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India House Backpacker's Hostel

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Hostelz.com's Review
India House Backpacker's Hostel is a mismatched, typical New Orleans house with a bit of a rundown feel to it but with lots of room and good areas to chill and meet others. It has lots of character and great potential and with a bit more thought and effort it could be a lot better.

The Location

The hostel is a bit of a way from the action but the Canal Stree. streetcars, which leave from almost right outside, mean that it's only a couple of minutes ride to the French Quarter and a large supermarket -- there are a couple of shops within walking distance but they are small and more expensive. A day pass on the streetcar is definitely the way to go if you are planning on making the trip more than twice a day. From the bus/train station it is a couple of blocks walk to Canal Street and you can just hop on the streetcar -- ask the driver for Lopez Street, the stop is opposite a large brick church. From the airport you can get the downtown express bus and get off and then walk to the hostel (the directions are on their website). A brief warning though is that both of the walks are a bit further than you will be told so if you have lots of luggage or arrive late a taxi is probably a better bet.

Rooms and Bathrooms

The whole place has a bit of a rundown feel to it but the dorms are large, clean, and bright. Unfortunately if you are a light sleeper, a good night's sleep could be hard to get. The metal lockers, flimsy (and squeaky) metal bunk beds, and plastic undersheets make it a very noisy night. It's also missing things like hooks, which make it seem like very little effort or thought is put into the dorms. The bathrooms are fairly clean (less so than the rooms) and in good shape and the place has a good bathroom-to-bed ratio, which means you shouldn't have to wait often.

Common Spaces

India House is perfectly laid out to meet other travelers and there is a lot of room to chill out or to socialise. A large outside seating area, big kitchen, stage, and pool (a treat in summer) allow for a lot of guest interaction. They do offer a couple of meals for a lowish price that get served in the outside area and sometimes a band or a movie is up on stage. The kitchen could sometimes get a bit messy and cramped but it does have everything you should need. A TV and lounge area by the reception were both popular but not as popular as the chairs on the porch. The staff are friendly and reasonably helpful but we did get the feeling that most of them were more interested in having a good time themselves -- we think a bit more effort to provide more information would go a long way.

Summary

On the whole we think it's the type of hostel that will greatly appeal to some travelers but that might seem completely disorganised and average to others. It has a lot of potential and a bit more effort would make a big difference. It is, however, convenient, has lots of character, and is a good place to meet other travelers and get into the New Orleans vibe.

