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HI - San Diego (Downtown) The Metropolitan Hostel

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Hostelz.com's Review
In the dead center of the hottest nightlife in town, HI - San Diego (Downtown) The Metropolitan Hostel is the choice location for many who are looking to enjoy a social experience in an active place. The wacky, bright color coordination on the walls creates a positive, friendly atmosphere.

The Location

The location couldn't be better if you are looking for action during your stay. The Gaslamp district of San Diego is teeming with activity all hours of the day. Sleep can be somewhat hampered by the noise of the neighborhood, but a good set of earplugs should cut out the majority of the offending noises.

The hostel is easy to spot: There is a big sign saying "Hostel" near the roof of the building in huge blue lettering. The hostel is less than a fifteen-minute walk from the greyhound station, the trolley station, and many bus stops going in every direction. In addition, the Transit Center (a store that sells monthly passes for the Metro Transit System as well as giving out information to help you find your way) is only a short walk away as well.

The parking situation at the hostel is abysmal at best. There are no parking spots designated or owned by the hostel, and all of the parking lots around are overpriced per-hour parking. Guests usually park on the street if they have a car and generally make sure to wake up by 8 a.m. to pay for parking at their designated parking meter.

Rooms and Bathrooms

The rooms are clean and well-maintained. The doors are locked automatically and entry can only be gained by use of a card key with a magnetized strip (similar to credit card technology). If a card key happens to be lost or stolen, the staff can easily make you a new one, therefore disabling the previous one.

There are various room sizes available, the lowest end (and cheapest price) being a ten bed dorm. The beds in the dorm rooms are typically aluminum-frame, twin-sized bunk beds. Private rooms are available for higher prices. These rooms are quite large and typically have wooden queen-sized bed frames. Not all private rooms have their own restroom.

There are mid-sized lockers available for free in the room -- one for each bed. You need to bring your own lock. In dorms, some of the lockers available are aluminum frame, but some are wood, and seem similar to cabinets than lockers. The wooden lockers do not give a very good sense of security for your items as they seem easy to break into.

Some of the dorm rooms have showers and bathrooms affixed to them. The restrooms available in-room are typically small (but not cramped) with a toilet and shower. The showers are long and quite roomy. The water is always hot. The showers are typically clean in the dorm restrooms, although in the common restrooms, there are often small amounts of mold forming.

Sinks are available in each room. They are industrial-size and typically have three shelves on the wall behind them. There is neither soap nor a dish for soap in the rooms -- each guest must bring their own. There is a paper towel dispenser next to the sinks, which works on typical crank design.

Common Spaces

The hostel has one very roomy kitchen. The kitchen is equipped with two consumer-grade stoves, each with four burners on top for cooking. There is a industrial-sized refrigerator available for use by guests, providing they fill in a supplied label with their name and room number and affix it to their food package. A full cutlery set is available. Large and small knives, forks, spoons, plates, coffee mugs, and water cups are available in large quantities for guest use. Pots and pans are also provided. The kitchen is cleaned every day by an in-house housekeeping staff of three or more and is usually cleaned around noon each day.

Adjacent to the kitchen, there is a large seating area with two large dining room tables as well as couches provided. Down the hall, a TV room can be found. Four couches are provided for lounging. This room has a restroom in it as well as a small computer terminal for paid internet access. In every hallway, three couches provide enough seating for every guest. Board games and reading material can be found at each of these locations. The free Wi-Fi provided makes it easy to get work done or communicate with friends online, but don't expect to find a quiet space to work, as there isn't one.

A “pack room” is located in the lobby area, where guests can store larger backpacks for the duration of their stay. Guests are also permitted to store their packs for one day after checkout. Only staff are given access to this room.

This hostel is friendly for any age, and many languages, age groups, and nationalities seem to be very well respected and represented. The atmosphere in the mornings and evenings is very social. Joining the other guests for free pancakes (you make them yourself) in the morning provides a perfect opportunity to sit down and meet someone new. Generally the people staying are friendly, though a few guests can typically be found engrossed in their laptops, not in the mood for discussion.

No smoking, alcohol, or drugs are allowed inside the hostel (everyone is required to go outside to smoke), therefore there is no tobacco residue or scent.

Summary

This hostel is great and the staff are friendly -- they will do whatever they can to help you or guide you in the right direction. The location makes it a perfect place to stay to experience the hustle and bustle of downtown San Diego. The close proximity to the transit stations provides quick and easy access to the rest of the city. It's definitely a top-notch hostel that tries hard to give a good experience -- and succeeds!

