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Green Tortoise Hostel

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Hostelz.com's Review
The Green Tortoise is definitely a hostel that has been created with travelers in mind! The great facilities, free breakfast and internet, and the occasional free dinner ensure that it is a great deal. Organised activities, very helpful staff, the large communal area, and the location right in the middle of a bustling area of San Francisco will make your stay tons of fun.

The Location

At first glance the hostel´s location may seem a little suspect to say the least. The hostel's located amid the flashy lights of the nude dancing scene -- don´t be shocked if it seems a bit sleazy. However, it's right near the busy restaurants, bars, and nightlife of Chinatown and Little Italy -- the area is bustling, safe, and fun. There are plenty of side streets to explore, full of interesting shops and places to eat and drink. It´s about a twenty-minute walk to Fishermans Wharf and the Financial District (but the hills here aren't famous for nothing, so be warned). Alternatively Columbus Avenue is a fairly busy bus route, which is always nice for the way back. The bus is probably the best and cheapest way to get here when you arrive and they have a pretty thorough directions section on their website.

Rooms and Bathrooms

From our experience the rooms were a lot quieter and larger than expected. However, we can see how some of them could potentially be a bit louder and more cramped. That being said they were some of the best thought out rooms that we have stayed in. Solid wooden bunks ensure no wobbling or squeaking when others move around at night. There are separate reading lights, plenty of hooks, large lockable storage under the beds, and a basin in the room -- all that you really need.

The very clean bathrooms, which seem to have been redone recently, are plentiful on all the floors but are often all full at the busy times of the day -- so you may want to plan your shower times accordingly. Despite this, the wait is never too long.

Common Spaces

The socializing centres around either the computer area or the large ballroom. Free and fast internet is available on a large number of computers -- some with Skype -- so even at really busy times there is only a short wait. Wi-Fi is also available throughout the hostel. The ballroom is where breakfast and the occasional suppers are served, bands play some evenings, and the movie and game nights are held. There is also a pool table, vending machines, and plenty of tables and chairs around the room.

The environmentally conscious kitchen is clean and well equipped with everything that you'll most likely need. Breakfast is sufficient -- bagels, toppings, fruit, and juice and coffee are available to start the day. The free dinners that are three nights a week are a bonus and the food is plentiful and delicious (you can help cook if you want). The staff are friendly and helpful and seem to be in touch with what travelers need (and need to know). They organise activities in the hostel for guests as well as a pub crawl for cheap drinks in spots around the area. They also ask everyone that comes in to show their key. The lockers in the rooms and in the ballroom mean your stuff should be safe.


Overall it´s a great hostel with a good atmosphere to meet other travelers and we would definitely recommend it.

