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.

“Nice, clean hostel in chinatown”

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
Hostelling International Seattle at American Hotel
Reviewed May 19, 2013

The hostel is clean and the staff is friendly as in most HI-Hostels. The hostel is located in Chinatown, meaning not directly in the middel of Seattle. To get to the middle of Seattle one need to walk uphill.
If you arrive when it is already dark outside, keep in mind the house number, as there is no illuminated sign that you see it directely.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Patricia435
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Larry L, General Manager at Hostelling International Seattle at American Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded May 30, 2013

Patricia, Thank you for the kind review. There are also metro buses nearby if you would prefer to ride rather than walk. We have an illuminated sign in our window for those out after dark. Just look for the building with the big awnings on King St between 5th and 6th avenue. Thanks again and travel safe.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review
Reviews (298)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
Language
  • More languages

171 - 177 of 298 reviews

Reviewed May 7, 2013 via mobile

The Hostal is laying athe gate of chinatown. It is a 15 min walk to downtown and 10 min to the old part of seattle annd 20 min to Pike Place Market. That's for me "central", because I don't liike to be in the middle (no parking place, very noisy a.s.o.) this is not at this place.
Most importand: It is 5 min from "Cafe Zeitgeist". You must not be a friend of Nietzsche, but this Cafe is beautifull, same as only really a few Cafes in Europe. Don't miss it!
the Hostal is a good place to stay. The rooms are small with metallic beds, sometimes only a small window to the backyard. But it is ok to sleep, becauuse I always had quiett neighbors and the bed was alright to sleep. You may say, that the rooms are poor, that's right.
But the athmosphere of the hostal is absolutely great. In the morning you will meat lucky people in the breakfast-room and you can take a good and rich breakfast.
Ii allways met intelligent people to speek with, they gave us good tips for Seattle and everybody was very friendly, even the stuff.

At least I may say: I am a retired professor of Philosphie and Arts and I made 82 one-week-travells with my students all over Europe, therfore I'm a big fan of hostals and I hate the "petit bourgeois atmosphere" of Best Western or Holyday Inns.
In Hostals are mostly youg people with open mind, looking for something new. But there are also older people like me (70) last year I met a colegue, an old professor from Minnesota and a teacher from Wiiscosin, that was great, we had interesting speaks from breakfast until noon.

So, if you are looking for a good place to stay in Seattle, try the Hostalling International. Poor rooms, but good athmosphere and lovely people.
And perhaps: Have a look at Cafe Zeitgeist.

  • Stayed: July 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Peter K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AHManagement, General Manager at Hostelling International Seattle at American Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded May 13, 2013

Thank your for your thoughtful comments. I agree that some hotels can be a litle boring. There is never a dull moment here. Travel safe!

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 13, 2013

Our room was big for a hostel and painted yellow, but it was quite noisy because of an old window and noise from street.The continental breakfast were basic, but generous with peanut butter, cereals, Philadelphia, etc.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank jan k
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AHManagement, General Manager at Hostelling International Seattle at American Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded May 13, 2013

Thanks for taking the time to write a review. We certainly appreciate it and your patronage. Travel safe!

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 18, 2013

I travel the world staying at hostels, and the H.I. International Hostel, also known as American Hotel, is a great place to stay when in Seattle.
It is friendly, big, comfortable, and exceptionally clean.
The dorm rooms are fairly large, with lockers for everyone, as well as bedside lights, and.....a first for me, a tiny fan for each bed, which was very welcome in the hot (yes, even in winter they were hot) rooms.
The shower stall was tiny, but the hot water very hot and plentiful. Their automated paper towel dispensers were new to me too, and very welcome.
The kitchen is huge, and very well appointed to allow you to cook for yourself.
Breakfast is provided...another PLUS! Fruit juice, oranges, bananas, porridge, cereal, milk, bagels, toast, buns, cream cheese and jams and spreads. You could not ask for a better spread.
The dining room/common room is large with lots of tables and chairs, benches to write on etc.
Coffee and tea are on 24 hours.
The laundry is huge and has coin in the slot washers and dryers which are not expensive.
The TV room is big and comfortable with couches and very cosy chairs.
The hostel is right over the road from trains and buses, and, being in Chinatown, has many restaurants from which to choose, as well as one of the best pizza places...WORLD PIZZA just down the streeet, who have Happy Hour from 3-6, with cheap, delicious pizza.
My only complaint was a group of middle eastern guys who decided not to sleep two nights running, so they congregated in the dining area and made a heck of a noise talking and laughing. I am a very early riser, and went downstairs to contact family on the other side of the world on my computer, but I had no hope of some peace and quiet. To their credit, when I asked them to be quiet, they did apologise.

