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“Unfriendly service, noisy, scalding-freezing shower”

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San Francisco City Center Hostel
Certificate of Excellence
Central Saanich, Canada
Level Contributor
64 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 106 helpful votes
“Unfriendly service, noisy, scalding-freezing shower”
Reviewed August 2, 2012

Other than the price of this hostel (which, for a private room at over $100/night is not even that cheap), I can't really say much positive about this place. For some reason, the quality of this place has declined since my and wife's last visit over two years ago.

PROS: (1) San Francisco does not have many affordable accommodations (by "affordable" I mean under $200/night) so a hostel is usually an OK bet if you're on a limited budget. SF City Center hostel offers private rooms at about $100 a night. This is a deal if you can get in and out of the room as fast as possible. (2) The hostel and room are reasonably clean. Linens are clean. No complaints there. (3) Free WiFi and free continental breakfast were good deals.

CONS: (1) Our room (215) was noisy as all hell, with the single-paned glass window looking out over an alley with garbage bags piled up in a heap and a noisy air conditioner unit and people yelling at each other at all hours of the night (remember, this IS in San Francisco's ghetto, after all). (2) One or two staff members were friendly (including the very nice cleaning lady), but for the most part were indifferent. The front desk male staff member with the German/Norwegian/something accent needs to learn to smile and show some friendliness. (3) Water pressure and temperature are unacceptable: my wife nearly scalded herself after trying to have a shower with varying water pressure. While the hostel is in an old hotel, there's a few things that every place should have as a minimum and that's steady water temperature.

As other reviewers have commented, and I'd agree, this hostel is in the heart of a very poor district. This is fine if you are just going to walk to other places in the city, but certainly not a neighbourhood for relaxing evening strolls. That having been said, if you're trying to save a dollar then I suppose this place will give you that option, but given the decline since our last visit and the negative experience I will not be returning nor would I recommend if you can afford something else or can stay elsewhere.

Room Tip: All rooms are noisy.
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
18 Thank Adrian D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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416 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
  • Location
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (40)
Date | Rating
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English first
Level Contributor
14 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed July 21, 2012 via mobile

The people are great! Breakfast is great! They really work with you and around what you have planned. Shout out to Erin and Janice! They rock. I give the whole experience a two thumbs up. If you are on a budget and want something flexible, stay here. You will have a blast and will be well taken care of.

  • Stayed July 2012
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank nigerianfromhouston
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Main Beach, Australia
2 reviews
Reviewed July 11, 2012

I stayed here three weeks ago and loved it . From the minute i walked in i was helped so much by the staff . They had breakfast for us in the morning which was really good . The communal areas work really well your almost guaranteed to meet people . Where you eat your breakfast turns into the bar at night where you can meet like minded people . They have and old school elevator there that i really liked . I had my own private room which was really good . I thought all hostels in the USA were going to be like this but i was wrong this was one of the best i stayed in in the USA .It is situated in an area where there is a high concentration of homeless but i and the people i met there found that easy to deal with .

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Steve M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
25 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed July 10, 2012

This hostel was great! Had a nice open area to relax in at night, the staff were great, talked me through everywhere I could go and were very friendly.

The breakfast was free but very limited! I ended up buying my own cereal though the $1 pancake option was a nice extra. Tea and Coffee was also free and available at all times of day. I was a bit alarmed when I was told never to turn right when leaving the hostel and try to never approach from that direction too but as the hostel is on a corner you have 3 other directions and therefore routes to reach any destination. The reason was drug addicts tend to linger on the street. Add to the unease when a drug addict wandered in, high as a kite, when I arrived at the hostel at 4am but he was shooed out immediately with little to no fuss; I'd imagine that this happens fairly regularly.

However, it had a nice atmosphere there; there was a movie night where they played Halloween for everyone which was nice.

The room was fairly small but had an ensuite which was a nice bonus!

Stayed October 2011, traveled solo
Helpful?
Thank girlwelshdragon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rocklin, California
Level Contributor
14 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed July 9, 2012

We love to utilize the San Francisco hostels, especially those run by Hostelling International (HI). The City Center hostel has, by far, the most comfortable beds and the most amenities. The wine and beer bar is a lot of fun, right on the premises. The mattresses are all tempur-pedic-like, even the bunk beds in the dorms! Bedding and linens are provided, and there is a bathroom in every room! The location is a little seedy, especially at night. But very close to bus stops, Union Square and Chinatown. We find it very easy to get around from this location. Parking is not always available on the street, due to street cleaning. There are several parking garages around the area, but you will pay more to park your car than you will for a bed! C'est la vie, it's San Francisco!

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank JulieandScott
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
605 reviews
74 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 397 helpful votes
Reviewed July 9, 2012

I can't believe the location! We felt so unsafe walking into the city centre through gangs and burning mattresses. Not good! Had to get taxis everywhere. The hostel itself was fine though. Nice staff complimentary jellybeans a nice touch!

Stayed September 2011, traveled with friends
Helpful?
1 Thank TravellingOrange
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Austin
Level Contributor
26 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed June 4, 2012

Absolutely LOVED this place. I got the private room, and it was very nice. Spacious, with my own bathroom. Clean and comfortable bed/linens. Staff is AWESOME. Very helpful with directions, recommendations etc...
Some people will take issue with the neighborhood it's in, the Tenderloin, but it's not THAT bad. Hostel is on the edge of it, so you don't really even have to walk through the majority of the sketch if you don't want to. I walked straight through it several times, and while there is a bunch of sketch and homeless all over the place, if you walk with purpose, you are left alone. Didn't really feel afraid at all. Don't let it stop you from staying here.

Room Tip: If you can afford it, go for the private room.
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank ExistenceNow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about San Francisco City Center Hostel

Property: San Francisco City Center Hostel
Address: 685 Ellis St, San Francisco, CA 94109-8027
Location: United States > California > San Francisco
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 50 Specialty Lodging in San Francisco
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:1.5 star — San Francisco City Center Hostel 1.5*
Number of rooms: 75
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Experience budget travel at its best: Both private and shared rooms available (only 4-5 beds per dorm), all rooms with private bathroom, restaurant-quality guest kitchen, cafe serving free continental breakfast, free WiFi, DSL Internet lounge, free linens and towels, daily housekeeping, keycard security, plush common areas, free/low-cost daily activities and tours, and no curfews, chores, or lockouts. Recently renovated 1920s hotel near San Francisco's best affordable restaurants, diverse nightlife, and world-class Civic Center arts district. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hostelling International San Francisco City Hotel San Francisco

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