don't let that discourage you from staying here. The people that work here are pretty unorganized, the reception guy was giving me change out of his wallet, I'm pretty sure that isn't how it was supposed to work. The rooms were basic, I stayed in a 6 person dorm but it was quite spacious. Each floor had 2 toilets and showers, however not every shower was working so there was a slight wait in the morning unless of course you got up early. The common room was small but it did contain 3 computers with internet, cable TV, along with a kitchen. Breakfast was offered in the AM and consisted of muffins and coffee, quite basic but was enough to get you going. Can't complain about the location; a few blocks from the BART and surrounded by a plethora of restaurants and bars, all of which were suprisingly inexpensive.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Funky_Tee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed March 15, 2009

Everything the other reviewers say is true. The three-man staff remains insane, sullen, and hostile. The place is loaded with bed bugs. The owner/magager is forever in the shadows but never there. The bathrooms are a patch work of taped garbage bags and electrical cords running on the floor. The matresses sag. The sheets are thread worn. The rooms cold. Its awful. I was tired when I checked in. But after four days at the place, I think of the whole experience as a personal failure of my traveling skills. I made the mistake of booking a week in advance. Ug. The bugs really dug in on the second night. For the little time I spent there, day three and four became a series of failed negotiations with the staff at the asylum. So far I've found it impossible to get even a partial refund to check out early. Definitely a life lesson to look before you book. I'm not staying another night, even if I can't get the refund. Dialog at the front desk went something like this.
"What, you have bed bugs in your room?"
"Yeah. What can you do about checking me out early?"
"Oh I don't know about that. Are they fresh?"
"Yep."
"You have bedbugs in your room?"
"Yep."
"You have bed . . . bugs?"
"Yeah. I'm bitten all over. I want to leave. What kind of refund can you get me?"
"So you've been bitten?"
"Yes. All over my chest and back and on my face. Along the jaw line."
Another staffer walks up to the desk.
The desk clerk turns to him, "This guy says he's been bitten by bed bugs in room four."
The second staffer doesn't miss a beat.
"Are they fresh?"
Oh my God. I booked a week for $250. I've traveled in China, Mexico, Central America, and Europe. I've stayed at some randy places with lots of charm, but this place combines all the worst features that in other places are just bumps in the road. Not a bump, this place is a hole. They bumped me to another room without bugs, I think, but the place still gives me the skeeves and the vibe from the staff is all wrong. It should have been easy to have followed my instincts on this little travesty. I can't let myself stay. I'll have to sort out the money thing later.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank GreenZone
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these San Francisco hotels

Mountain View, CA
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed February 26, 2009

I've stayed in some skeezy hostels in Hong Kong, which is notorious for having crappy hostels, but this place takes the cake.

I was looking for some place to crash after Dropkick Murphys at the Warfield, and despite the dubious reviews, this place was the cheapest (by 5 bucks... not worth it!!!) and closest to the theater.

The place was dirty, almost as dirty as a squat. As in whole rooms/restrooms that seemed to have collapsed on itself. My pillow/sheets smelled like man-sweat, and random mattresses were covered in plastic garbage bags (???).

And rather than cool backpackers, this hostel seemed to be mostly populated by local meth-teethed street people who had panhandled enough change to spend the night.

Coming back at 4 am and soaked from the freezing rain, I wandered back to my creepy top-bunk in my creepy dorm room (four bunks crammed into a walk-in closet sized space) only to discover that there was no ladder to get to my bunk and I had to very awkwardly hoist myself up. You could feel each and every spring of my mattress, and even the slightest movement made the bedframe shudder and groan. I was also not provided a blanket. Already cold from the rain, I had to make do with only a bedsheet, shivering the whole night through.

Oh yeah, and it's located at the edge of the Tenderloin behind a brothel. (The Tenderloin is the crack and hooker-infested neighborhood of SF).

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled solo
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank genaeve
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Heartland, USA
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed February 4, 2009

I checked into the Backpackers Youth Hostel to stay a few days while waiting for next leg of trip.

Anu was terrible. He hung out in the kitchen room, working on his website on Y-chromosone human history, and made everything good in human history somehow from India. Including non-indo-european languages, like Finnish and Hungarian and Basque. He states the Holocaust never happened. He has the right to free speech, but he was working at a place where I was paying money, and yesterday, there was a question as to whether I was paid or not, and he actually came in my room, woke me up, and my dorm mate, who has paid for a month to stay there, and got another guy to reach into my bed and touch me to get me up. It was 11 at night. If there was a mistake, they should have said so much earlier. One night at twenty dollars in question. Amazing.