Room Tip: I think you would be happy with any room you were designated. I asked for a lower bunk because of m...
See more room tips
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank GoldenOlden
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Larry L, General Manager at Hostelling International Seattle at American Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded March 19, 2013

Golden, Thanks so much for the kind review. We appreciate your comments and patronage. We hope to see you again! May all your travels be rewarding. Cheers.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 14, 2013

Caution, LONG.

I read a lot of good feedback about this place, so when I took a side trip to Seattle from Vancouver, B.C., I decided to check this place out for myself and conduct an independent review.

LOCATION/SAFETY/SECURITY
I was initially very hesitant after being told that Seattle’s International District, Pioneer Square & Belltown were dangerous, crime infested neighborhoods (I even considered getting extra travel insurance) but I found the negative reports posted on online forums to be grossly exaggerated. From what you’d read, you’d think there’d be drive by shootings, gang thugs and drug junkies all the length of King Street, but that wasn’t the case at all. I walked around the ID, Yesler Way and Downtown somewhat late (around 9-10PM) to the hostel and the worst I’ve encountered were bums (there were quite a few) who’d ask you for some spare change – something you’d likely come across ANY city in the world. I even chatted with the local shop keepers about the safety issue and they agreed with my observations. Just exercise the usual precautions you’d do back home, don’t be an idi_t, and you should be fine there*.

*Note: About a week after I arrived though, a Vancouver tourist was reported in the news to have been assaulted without provocation around the vicinity of Pine & 2nd Street.

This hostel in the ID is an excellent, centrally located place to explore the sights of Seattle.

Entry to the establishment, the residential floors, as well to each room is restricted by keycard access, and if the bad guys get pass that, every resident gets assigned a metal locker where you use your own lock (actually a better practice than using an unsecure hotel room safe). The lockers can fit the heftier 50mm size padlocks also if you want to be paranoid. ;)

CLEANLINESS/ROOMS/FACILITIES/KITCHEN & BREAKFAST OPTIONS
My train from Vancouver pulled in around noon, and upon check in I walked around and inspected the numerous bathrooms, even one which appeared to have recently been used and found them to be very clean. I checked the grout in the bathroom attached to my private room (a “suite” by hostel standards) and surprisingly found it cleaner than my own shower back home. Not a speck of mildew at all!

The pillows, sheets and comforter were clean, and the mattress was of memory foam (I prefer a firmer one though) and more importantly, no bugs or vermin were encountered.
Take note however, that I stayed for 3 nights during the “low season” (Feb), and conditions might be different if the hostel were packed full and housekeeping stretched to their limits, such as in the summer.

All the pictures posted by management on the hotel website as well as this site are the same as you’d find them at the actual hostel itself.

The hostel is in an old, but adequately refurbished building. Turning up the thermostat on the old radiator would be accompanied by a loud clunking noise, so I just left it alone on the first night in consideration of other guests. The windows were very old, thin glass, so in line with this hostel’s commitment to green practices, some improvement as to better insulated glass may be considered. The pigeons cooing outside my window every morning reminded me of my old apartment back in New York so I felt right at home.

A large selection of bread, bagels, oatmeal and 2 fruits (bananas & oranges) were readily available at breakfast (they ought to crazy glue the broken handle of one of the toasters though – it kept popping off)


WIFI (Now a necessity to travelers in this age of e tickets & online booking)
Fair to Poor. I don’t know if this is a fault attributable to the hostel though. The average traveler would need only low to mid speed connections to make bookings, buy tickets, check emails and access bank websites, but as with most public networks, its likely that other inconsiderate residents would be hogging the bandwidth by accessing more demanding applications, streaming movies, Skype or downloading huge files to their devices. During my stay, the network kept disconnecting. They said some IT guy came and fixed the problem, but the issue persisted more or less during the 2nd and 3rd night.

PRICE/CHECK IN/CONCIERGE
My gripe here is their being somewhat vague about the total amount it would cost to stay per night. If you stay at a hostel, that generally means you’re on a budget, and must know how much you need to hand over when you check in (and have some left over to eat, spend on attractions and pay your bus fares). While it has been explained that there is a limitation on the part of booking engines concerning taxes, I don’t think its too difficult to post on the website “+ so & so percent taxes” and let the traveler do the math on their own. When I arrived, I paid for the first night in cash. When I looked at the receipt however, the section on the thermal paper where the numbers should be were completely blank! This set alarm bells ringing so I decided to pay for the other 2 nights with my credit card. That way, in case anything hanky panky were going on, they’d have to fight my bank instead of me. I didn’t get any problems checking out nor have any unauthorized charges appeared in my statement, so I assume everything’s above board.

