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“The best hostel in the US, best place to stay in San Diego”

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Hostelling International San Diego Downtown
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Reviewed July 27, 2010

I have been to hostels all over the world. This hostel is the nicest hostel I have stayed in. This staff is incredibly helpful, respectful, and knowledgeable about the city. That is what makes this hostel the best I have stayed at.
This is the most friendly, humble, but wise and knowledgeable staff there is. Great job to the managers who hired this staff. They are very good. A notch above all other hostel employees I have seen around the world.
This hostel is very clean, very safe, very friendly, in a super location, which does, depending on room, can make it hard to sleep on a Fri. and Sat. night. But they do provide earplugs. This hostel has it covered.
The free pancake breakfast in this super clean, super friendly, world class kitchen is a super way to meet people, plan your day, and get energy to walk all day.
The kitchen is what makes a hostel, and this kitchen is the best I have seen.

I would highly recommend this to anyone. I even looked at the private rooms, and with that said, I would extend the recommendation to newly weds on their honeymoon. That is how nice this hostel is. And soooo safe also.

They even provide you, provide you Pina Colada soap to bathe with. And this is no joke. I went to a 5-star hotel just 3 blocks away, to use the restroom. When I washed my hands, this 5-star hotel was providing the same soap as the hostel. Only $200 a night cheaper.
This hostel is so good.

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled solo
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Thank BlessI
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
agmdowntown, Manager at Hostelling International San Diego Downtown, responded to this reviewResponded August 2, 2010

We are super happy to hear that you had such a wonderful time while staying with us. Compliments such as this one are what we are striving for. Glad you liked the Pina Colada soap too :). Thanks for the review and your business!

Dave Proulx
Assistant GM

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Reviews (355)
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Reviewed July 26, 2010

I've stayed at the San Diego Downtown Hostelling International location a few times over the past 5 years, while attending San Diego Comic-Con for mostly professional reasons. I have always found the staff to be very helpful and professional, friendly and approachable. They'll go above & beyond, whether it be with little details like making sure you have exact change for the bus, or helping resolve a package delivery problem with UPS. It may not be a 5-star hotel, but I'd say they have a 5-star staff.

The hostel has a nice, casual, "homey" sort of atmosphere, all sorts of spots to meet other travelers or just disappear into a book, couches & such throughout the wider hallways, a large kitchen / dining area to cook & dine, a TV room with very comfortable couches. While not all shiny & new, I've always found rooms & common areas clean and tidy. There are various events frequently scheduled for guests, such as a themed dinner or a movie night, and lots of information about local venues & events. Shelves lined with books shared by other travelers, free wi-fi that's never failed me, computers available for paid use, eclectic decor & a location that can't be beat right in the Gaslamp quarter, it's got character, charm, and reliability. Due to the great location, you can hear street noise at night in some common areas like the dining room, but I've never had noise interfere with sleep at night in the rooms. I'm not sure what the area is like during the non-Comic-Con rest of the year, but I suspect it's a bunch quieter, anyway.

I have really enjoyed my stays there, and look forward to future visits.

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled on business
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Thank ashears04
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
agmdowntown, Manager at Hostelling International San Diego Downtown, responded to this reviewResponded July 27, 2010

Great to hear you had a good time! That is what we strive for. Hope to see you next Comic-Con.

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Reviewed July 21, 2010

The hostel is located right in the center of a neighborhood absolutely full of nightlife. This may be a plus for most people, and it is a nice place to walk around. But it made for difficult sleep - the noise from the street (mostly the sound of music from bars and clubs) was very very loud. And I am someone who has lived in cities for several years and is usually not bothered by street noise.

The location is pretty good otherwise, but it is a bit of a trek if you want to get to any of the sights that are outside of downtown San Diego (Pacific Beach, La Jolla, that sort of thing) via public transportation. Also, the restaurants nearby were slightly too expensive for my budget (in the $15-$20/meal range).