Exclusive Hostelz.com Review
April 2010

Photos taken by the Hostelz.com reviewer — Genuine photos you can trust.
How is Green Tortoise Hostel rated on other websites?
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Green Tortoise Hostel Reviews from the Web
Hostelz.com Guest Reviews
5   Fab accommodation, atmosphere and service!!! Couldn't be better: clean, good value and friendly. Breakfast included eggs, bagels, porridge, fresh fruit and more. Reception books the Airporter Shuttle for you, organise tours. About 1/5 of the price of the hotel I stayed at on the first night in San Fran (no breakfast included). This is such a bargain, am coming back, or going to one of their other branches. Stay here!  , age 33, UK ()
4   Convenient location next to China town; unique indoor design I was traveling with my friends for a road trip and we basically only wanted a clean and comfortable place to stay (at a fair price, of course). Green tortoise felt into our hostel list when we did our hostel haunt. I am glad we chosen here because overall it provides discounted parking, free wifi, free breakfast, and the most important is the location. We didn't realize how insanely expensive the parking is in SF until we parked. Here, it offers the visitors with the overnight parking fare at $20-30. If you stay longer, you can bargain for a better price. First problem, checked! Public transportation such cable car is within walking distance about 10 minutes. Don't want to walk? Don't worry. They also provide you with bicycles. Like most hostel you share bathroom with other travelers. The only difference is with limited space it only allows one person using bathroom at a time. It's almost like you have your own bathroom and don't have to worry about running into a naked person. It's so important for people who need privacy during showering. I know, I know, you have been waiting for the catch. The only reason I took one star from five is the space. We got a pretty compact room for three people, which reminds me of the hotel I stayed in HongKong. It's not a big problem, but I did wish I had had a bigger room. Overall, I recommend staying in green tortoise.  , Taiwan ()
5   Awesome hostel Haven't been to any other hostel in SF but this I'm sure is the best. Sauna, huge lounge with free amazing buffet (including eggs and bagels) all the tea/coffee you want all day, great people and super friendly staff, very clean overall too! Stay here, you'll love it!  , age 27, Mexico ()
5   BEST HOSTEL IN CALIFORNIA! What a fantastic hostel in the heart of San Francisco! The minute we arrived we were 'welcomed home' by one of the staff and given a tour by another staff member which gave us an insight into the friendly, fun, chilled out vibe of the hostel from the moment we stepped in the door. The free food was unreal and the ballroom was a great venue for making new friends and hanging out. We loved this hostel so much we extended our stay. DONT STAY ANYWHERE ELSE IN SAN FRAN!! Green Tortoise is THE place to be!  , Ireland ()
4   Very noisy but clean and central. I had mixed impressions from this hostel. The staff were a bit weird, and the big breakfast hall tends to be immensely noisy. They sometimes have parties and music in the big hall, which is really incredibly loud. My room was a five bed dorm, not very big but you were able to move in there with five people. It had a sink which was full of stuff, and I didn't really know whether that stuff belonged to the other people in the room, or whether nobody took care of throwing it out. There were only common bathrooms on the hall, but at least they were real bathrooms and not co-ed. Most of them were showing signs of long periods of use. Breakfast is free and plenty! The kitchen provides bagels, spreads, cereals and several kinds of drinks. Very sufficient.The Wi-Fi worked fine, but only in the common rooms. Reception in my room was very bad and I kept getting thrown out, so sitting down in the common rooms is really the only thing you can do if you want internet. There are also computer there which you can use to surf for free. The location is perfect, the hostel is right between Chinatown and San Francisco's Italian neighborhood. You can walk down the hill to the financial district in about twenty minutes, or walk up to the Bay and the Pier in half an hour (depends on how good you're at climbing hills). I walked from the hostel via the Exploratium to the Golden Gate Bridge, took half a day or a bit more maybe. Very noisy, even twice as noisy on the weekend. The breakfast is good, the facilities are clean enough to not complain, and it's definitely the cheapest accommodation you can get in the middle of San Francisco.  , Germany ()
1   A pit! This was the most disgusting place I had ever stayed in. It's in the middle of the red light district, so if you're a skeezy old man looking for action, you'll fit in. People stand outside of the clubs like vultures, so you never have a pleasant walk back to the hostel. There is a bowl of condoms at the front desk that has to be refilled every morning. I don't even want to know what was living on the mattress I stayed on. Maybe I'm sheltered, but I didn't know what "party hostel" meant (the girl at the desk actually said "We're a party hostel"). I learned quickly because this place is full of a bunch of people who treat their bodies like garbage disposals. It almost feels like Day of the Dead with all these shroom-fiend zombies walking the halls. Our roommate was a dude that ran around the halls in his underwear and juggled hacky sacks for change by the Embarcadero. They don't clean the blankets. If you refer to my second comment (about the condom bowl), this will disturb you too. "Breakfast" is a bowl of dry bagels, which was served by this emotionally unbalanced redhead who was crying and complaining to the guests that someone had stolen her special dill butter and she was running out of food-stamps and couldn't eat for the rest of the month. Who buys dill butter with food stamps and complains to paying guests about it being stolen? My best "friend" all weekend was a spray can of Lysol, which I sprayed liberally on every surface I touched in this place. The bathroom is disgusting and filled with mildew. The floors of the bathrooms were drenched with pee (probably from the wastoids that were too f****d up to aim correctly). This place is the freaking twilight zone and more of a homeless shelter than a suitable place for travelers! Avoid at all costs.  , USA ()
5   Best Ever! I love this place. I always stay here when I go to San Francisco, which is fairly often because I love that city. The staff is always friendly and helpful. They always have advice on what to do and love to chat it up. The price is unbelievable considering what you get for it. Free meals, free internet, a sauna! I make a new friend every time I stay there. I love it and wouldn't stay anywhere else.  , USA ()
5   Best hostel ever This is the best hostel I've ever stayed at. Everything about it was great. I especially like the leopard sheets in our room.  , Sweden ()

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