Exclusive Hostelz.com Review
April 2010

Photos taken by the Hostelz.com reviewer — Genuine photos you can trust.
Map
Location/Contact
How is India House Backpacker's Hostel rated on other websites?
 OverallCleanlinessStaffLocationAtmosphereSecurity
Hostelworld  
82%
73%
85%
83%
90%
78%
Hostels.com  
79%
69%
82%
80%
86%
74%
HostelBookers  
81%
70%
84%
78%
92%
78%
HostelsClub  
Not listed on HostelsClub.
Average  
81%
71%
84%
80%
89%
77%
India House Backpacker's Hostel Reviews from the Web
Hostelz.com Guest Reviews
3   Nice chilled place ... SHAME about the STAFF!!! The hostel itself is upbeat and funky, they have nightly meals for $5 and if you're lucky you'll score free soup! The bed wasn't too bad, although leaving at 3.30 in the am wasn't too convenient as the bunk bed was a little squeaky the moment you moved! The staff weren't very helpful and gave me the impression I was placing them in an inconvenient position by simply asking a question ... It's not hard to be polite. But hey the travelers you'll meet here are pretty RAD and the location isnt too bad either.  , age 29, Australian ()
3   Cool Vibe, Very Bohemian, Nice Breakfast Old decaying rooms, uncomfortable thin plastic matressess, a little rundown. Cant beat the price, the vibe inside the living room was very old school funky with great art and a bayou mansion vibe. Breakfast was excellent Bacon, Eggs, Hashbrowns, Toast available for cheap and cooked right in front of you. Probably the best and most infamous hostel in New Orleans. Not comfy sleepwise but good location just a streetcar away from downtown and only costs $1.  , age 25, USA ()
4   Stay here -- you won't go wrong. India house is not so much about the place but the people it attracts and the atmosphere it creates. There's everything here for the backpacker -- clean communal areas, rooms, showers and toilets; a functioning kitchen with plenty of refrigeration space; great low-priced breakfasts cooked to order; staff who are knowledgeable and helpful; a tv room and chill out areas both inside and out and free wifi. The website is accurate and if you look at the photos you'll see that it is also a bit of a funky, quirky place. If you have minimalist, designer, boutique inclinations stay away. If you are a fun-loving youngster, aging hippie, or someone somewhere on that continuum then this is the place for you. It attracts a great crowd of people and it is one of the best hostels for meeting up with people and doing things together. Of course, It benefits enormously from being in NOLA and the mindset that I assume people arrive with. If the location seems some way from the French Quarter, don't be put off -- it's only about 3.7km (2.3miles), but the streetcar provides an almost door to door service straight up Canal Street and fares are only $1.25, or less if you have a day card. If you need a taxi it's still inexpensive at around $10, but better still just stay out till the public transport resumes. The last car of the night is around 0315 and the first of the morning around 0530! There is a top quality Rouse's supermarket a few blocks away, nearby bars and couple of restaurants. The area otherwise is quiet, safe and residential. By way of assurance, I've walked many parts of NOLA, both pre and post Katrina, including areas I was advised against and at night time and never had any problems. People are very friendly and helpful. Having stayed at another hostel on previous visits, I would always return to India House in the future.  , age 63, UK ()
4   Nice place to stay Cozy, friendly, safe hostel very close to Canal st streetcar.  , Ukraine ()
5   Feels like home Great hostel! NO is a dangerous city, especially for a girl like me, traveling all alone, but this hostel made me feel safe and secure. It's right next to a streetcar stop, so easy to get around. Rooms were clean, common rooms were very comfortable. Free wifi everywhere. I guess you can find small bad points if you think about it. I had booked a 6p all girls dorm room, but got a 8p girls dorm room without even mention of the change. Staff is not unfriendly by any means but mostly feels like they're very uninterested in your well being. No free breakfast. But all in all, LOVED it, and would certainly go back.  , Netherlands ()
1   The Big R -- RACIST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I rate you a 0. I visited this hostel about 2 weeks ago. I was turned away by the desk clerk and manager/owner. He told me how I wouldn't like it, how it was noisy, and that only foreigners and out-of-state folks were allowed to stay. I told him that he didn't know what I'd like because he didn't know me. As far as the noise level, he could not judge what level of noise I was able to bear. He continued to talk about the flaws of the India House. He assumed that since I was African-American, that I was obviously a state resident. He assumed wrong. I told him that I was from out-of-state, and knew that no rooms were available at the present time; however, I'd met someone who stayed at the hostel, and he was from New Orleans but that he was white. I also pointed to an older man who was residing there. (I'm an older woman). But of course, he made the excuse that he must be a foreigner. I discerned no foreign accent. The kids outside told me that anyone could stay there; in fact, one such young lady told me that her mother was a teacher and older, and stayed at the hostel. I did notice however, that foreign students of color lived there, but not one African-American. All desk personnel was white. The owner continued to babble about how his hostel would not be a good fit for me. He decided what I would and would not like. When I left, I noted an older woman coming up the stairs -- she was white. So in essence, if you are African-American, it will be assumed that you are of bad character, though I carried myself with dignity and integrity, and was certainly dressed for the occasion. If you are black and American, forget about trying to secure a dorm bed. In essence, no blacks allowed. And then I met someone else who was turned away -- she was an American black. So I say to black folk who are traveling to New Orleans, please don't waste your time attempting to stay at the India House. Your energy can be spent elsewhere; you will be judged by your hue and not by your character. Ignorance permeates the management at India House. The place should be condemned for its blatant racist policies!  , African-American ()
5   The best hostel you will ever stay in! Huge, huge, huge! Beautiful rooms, lots of fridge space, a chef to make you breakfast in the morning, and beautiful New Orleans on your doorstep! Great location, even better price. I cannot recommend India House enough. Not a HI hostel -- it actually has personality. If you're freaked out by a bit of dirt, maybe you should reconsider staying in a hostel!  , Australia ()
5   Great place to crash! They opened their arms and gave me a great warm welcome. This sure relieved me. Stayed there for a week until Wednesday after Fat Tuesday, the day after Mardi Gras. People are busy about Mardi Gras, so have no opportunity to meet hostel guests. Staff are very hospitality, helpful with my stay. Showed me the photo album of the post-Katrina and before the hostel was rebuilt. It was very courage and touching story. On the website, they said that no American can use this place, but they said don't worry about it when I asked them through phone. What I dislike the most is the charging the Internet usage. $1 for fifteen minutes and the speed is slower than what turtle can do but at least, it force people taking turns to use internet.  , Phoenix, AZ USA ()

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