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HI - Guangzhou - Riverside Hostel

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Hostelz.com's Review
HI - Guangzhou - Riverside International YH Hostel is affiliated with the Chinese YHA; the proprietors are senior figures in the Association. As such, you either need to be a member of a YHA of any country, join on the spot, or pay for temporary membership in the form of a higher price for your bed or room. The proprietors are keen to pursue traditional YH values but are generally modern in their approach. It is essentially a high quality establishment situated in a fairly interesting location and significant maintenance is carried out when required (this is not standard in China).

The Location

Riverside (Jiangpan in Chinese) is situated in Bai E Tan, one of Guangzhou's Bar Streets, in the area of Fangcun. It is a ten-minute walk from the Fangcun metro station, and two minutes from the Fangcun Ferry, but the Fangcun Bus Station is two metro stops away. There are eighteen bus stations in Guangzhou and now three rail stations, so for the foreigner it can be a bit of a surprise just where you arrive! For the newcomer, the advice is to get to a metro station and then you can get to Fangcun. City bus stops list the routes and stops near a metro station have the metro symbol (an open Y) by them.

From the hostel, guests can easily get around the city. As well as the metro, there are city buses and two ferry routes. There are local shops, markets, a supermarket, many restaurants from cheap upwards, street food, and bars and nightclubs nearby.

Rooms and Bathrooms

There are dormitories and private rooms with a total capacity of about a hundred and twenty guests. Budget travelers wanting a private room might like to check elsewhere and compare. The dorms are quite spacious and air conditioned, and contain solid bunks with comfortable, though quite hard, mattresses (as is normal in China) and have individual lights and power points. Access is by a magnetic security card and one room guest must use the card to activate the room's electricity. All but two dorms have large lockable lockers, though the clasps are not very strong; there are also smaller lockers in the reception area. The two without lockers have a balcony facing the river and slightly superior bathrooms. The rooms are well cleaned daily and fresh bed sheets are available every three days if required.

The bathrooms, which are ensuite, are essentially ok and have liquid soap provided, though some showers are rather small and it is impossible to put on long trousers without getting them wet. The toilets are all western-style.

Common Spaces

The reception area is spacious and has a free pool table, and there are brochure stands and travel info all around. The main common area has sofas and some tables and chairs, two fee-payable internet PCs, and a bar, though it does not really function as one (it also sells a few Chinese and western food items but is not open all day). At midnight, this area has its lights dimmed and the pool table in reception is closed. This policy was apparently instituted to overcome a noise problem, which only occurs occasionally. As well as being a classic case of "using a sledgehammer to crack a nut," which is typical of China, it also allows the security man to get some sleep!

The second common area, with more YHA promotional material as décor, is smaller but large enough for normal use. It has a TV and DVD player and is available for use at all hours; however it is not always available at weekends when the room may be hired out to YH oriented groups.

There are two large tables with benches outside outside, which are the main focus for smokers and a meeting place in the long warm evenings. When the bar closes at midnight, beer and BBQ food can still be bought just twenty metres away until about 2 a.m.

The members' kitchen is tiny and poorly equipped -- only the fridge and the microwave can be considered adequate. Borrowing items to use in the members' kitchen has become an issue under the present "bar manager," the one member of staff who is less than helpful and never known to smile. For a hostel which is advocating traditional hosteling values, the management should upgrade the the kitchen.

There is a laundry with a washing machine and tumbler available for a fee. Unlike most hostels, there are also proper facilities to hand wash clothes, but the biggest weakness is that there is no good place to dry them -- there are clothes racks but they are not permitted outside (not the hostel's fault).

Wi-Fi internet access is provided throughout the hostel, though its quality is often not good and hasn't been for years. Connections, both cable and Wi-Fi, are often up and down like a yo-yo and frequently slow or totally down. A new Wi-Fi setup has been installed on the second floor, but it does not seem to help much. This problem is a common source of complaint at the hostel and really needs resolving. Smoking is not permitted inside the hostel.

Summary

This is a well run hostel with knowledgeable and helpful staff, though at times some of the rules seem petty. There are no curfews or lockouts and check in is normally possible at any time, though those expecting to arrive late should let the hostel know -- just in case!

Overall, the hostel is good and is a fun place to stay; guests certainly interact well. Partly because of the layout and partly because of the generally good attitude here, staff interact with guests beyond the call of their job. It's also a good base to go out partying but it's not a partying hostel as such.

by OldNomad
Hostelz.com Staff Reviewer
April 2011

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How is HI - Guangzhou - Riverside Hostel rated on other websites?
 OverallCleanlinessStaffLocationAtmosphereSecurity
Hostelworld  
77%
74%
76%
79%
80%
84%
Hostels.com  
62%
66%
60%
73%
60%
60%
HostelBookers  
82%
86%
85%
76%
74%
88%
HI Hostels  
83%
81%
82%
86%
81%
81%
HostelsClub  
Not listed on HostelsClub.
Average  
76%
77%
76%
79%
74%
78%
HI - Guangzhou - Riverside Hostel Reviews from the Web
Hostelz.com Guest Reviews
1   Don't go The staff is absolutely dreadful. I saw them eject a man because he's diabetic, shouting at him because he had medication. What kind of place is this? Also, there's people living full-time in the hostel, which is an obvious security issue. It's a shame, because the location is prime.  , Canada ()
5   Excellent Friendly, helpful staff, immaculately clean room. The location is good, too; take the ferry across the Pearl river and explore Shamian Island. The fish and medicine markets are not to be missed.  , UK ()
3   Confused staff, clean rooms, location could be better The check-in procedure took 15 minutes, although we have got already a booking. They were, however, very helpful after then. I have stayed in a 6-bed room, it has a small toilet and shower. It took us around 10-15 minutes to walk there from the nearest metro station. There are no many opportunities to stay in Guangzhou, thus I can freely recommend this place.  , Hungary ()
5   So good this is so good. i had best time in this place.  , Iran ()
5   Great Hostel Riverside hostel has just about all the facilities a hosteler expects. The dorms are quite spacious with en suite facilities. Most importantly the staff all speak English, are helpful and have a great knowledge of their city. Oh, and the beer is cheap, unlike so many hostels. Overall it is FAR better than the city government run hostel on Shamian Island. I recommend this hostel.  , Australia ()

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