Spenard Hostel International is a typical hostel, with all the same accommodations that you find in any other hostel around the world. They have friendly and helpful staff, comfortable rooms, and nice common areas. This place is a great introduction to those who have never stayed in a hostel before.
This place is located in a quiet residential area of Anchorage, about a ten-minute bus ride from the downtown area -- it's also not far from the airport. The bus stop itself is only a block away from the hostel. There is some parking in front available but it's not large. Next to the bus stop is a great restaurant called Gwennies that's open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner -- the food is fair and average-priced for Alaska. Within a block of there is a McDonald's.
Here at the hostel you can rent bikes and ride some nearby trails. The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, the main one, is a mere fifteen-minute bike ride away from the hostel. Take it west and you will end up on the outskirts of the airport, where you can see the aircraft coming in at two hundred feet above you. Take it far enough east and you will ride over a bridge going toward the Westchester lagoon, where you can get a good look at some aquatic birds and idyllic scenery.
Rooms and Bathrooms
The dorm rooms are basically standard for a hostel (no single or private rooms available). There's plenty of space and no problems with security or theft. We did not see any lockers or storage space in the dorm that we were staying in. The bathrooms are ok -- they are small, and again, just basic but clean and well kept.
There is a large common area on the upper floor and one on the bottom, complete with plenty of reading materials or literature for perusing. Internet and Wi-Fi are available. Also there is a large, clean, well kept kitchen on the upper floor with a telephone for local calls. There is a vending machine and a machine for making change next to the kitchen area. Outside there is barbecue grill for those who want to use it.
The place is pretty packed with guests, who seem to be open and very sociable. However the place is not noisy like a partying crowd. The guests -- who range in age from their twenties to sixties -- for the most part abide by the rules for not disturbing the peace. To help keep the place clean, this hostel does not allow guests to wear their shoes inside -- footwear must be left outside near the entrance and there is also a wooden rack to place your shoes.
While not exceptional, this hostel is overall a good place to stay for what they charge. The only downside to this place is that they only allow you to stay here for a maximum of six days. For some hostelers who like to stay in a hostel for weeks, this might be an inconvenience. However there is one plus here for those who really want to save or stretch their money as far as they can. They have a work program where in exchange for several hours of volunteer cleanup work they will give you a free night stay.
Note from the hostel: "We actually have three kitchens and three common areas, two of each on the upper floor and one downstairs."