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HI - Los Angeles - Santa Monica Hostel

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Hostelz.com's Review
HI - Los Angeles - Santa Monica Hostel is a very large, typical Hostelling International hostel, for better or for worse, depending on your tastes -- we had a very similar experience to many other of our HI stays. For some people this is good, because there is a certain predictability on which you can count (such as cleanliness, services offered, and prices). To others, it is not very appealing because the HI hostels tend to be too large and impersonal, and since it is a chain, there are not many differences between cities/countries.

The Location

The hostel is not only very conveniently located very close to the beach, but also to the main drag in Santa Monica. It is easily accessible by bus coming from Los Angeles and there is also a direct bus line to LAX. Since it is a very large building, and clearly marked, you should have no difficulty finding it.

Rooms and Bathrooms

The dorm rooms are clean and spacious, and there aren't any noise problems. In a six-bed dorm, for example, there are two small tables with desk lamps; enough outlets for all of us; and most surprisingly, really large wooden lockers that have enough space to fit a large backpack on the left and many shelves on the right. These are the nicest, largest lockers we have seen in a hostel to date. There is also enough room in the room for everybody to be there at the same time and have room to move.

The bathrooms are kept clean, and there are enough showers and sinks for everybody to use, even at peak hours. There isn't extra space to change, but the shower stalls are spacious enough for a person to hang his clothes without getting them wet.

Common Spaces

There are several common spaces -- a very large kitchen, an outside area, and several common areas throughout the hostel. There is enough space, and we haven't had a problem finding a place to sit down. One problem is the internet connection -- we didn't manage to find any good spots throughout the hostel (downstairs, outside, in the rooms) that have a strong connection. Maybe this problem is temporary, though -- we didn't stay in this hostel for a long enough time to find out. This is a social hostel, but it is difficult to meet people due to the sheer size of it. They do however offer activities, and have theme nights, so on those occasions it is easier to make friends.

Summary

This is an ideal hostel if you're just looking for a clean and not-too-expensive place to stay. It is best suited for people who are traveling in groups, or with a companion, as it is difficult to meet people just by hanging out the common areas.