The hostel itself was perfectly fine. Clean enough, though it certainly has a bit of a worn-in look. The biggest downside was that there were only two single bathrooms on our floor. So you often had to wait to use the bathroom in the mornings and evenings. Kind of a pain.

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank kratsayra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
agmdowntown, Manager at Hostelling International San Diego Downtown, responded to this reviewResponded July 22, 2010

Thanks for the review. We really appreciate the business, and the time you took to review us. I understand the noise can be a bit of an issue. At the moment, we offer free earplugs at our front desk, and we are looking into budgetting for new windows in the future. Hope to see you again soon, and thanks again!

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Reviewed June 2, 2010

Our stay in the hostel was fine. The room and bathroom were clean and the location was perfect - right in the middle of the Gaslamp district. The staff was slow and easy going... I had to keep reminding myself that I was on the West Coast and that I wasn't in a rush (I'm from NYC). The kitchen is huge and has lots of room, several sinks, stoves and many different utensils and cookware. Overall I would recommend this hostel to a friend if they wanted to stay right in downtown San Diego but didnt want to pay for the expensive hotels.

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank ahp21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
agmdowntown, Manager at Hostelling International San Diego Downtown, responded to this reviewResponded June 7, 2010

Thanks for the review! All our best!

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Reviewed May 19, 2010

If you are looking for somewhere to stay that is located near the best nightlife downtown san diego has to offer, look no further. Right outside your door is everything you could ask for. The staff is very helpful, the rooms are clean, and best of all, the rates are very reasonable. The only possible drawback is that it can be loud at night due to the location; but if you are looking merely for a quiet place to just sit in your room, you probably shouldn't be looking at hostels in the first place. I highly recommend this for anyone looking to experience all downtown san diego has to offer.

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank rjones241
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
agmdowntown, Manager at Hostelling International San Diego Downtown, responded to this reviewResponded June 1, 2010

Thanks for the great review! Hope to see you again soon.

David Proulx

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Reviewed May 13, 2010

There is no reason not to stay here if you are travelling to downtown San Diego! The staff is amazing - super nice and welcoming. The place has an awesome layout, with great artwork and design. There are tons of rooms (always clean!) and I feel like they must have something for everyone. The mattress was also super comfy (unlike a lot of other hostels I've stayed in). Parking isn't a big deal because there are a bunch of parking garages around... and even though they say its something like $7 or $10 to park, the couple times I've parked there I've never had to pay when I leave. The LOCATION is unbelievable - in the heart of the gaslamp quarter. You can't find a better deal!!

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled with friends
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Thank alana894
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
agmdowntown, Manager at Hostelling International San Diego Downtown, responded to this reviewResponded May 17, 2010

Thanks for the great review, we really appreciate it!

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Reviewed March 26, 2010

If you consider to stay there also consider yourself as most probably mad. There is no way to rest, no way to get some sleep, especially in room 301. You better stay on the street as the noise level is exactly the same as in the room and you don't need to pay for it. Madness. Staff were rude. Do not stay there.

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank 19MJ74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
agmdowntown, Assistant Manager at Hostelling International San Diego Downtown, responded to this reviewResponded April 22, 2010

We apologize for the inconvenience of your stay, and will be contacting you privately in an attempt to resolve the situation. We greatly appreciate your business and the time you took to review our hostel.

-HI San Diego Downtown

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Additional Information about Hostelling International San Diego Downtown

Address: 521 Market St, San Diego, CA 92101
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > San Diego
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 65 Specialty Lodging in San Diego
Price Range: $46 - $144 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:1.5 star — Hostelling International San Diego Downtown 1.5*
Number of rooms: 48
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We’re here to help you with the most central and accessible hostel in San Diego. Let our award winning staff ensure you receive the most comfortable and enjoyable hostel stay you’ve ever had. We offer a myriad of free tours and activities, and all of our beds are Tempur-Pedic mattresses. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hostelling International San Diego Downtown Hotel San Diego

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