As the only budget option in town, Charleston's NotSo Hostel has the market cornered. Located in three single houses on Spring Street, the hostel offers dorms and private rooms in the main location and private rooms at the annex on Cannon Street, as well as camping on site. The annex is much quieter and has more of the apartment feel, with two shared bathrooms and a kitchen. Included in the price is parking, free Wi-Fi and use of computers, linens, and breakfast. Guests enter a code in the back door to gain access. Check in is from 5 to 10 p.m., so if you will be arriving outside of these hours, call the desk to get the door code. You can leave your bags and use the facilities until check in. Check out is at 10 a.m.
NotSo Hostel is located on Spring Street, near the intersection with Ashley Avenue, about seven blocks from the major tourist areas. The neighborhood is considered "up and coming" but guests should be careful walking back at night. The annex is located on Cannon Street between Coming and St. Philip streets. It feels like you are staying in someone's house, which can be a good thing as you feel like a local, but also uncomfortable when you feel as if you are intruding. Both locations are close to many restaurants and bars and are close to the Medical University of South Carolina campus. The hostel is about fifteen minutes from area beaches.
If you arriving in Charleston by air, the hostel is located twenty minutes from Charleston International Airport. The hostel is also accessible if you are renting a car, taking CARTA (Charleston's public transportation), or riding the Greyhound bus or Amtrak. Free parking is available at both locations, which is hard to come by in downtown Charleston. At NotSo Hostel, the parking can become full during high season and it can be hard to find a spot, leaving cars to block each other in. If you need to leave early in the morning, speak with the front desk about making sure you can get your car out.
Rooms and Bathrooms
The original location has two main houses, each with six rooms. There are four and eight-bed dorm rooms with both male and female rooms available. The annex has all private rooms. Mattresses are of the plastic variety, but linens are included. The dorms in the hostel also have personal fans to beat the Charleston humidity. Rooms also include ceiling fans and lockers. The door code accesses the building and guests are given keys for their rooms. There are two bathrooms for the entire hostel, each with a toilet, sink, and shower.
The only common area to speak of is reception, which has two computers and couches, but is only open from 5 to 10 p.m. The kitchens serve as the hang-out space in the mornings when guests enjoy free coffee, tea, and bagels. Laundry facilities are available as well. The upstairs and downstairs porches are a nice place to sit and watch the sun set.
Charleston's NotSo Hostel is very homey, but there aren't planned activities that keep the guests engaged with one another like you might find at other hostels. The accommodations are basic, but breakfast and parking are great perks for such an expensive destination.