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“Go Big or Go Home”

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Hostelling International - New York
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Victoria, Canada
Level 5 Contributor
54 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Go Big or Go Home”
Reviewed October 28, 2013

This is a massive hostel, I think it has over 600 beds, and the building is a great character buildings with a gothic style of construction. Location is decent - to the northwestern side of Central Park, about a 10-15 minute sub ride into Manhattan, it makes for a good base of operations. However, the neighbourhood is a bit on the shady side, especially towards Central Park.

Hostel has tons of amenities, including a huge kitchen, theater, lots of public spaces, laundry facilities, and even a cafe. Be advised, though, that breakfast is not included for more basic dorm accommodations. Baggage storage is also offered for those who arrive early. The lone elevator is terrible, and incredibly slow, so take the stairs when possible.

Dorm rooms are very basic, and could use an upgrade. Prices are expensive, >$50 minimum, but that is par for the course in New York. The rooms themselves need an upgrade, and traffic and heating/air conditioning noise levels are high. Don't expect good sleeps, especially in the larger dorm rooms. People will be coming and going all night (it's New York after all), and snorers will be common.

Staff are good, but do seem a bit disinterested. Customer service could use a bit of an upgrade, but they do the job. I was a few hours late for my check-in, and they had given away my bed, despite a reservation, but they did manage to accommodate my stay (had to change rooms a few times) and added free breakfast to make up for my inconvenience.

The hostel offers tons of free activities each day, either on or off the premises, so you will always have something to do. Also, the wireless is fairly decent, and there are lots of outlets for charging electronics. Also, lockers are included, so bring a lock.

On the whole, it's a good hostel, not a great one, but about as good as you will find in the Big Apple. There is little the hostel does not have, but the large size also leads to a bit of a non-human element to things. If I go back to New York, I would probably return.

Room Tip: Book directly through the hostel to avoid the HostelWorld fee.
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank neepsocks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Mexico City, Mexico
Level 4 Contributor
24 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed October 28, 2013

The hostel is conveniently located one block away from a subway station and near to Central Park, yes, but it is also a long long way from Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, the MoMA and other attractions. The shared rooms are crowded, I stayed in a room with other 11 people and some of them were messy, to say the least. I found food left over even though it is prohibited to eat in the rooms, according to the staff.

The shared bathrooms are clean with hot water at any time. The front desk staff is helpful but people in charge of cleaning the rooms do not seem to do a very good job. They don't replace your towel and sheets.

I did not try the food they serve but there is a cafeteria with reasonable prices and a couple of grocery stores in front of the hostel.

There are common rooms and some activities are carried away on them, try to hang out in the New York Room and not in the one with the pool table. I think there is a better vibe and the furniture seems to be newer. When I was in the room with the pool table people were drinking beer (also "prohibited" according to the house rules) and they were being noisy.

Tip: do try the local pub just one or two blocks ahead (Amsterdan Ave.), The Ellington, great service and awesome food with a nice atmosphere.

Room Tip: If possible ask for a room away from the street as Amsterdam Avenue can be really noisy, there are p...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank JTadeo R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed October 28, 2013

Having never been to a hostel before, I was utterly surprised at this place. I thought it was AMAZING. It felt more like a huge community centre and felt like a home from home.

Here's a list of the good points:
-cafe food was amazing and good value
-staff went above and beyond to help and are so friendly (big shout out to ODALIS, this guy is amazing!!)
- whole place was clean, modern, great atmosphere
-a few places to relax, hang out, play games.
-free bbq was excellent
-rooms were excellent, bathroom was excellent.
-comedy nights, tours and other entertainment was thoroughly enjoyable.
-great location next to central park, subway easy to get to other places.
-lockers were huge!!
-great storage in basement if you arrive early or on departure.
-kitchen is great, lots of facilities and storage space (we cooked in there easily).
-great value for money.
- would return and return and return and return!!

Can't stress enough how much my friends and I enjoyed it here, recommend all the way.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank sjane190
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alberta
Level 5 Contributor
62 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
Reviewed October 23, 2013

I like this place. I've been to New York three times with three different people and we've done well here. it's a hostel and a bit on the expensive side as far as hostels go (with prices for their private rooms, you could find a hotel deal) but still a cheap sleep for a city you won't do much lingering in your room in anyways. The staff are great - of course glitches are bound to happen, or there might be things you don't like, but for the things that did come up, they were quite happy to help.