Exclusive Hostelz.com Review
June 2008

Photos taken by the Hostelz.com reviewer — Genuine photos you can trust.
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How is HI - San Diego (Downtown) The Metropolitan Hostel rated on other websites?
 OverallCleanlinessStaffLocationAtmosphereSecurity
Hostelworld  
91%
90%
94%
97%
88%
94%
Hostels.com  
89%
88%
89%
91%
83%
94%
HostelBookers  
89%
84%
93%
96%
87%
94%
HI Hostels  
90%
85%
93%
95%
84%
89%
HostelsClub  
Not listed on HostelsClub.
Average  
90%
87%
92%
95%
86%
93%
HI - San Diego (Downtown) The Metropolitan Hostel Reviews from the Web
Hostelz.com Guest Reviews
2   UNSAFE HOSTEL & VERY DIRTY This hostel is not safe at 521 MARKET STREET. Why? The workers at the checkin counter let anyone check into this hostel -- wackos, nutjobs, druggies, and weirdos, you name it. Plus this hostel needs a very good cleaning -- it's very dirty!  , Russia ()
5   Good location, nice pancakes I really enjoyed staying at this hostel. Can't speak for the shared rooms, but the private room that we had was comfy and clean. The staff that I talked to had really good advice and there seemed to be a lot of information about things to do and how to get around. The hostel also organizes a lot of excursions that looked like a fun way to meet people if you are traveling alone. I also liked the idea of the pancake breakfast, where they provide the batter and you make your own. The kitchen was large with lots of space for eating and socializing. Overall, I think it is a great place to stay in San Diego. The only problem we had was an issue with the booking the second time we went to stay there, but it could have been the fault of the website we booked with. Fortunately, they still had a room and we had a place to stay.  , USA ()
4   Overall good The facilities were great, en-suite bathroom in my dorm was cool. Free pancake breakfast in the morning was outstanding and the location is pretty cool. I'd stay there again, only one downside -- can be noisy on a friday or saturday night (unless you out enjoying the noise).  , England ()
4   Comic con folks -- use this hostel I had a decent time here. I go to comic-con every year and usually I stay at the hostel down the block. I changed it up this year and I feel dumb that I never used this hostel. It's bigger, cleaner, and more comfy. Everything about it is better -- better kitchen, better rooms, better bathrooms. They invited me to an ice cream social as soon as I got there and they were all gung ho about people staying for the convention. I felt very welcome and like I was at home. At HI, everyone's there for the con so it's easier to socialize. Check in was horribly long, as was check out, since it was very busy, but that was a small price to pay for being comfy and paying such a low price.  , USA ()
2  Nice building, but the staff don't know what they are doing. I still have not received my HI points for my stay, as the staff did not know how to use the computer. The hostel let bag people and complete fruit loops stay there. I did not always feel safe, but the management did remove one nutter as it appears several people complained about her behavior. The location is great but it was so noisy even with my earplugs in. Lots of crime in the streets. The hostel did some communal meals, which were good value and we managed to get free tickets for a symphony so it was not all bad. I do not think I would stay here again.  ()
2  The hostel itself is pretty nice, structurally, but the staff are so pathetic. The head of the hostel clearly doesn't care about her employees or the local volunteers, and that attitude trickles down to how the guests are treated. I was there before this person was hired, and the atmosphere was completely different. When I returned, it was as if THEY were doing US a favor by taking our money and letting us stay there. Not a good place for relaxation.  ()
3  + The location is great if you like bars (like I do :-)) and the hostel is located within walking distance of all the downtown attractions, including the harbor and Balboa Park. + The staff were really, really nice and helpful. + It was pretty clean (for a hostel). + Free breakfast. + Lockers for every bed in the dorm (but they charge a quarter every time you lock it). - Parking is a big problem. "Park on Market" is 9 bucks per day. There are free spots, about 5-10 blocks away in a pretty shady neighborhood. - The bathroom in our 10-bed dorm was locked and out of order (but there was a "public" bathroom on our floor and two upstairs). - Some guys were partying in the dorm (but that's not the hostel's fault).  ()
3  I stayed here at the end of December. The location has the downside that you cannot park anywhere close unless you want to pay for it. The closest free parking that we have found was about four blocks east. They have a nice, clean kitchen and a good breakfast for free (toast and muffins). The architecture is a little strange. I had to search quite a while to find an exit without using the elevator which leads into the reception. It could also use some more bathrooms, but that was no problem at the time I was there. But the bathrooms were not clean anymore after some time. There is only a little atmosphere. You can definitely stay at this place but it is not a "you have to stay here."  ()

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