by Monica
Hostelz.com Staff Reviewer
January 2013

Photos taken by the Hostelz.com reviewer — Genuine photos you can trust.
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Location/Contact
How is HI - Los Angeles - Santa Monica Hostel rated on other websites?
 OverallCleanlinessStaffLocationAtmosphereSecurity
Hostelworld  
85%
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Hostels.com  
85%
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HostelBookers  
89%
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HI Hostels  
88%
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89%
HostelsClub  
Not listed on HostelsClub.
Average  
87%
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97%
82%
91%
HI - Los Angeles - Santa Monica Hostel Reviews from the Web
Hostelz.com Guest Reviews
4  HI Santa Monica is in a great location very clean and organized, typical HI USA hostel. My stay here felt very sterile as it is a over priced backpackers and the staff do not know the simple stuff. They supply cereal bread, bagels, yogurt, orange juice tea & coffee, every day. Three times a week meals are cooked in kitchen for $4-5. Very plain meals. The travel agency right next door offers huge discounts if staying in HI Santa Monica and all information for public transport. Vons is the best place to buy fresh food to use in kitchen which is only a few blocks away. Lot of smokers and homeless hang around entrance of HI. Baggage policy upon check (11am) out is painful, especially if catching late departure. Best way to & from LAX is Blue bus #3 for $1 via LAX shuttle service much cheaper than $45 taxi fare. Good restaurants and pubs in close vicinity especially on 3rd street. The locals go out on main street, little cheaper than main area.  , age 42, Australian ()
5   Amazing A little pricey, but you definitely get what you pay for. Great atmosphere, clean, and overall a lot of fun! Stay here!!!  , USA ()
5   Excellent Place to Stay, Thanks! HI Santa Monica is a great place to stay. The bedroom and bathroom accommodations are great, the common areas are really nice as well. The lockers in the room are pretty big, and you can rent an additional bigger locker for U$5 a day, during the maximum of 5 days. The hostel location is perfect. A really safe place. But better than that, there are lots of pubs, sports bars and shopping stores in walking distance. And you could walk to Venice beach, which is a really fun place, in about half an hour. The people who stay at the hostel are a bit more serious than you would expect. Drinking and smoking is not allowed in the hostel, so making friends in there is not that easy. Overall, I rate it a 10.  , BRASIL ()
5   I didn't want to leave! This is by far the best hostel I have ever stayed in. It is clean, spacious, comfortable, and a great base for exploring all that L.A. has to offer! Santa Monica is in the far west of L.A. so get ready for some long bus trips (1 hour to Hollywood, 1.5 hours to downtown). However, Santa Monica itself is beautiful, with beaches and the famous pier as well as the 3rd street promenade shopping centre (all within very close walking distance to hostel). And bus travel in L.A. is dirty cheap for its size! I also participated in the free walking tours offered by the hostel which were AMAZING -- especially to Venice Beach (which is walking distance). I stayed a whole week and honestly could have stayed longer.  , Canada ()
4   Friendly, clean, welcoming I have stayed at HI Hostel Santa Monica for seven days in total. I really liked this place. The staff was helpful at all times, provided us with information on bus and train times and on locations to see. Every day the hostel offers organised trips to Malibu Beach, Hollywood. This was really convenient as public transport in L.A. is not the best. Other hostelers are very considerate and you get the chance of meeting people from all over world for example at breakfast. The hostel offers a breakfast with coffee, tea, orange juice, cornflakes, bread rolls, toast, jam, and fruit salad. The rooms are clean and the bathroom is fine too. The cleanliness was a very important aspect for me. It can be a reason why I might avoid staying in hostels but HI-Santa Monica met my expectations. The location is also great, the beach is just a five-minutes walk away. And the bus to Beverly Hills and West Hollywood leaves just down the road. However, the bus journey takes about half an hour to Beverly Hills and an hour to Hollywood. But it only costs 1.75 dollars. The only backdrop was that we were not able to leave our luggage in the free luggage store when we were leaving, This free store is only available for people who check in again the same day. The luggage store on the leaving day costs 5 dollars but it is huge, so you can share it with somebody provided you are traveling with someone else. HI-Santa Monica might not be the cheapest hostel, but it is clean, friendly, safe, and has a lot of activities to offer. I would stay there again and recommend this hostel to everyone. You will enjoy your stay!  , Germany ()
3   Hostile in Santa Monica -- no luggage storage day of check out What I could say about this place, "please plan your exit from LA in accordance with the Hostile Santa Monica's new "no luggage storage on day of check out" policy, and no knowledge of the bus route to get to Beverly Hills." Stay, July 15/17, 2009. Wow. Wow, in a bad way. I used to live in LA several years ago, and when I first moved to LA, I used the HI Santa Monica, back when it could be called a cool hostel, and not a Hostile. Staff is multi-lingual, so that's a plus. Two beefs, and both are not traveler friendly. Beware, Biggest beef, nowadays, there is no luggage storage on the day of checkout. Ok, ok, ok -- there are $5 lockers to use for luggage storage on day of checkout; and granted, you can extend the storage to a maximum of five days, which is, really, a good idea (so, other LA hostels, can you match the $5 per day luggage storage fee for extended luggage storage? Please?). Otherwise, you still need to pay $5 to store luggage for, what, a few hours on the day of checkout? See, the reason this Santa Monica Hostile changed their luggage storage tune is my second beef, in order to extend your stay, you must check out at 11 a.m., store your luggage for free just next to the front desk, then check back in at 2 p.m. The line for check in at 2 p.m. can take up to an hour, so you lose four hours if your train/plane/bus is delayed or if you decide to stay beyond your "due date" -- beds are assigned at time of reservation. The free luggage storage is for returning guests extending their stay, and for those guests just checking in. I say *beware the HI Santa Monica's new luggage policy, because in Santa Monica there are "secret police" who cruise the Promenade, looking for people with large sets of luggage (unless you are Burberry's fan, like me, who oddly enough was ignored by the "homeless" police in Samo). The "police" then suspect the person of Homelessness, and will proceed to harass the person, and search their luggage, even if the person is a traveler. If you are carrying your luggage on day of check out and want to sit on the Promenade for several hours before you leave, please have a foreign accent or "name brand" luggage. Evidently these two tricks help a lot nowadays in Santa Monica. Otherwise, you can be stopped for Suspected Homelessness in Santa Monica -- a big no, no there in Samo. On another point, very sterile, almost hospital like rooms -- very hot and stuffy rooms at night, and if you room with a Brit who "doesn't like the noise of the fan" at night, fug-ged-about having cool breezes, you will sweat like a pig in a sauna. Before 11 a.m., cleaning staff simply walk into the rooms without knocking, toss luggage and clothes aside, and will proceed to vacuum the room, regardless of your state of being -- undressed or dressed, the Cleaner doesn't care. very rude. Breakfast is rather good, raisin bran or cornflakes with milk, coffee, OJ, hard boiled eggs, bread and cream cheese. But again the staff snatches the food away at 9:45 a.m., so be there, or beware of your rumbling stomach. Coffee is lukewarm and while it's claimed there is twenty-four/seven availability for coffee, there isn't much left after 10 a.m. Movies? Um, where was the movie room? They claimed to show two movies, on Tuesday but I couldn't find the movie room, even after "directions" from the staff. No movies on other nights. None of the staff knows the bus system to get to Beverly Hills or Hollywood. Otherwise, it seems the staff is confined to the premises. Other than the luggage policy, and the quirky must check out in order to extend your stay policy, and the rude cleaning staff, this place can be tolerable -- especially helpful on the weekends, when the music performers come out in force on the Promenade.  , usa ()
4   A good place I was needing a place to stay and came across Santa Monica HI Hostel. IT is a very clean and decent place to stay. The major complaint i have with this hostel is the courtyard which is in the middle of the hostel. Since there is no air, all windows are opened. All day long and 1/2 the nite, the smoke is LOUD!!!! From the manager, chris to the guest, SMOKE in your rooms. This hostel also only allows you 14 days in a year to stay, they used to allow 21 days in and one day out. They also have a homeless problem there, and plus the staff allows ANYONE to come thru the doors, so beware of belongings. IT is a clean place, and lots of tourist. It is also a LOUD place. Whether it is from the guest, to the surroundings of constant traffic, sirens, and so on. SINCE all windows are open. A great place to stay if you like meeting other people.  , usa ()
5   Excellent place to stay I'd never been to L.A. before, but had stayed in rather dodgy hostels in San Francisco and New York, so had no idea what to expect here. First, I loved the location. It's close to a stunning stretch of beach, and I could have spent days just walking up and down it and back again. It's also next to a nice stretch of all the basic American "High Street" shops (as the British would call them) and restaurants. The hostel itself is a good basic hostel. It's clean and there's an ok breakfast, friendly and helpful staff, and free wireless -- if, like me, you've got your laptop. For me the best part of the hostel was the cheap/free guided tours they offered each day to places like Malibu Beach and the Getty Museum. I'm ashamed to say that I hadn't heard of the latter. The tour there was free, and the Getty was outstanding. In fact I spent more time looking at the building and the view of LA than I did at the exhibits inside. As others have said there are regular and cheap (but long) bus services from nearby the hostel to other destinations like downtown L.A., Hollywood, Malibu. I've stayed in a lot of hostels all over the world, and this is one of my better memories.  , New Zealand/UK ()

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