My tips
- unless you have massive luggage when you're arrive/leaving, get to know and love the stairs here. If you're going to be scooting around New York a few stairs won't kill you and you won't have to wait for the one elevator that goes so slow, it would make turtles weep.
- bring an eye mask and good earplugs.One of our roommates snored like a small moterboat and I was quite glad to have earplugs.
- if breakfast is included in your room price, definitely get it (the bagels are tasty), but if not, get your butt out the door to the corner of Amsterdam and 103rd near where you catch the Subway and get one of the breakfast sandwiches from super nice man with the cart there. The Turkey bacon breakfast sandwich on a bagel is amazing and will keep you going all morning, and their coffee is decent too. For $3.00 it's hard to beat.
- bring shower shoes and a small bag to take toiletries with you to the shower, If you're off at a show and know you'll be coming in late, stash your pj's and phone chargers in here too, so when you get back you can remove it from your locker without being noisy.
- if you're near a window that's kept open to keep fresh air flowing in the room, do a spider check around your bed. I got a few bites from one that apparently thought my bed was his, but didn't have any problem after the next night when he had an encounter with my shoe.
- extra towels and blankets are available at the front desk. If you tend to get cold at night, get at least one extra blanket ASAP.
- get a Manhattan bus map from the front desk and use it, after you've initially taken the #1 subway line there. The M7 bus (I think) goes to and from the hostel on Amsterdam Ave/Columbus Ave from places downtown and you get to see far more than if you're on the Subway,Columbus Ave, especially between about 85th and 72nd Street has great shopping and is a lot less hectic than many streets and totally worth a visit.
- if you're trying to save money on food, there's a grocery store right on Amsterdam near the subway stop, and the hostel has a great kitchen facility in the basement. Personally, i think there's also some great cheap food to be had and I'd rather do that though.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
2 Thank bohemian_duck
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Level 6 Contributor
99 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
Reviewed October 22, 2013

This was my first time traveling alone and my first time staying at a hostel. I was very prepared reading-wise. Read so many articles on what to bring and what to expect on staying at a hostel. HI-NYC was very accommodating and I really don't have a big issue with anything! Here are some tips for people who are interested in staying there:
1.) If you will be staying at HI-NYC for the entirety of the trip, they provide shampoo/body wash. I was a girl scout so I really am low-maintenance girl. I was surprised that there was already a pump on the wall with shampoo/body wash I can use as I brought my own shampoo and soap because of all the articles I read about hostels.
2.) Towel - again, if this is the only hostel you will be staying, save some room on your luggage/backpack and don't bring a towel. They provide one (although don't put it in the hamper if you don't want to be charged for asking for a new one). I stayed there for 4 days 3 nights so one towel was good enough for that duration.
3.) Hair dryer - there's only one, attached to the wall. I didn't need one at all, thankfully my hair was OK in fishtail braid every day for 4 days.
4.)Noise - not a lot of noise on the street after 9pm because it's situated in the upper west side and right across a magnet school. The noise mostly came from the other dormers who would come back at around 3-4am from clubbing.

Aside from all this, they had walking tours for free and up to $10 but I didn't get to participate in any because my days were all filled! I would have loved to do the Central Park walking tour for free but I was an hour late when I arrived at the hostel on the first day and they only do it twice a week.

Lots of pubs and bars and clubs around and the 1,2,3 and A and B subway lines are all about 2-3 blocks away.

Breakfast is free! You can choose from bagel w/ cream cheese or butter, donut, or cereal. And one piece of fruit (banana or apple). And tea/coffee/orange juice. The cafe is stocked with other delicious looking stuff that were expensive but pretty. Was not able to try any of those since I ate like a local and stuck with Gray's Papaya/ hotdog stands in the streets.

Dorm is key-card access so that made my stay more relaxed. Beside the beds, there are lockers that are more than enough to put my carry-on rolling luggage. I brought my own padlock so I didn't need to rent one.