To be fair, omitting to mention taxes & other fees appears to be a standard practice (or a running joke on tourists) throughout the entire Pacific Northwest either North or South of the border. =p When I tried the booking website of a well known hotel chain to figure out how much it would cost to stay at their establishment in Seattle, it had a vague statement that “other charges may apply upon check out”. Oh well. Either way, what I paid for during my stay in this hostel is relatively cheaper that what I’d pay for in a standard hotel for a similar length of stay. To think that I had a private room & shower, free breakfasts and was able to interact with a lot of interesting people while I was there was really great!

CONCLUSION
If you’ve managed to read this far, you would know I’d definitely stay there again. In fact, unless they get complacent & sloppy after the writing of this report, cost wise and amenity wise, I’d even prefer to stay here (in a private room with shower though) than any other establishment when I’m in Seattle. Excellent!

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Nurikabe_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Larry L, General Manager at Hostelling International Seattle at American Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded March 19, 2013

Nurikabe_12, Thanks for writing such a detailed and honest review. We work very hard to keep our hostel clean and secure. You will find the conditions the same during our busy season. We have an excellent housekeeping crew and a great maintenance person and they keep things in top shape. Some travelers expect more from a hostel but we are basic and clean. Again, thanks so much for the thoughtful review. Travel safe.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 31, 2013

Not impressed. Firstly, this is the only hotel / hostel I've stayed in over 3 months in the USA that did not include the tax in the ''payment upon arrival'' total on the receipt. I understand it doesn't show on the price quote, but when it says 'total payment upon arrival', to not include the tax is misleading and all other hotels do this once a booking is made. An extra $25 was added which actually is enough to make one look at other establishments. It's like a restaurant getting me to sign for a bill and then doing a seperate charge without my permission. The front staff did not seem to care, the heater in the room was so loud it was unusable at night time, the shower curtain rod kept falling down, the window was so poor it was almost just as quiet if it was open which also meant the cold air came in, the price that I was charged I expected much better quality and value for money than I received, would have been better to pay slightly more for a hotel or even stay at a motel 6. I've been to 20 countries world wide and this is the worst hostel I've been to value for money wise. Look elsewhere if you can

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank TheTravelingPanda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Larry L, General Manager at Hostelling International Seattle at American Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded March 19, 2013

AJ1189, So sorry your experience wasn't what you expected. None of our booking engines quote tax. I agree the statements on these sites can be misleading. So, please accept my apologies. I hope your future travles are enjoyable and problem free.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 28, 2013

Within one block of the International District light rail station, four blocks from the Amtrak station, the American Hostel in Seattle is everything you expect in a well-run hostel. The place is clean. The staff is helpful. The bathrooms function just fine. The stairs up from the street are a bit intimidating for a heavy pack. Nice place!

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Rakkasan68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Larry L, General Manager at Hostelling International Seattle at American Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded March 19, 2013

Rakkasan68, Thanks so much for the kind comments. We appreciate your patronage and hope to see you again!

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
Travelers also viewed these Seattle hotels
Hotel Nexus Seattle
#70 of 104 in Seattle
806 reviews
Downtown
Panama Hotel
Panama Hotel
#87 of 104 in Seattle
191 reviews
University District
The College Inn
The College Inn
#94 of 104 in Seattle
99 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
Pioneer Square
Best Western Plus Pioneer Square Hotel
Inn at Queen Anne
#73 of 104 in Seattle
1,084 reviews
Georgetown Inn
#17 of 104 in Seattle
545 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Hostelling International Seattle at American Hotel? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Hostelling International Seattle at American Hotel

Address: 520 S King St, Seattle, WA 98104-2834 (Formerly American Hotel)
Location: United States > Washington > Seattle > International District
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 29 Specialty Lodging in Seattle
Price Range: $40 - $93 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 90
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hostelling International Seattle, Seattle’s premier hostel, which is conveniently located at the historic American Hotel in the International District of downtown Seattle.Renovated in 2009, Bicycle rentals, Common rooms, Computers (to check e-mail and the web, print boarding passes, etc.),Credit cards accepted,Discounts to Seattle attractions,Grocery store (one-block away), kitchen (self-serve), laundry, & library/game room. ... more   less 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com so you can book your Hostelling International Seattle at American Hotel 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.

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