He is loud and rude and ignores customer service. Somehow, he is allowed to work there. Why is that. I just want to know.

  • Liked — My dormmates, a wonder Asian woman, and a bicyclist training in SF from Columbia.
  • Disliked — Anu, but this is a
  • Stayed February 2009
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank HRH_DAR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne
Level 4 Contributor
14 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed September 26, 2007

I didn't actually get to stay here! The bus i was on turned up about 2 hours later than had been anticipated and when i finally found this place down the dark dirty alley i walked through the dingy looking hallway and after a few minutes was finally greeted by someone at the front desk! He was quite simply rude, didn't want anything to do with me, i told him i had a reservation for the next 2 nights and gave him my name, he proceeded to tell me they had given my bed to someone else who came in and seemed desperate for a bed, apparently as i had turned up an hour later than i had indicated they just assumed i wouldn't be coming, despite the fact it was a confirmed reservation! When i asked him what i was meant to do for the night he told me most of the other places are booked and he didn't know what else to do but i couldn't stay there.
I ended up finding my way to the green tortoise (with thanks to USA hostels for putting me in their direction) and stayed there and had a really good stay!
I've been in and out of hostels around the world for the last 6 months and have never come across and never come across anything like this!!!
What a disgrace, i now need to check my credit card and pray they haven't charged me. (I'm bet they have though!) DISGRACE!

  • Stayed September 2007, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Aussieinengland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed June 15, 2007

I stayed at this hostel with my girlfriend for one night -- one night too many! It is located at the end of a dingy, creepy alley in San Francisco's Tenderloin district. If you want a shocking story to tell your friends about your stay in San Fran, the Union Square Backpackers Hostel will definitely deliver.

Originally we had reserved a private room for a full week, but upon being "greeted" by a positively hostile person at the front desk and finding no pillows or towels in the room, we decided we'd find other accommodations. I am totally accustomed to staying in hostels and have seen some sketchy places in my travels, but this place takes sketchy to a whole new level. There were feces on the toilet seat (seriously!), and, in the middle of the night, the exposed pipe in our room exploded and water was spraying everywhere. When we asked the guy who reluctantly (!) checked us in if he could keep an eye out for our delayed luggage which would be delivered that evening while we went out to get something to eat, he replied "maybe, if I'm around." He also ranted at length about another guest whom he called "schizophrenic" and "warned" us to stay away from the second floor. He aggressively interrogated us and made us feel super-uncomfortable. We were also creeped out by the fact that there were no women in sight -- all the other guests we saw were men.

The hostel is at the end of a dark, dirty alley in the Tenderloin district -- which is reputed to be unsafe (lots of drug use, etc. around -- but we didn't have any problems walking around at night); the sketchiest thing about the neighbourhood (hands down!) is definitely the Union Square Backpackers Hostel. It's adjacent to Union Square (the two neighbourhoods bleed into one another), but "Union Square Backpackers Hostel" is, strictly speaking, a misleading misnomer.

In the morning, when we informed another staff person that we were checking out and asked for a refund, he told us he was not "authorized" to give us one and that we'd have to come back when the owner was in. Luckily, the owner telephoned me on my cell later that afternoon. What was bizarre was that he was incredulous about our early check-out, and he wanted to know "what exactly" made us want to cancel our reservations for the remaining nights. He called back two or three other times and was very apologetic, and he refunded my credit card promptly. His reaction was entirely incongruous with the entire experience -- but it was a relief to find that no credit card fraud had been committed (I actually called my credit card company to flag the transaction).

Recommendation to prospective visitors: do not stay here. It's not actually significantly cheaper than other hostels in San Fran and you will probably not be able to tolerate more than a night's stay anyway. Exception: you're writing a bad novel and need some outrageous material.

  • Liked — Quite honestly, nothing comes to mind. There was one friendly guy (a guest) who helped us find some towels in a chaotic linen closet. Other than that chance encounter, nothing positive stands out.
  • Disliked — See above.
  • Stayed April 2007, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank Anna C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Union Square Backpacker's Hostel

Property: Union Square Backpacker's Hostel
Address: 70 Derby St, San Francisco, CA 94102-1221
Location: United States > California > San Francisco > Union Square
Hotel Style:
Ranked #29 of 50 Specialty Lodging in San Francisco
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 12
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Also Known As:
Union Square Backpacker`s Hotel San Francisco

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