Overall, this was a great stay. Will probably stay here again when I come back to NYC.

The only bad thing was really the price (very high compared to the other hostels in the area) and the very, very, very slow elevator.

If you have any questions regarding my stay, ask me!

Room Tip: Stayed at the 6-female dorm room in the 3rd floor. No problems. Bring your own padlock. Bring flip f...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Erika B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Talcahuano, Chile
Level 6 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed October 21, 2013

I stayed in this hostel for the first time in March 2002 and I have been back 6 times after that (last trip was January 2013). I love NYC and HI New York has become my home away from home. I have seen the improvements they have made throughout the years which has shown me that they care about their guests and are always trying to make it a better, more comfortable place.
- The beds are comfortable and most of them have a reading lamp for each one. Bedding, one blanket and one towel are provided.
- The showers and bathroom are cleaned frequently during the day. The showers, although located in common bathrooms, are in individual stalls with a latch in the door. They also have a space before the shower (separated by the shower-curtain) where you can leave your clothes and change.
- There is a big kitchen on the basement equipped with fridges, stoves, microwaves, pots and pans and china. You can cook or heat your food. There is also a dining room next to the kitchen.
- The common rooms are spacious and comfortable.
- There is free wifi.
- It's only one block from the subway station (train 1).
- The staff is always very friendly and helpful.
- There is a locker for each bed so you can keep your valuable there (you have to provide the padlock)

My only complaint is the very slow elevator but I think all the good things overshadow this one handicap.

Those who have never stayed in a hostel must understand that a big part of your experience will have to do with the people staying in your dorm. People in hostels come and go at different times and most probably someone will make noise and/or turn on the light while you are sleeping. Unless they are especially noisy, you have to accept that. If you are too sensitive to noise/light or if you are a light sleeper maybe a hostel is not for you. Try to keep your things in your locker/suitcase or on your bed. If your roommates are too messy, don't hesitate in asking them (kindly) to tidy up a little or leave them a note.

Room Tip: Dorms with less beds also have more room to leave your suitcase and move around.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank SariChile
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Delhi, Delhi, India
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed October 14, 2013

I swear by the Hostelling internationals everywhere and NYC was no exception. In a city that never sleeps, one needs to live at a place that never sleeps either and HI-NYC is just that. It has an ever welcoming and pleasant staff ready to address all your travel queries and requirements. The Hostel is clean, safe and buzzing with life. Just two minutes away from the 103rd street subway station, it is easy to reach and is located at the most premium 5th Avenue, Central Park West. There are always events happening that guests can be a part of: Pub crawls, comedy nights and guided city walks. For the price it charges, it is definitely the best pick for budget travellers!
Tips:
*Make sure you pick the discount coupons for various attractions in the city, available in the computer room (I got a $5 discount at Madamme Tussad's wax museum tickets!).
* Carry a padlock for your locker.

Room Tip: If you are expecting breakfast, make sure you book a premium room, breakfast is not included for eve...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Prachi K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hostelling International - New York

Property: Hostelling International - New York
Address: 891 Amsterdam Ave., New York City, NY 10025-4403
Phone Number:
Location: United States > New York > New York City > Upper West Side
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Suites Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 164 Specialty Lodging in New York City
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2 star — Hostelling International - New York 2*
Number of rooms: 92
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
HI-New York is located in a landmark building on the Upper West Side. One block from Broadway and a main subway line. Minutes from glorious Central Park. Situated near Central Park and Columbia University, the hostel is in a historic Victorian Gothic-style building on the Upper West Side. It organizes walking tours, sporting events, group outings to concerts and more. There is capacity for 672 guests, and facilities include internet access, kitchen and laundry. From an all-day walking tour to a viewing of a New York movie in our cozy TV room to a quiet cup of coffee in our cafe, Hostelling International New York has everything you need to make your group happy. Play the latest games on Play Station 2. Check your email without leaving the hostel. Wash and dry your clothes in our new laundry room on the second floor. Pick up subway/bus MetroCards, sundries, NY souvenirs, calling cards, and more. The hostel is located steps from the subways and minutes from Times Square and other major NYC attractions. Ask our friendly staff what they can do for you. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hostelling International - New York Hotel New York City

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