The Zen Hostel


The Zen Hostel
The Library
Women's Dorm $25 per person, sleeps four
Zen Hostel 111 SE 4 Ave.
Tree House/Shared  $25 per person, sleeps four
Women's Dorm $25 per person, sleeps four



(Location is approximate. You may need to pan/move to find "The Zen Hostel" at 404 SE 2nd. Street.)


404 SE 2nd. Street, Gainesville, Florida, USA
29.648217, -82.323298 (accuracy not guaranteed)
+1 352 336 3613
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(3 ratings)
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79% Guest Reviews

Quirky, rustic hostel offering excellent value accommodation
I stayed at this Hostel from the 1st to 4th October 2016. The Zen Hostel, in my opinion, offers something different for the budget traveler in Florida, it is based in two older style Floridian houses one of them dating back to the late 1800s. Despite its somewhat ramshackle appearance it is clean and the rooms are of a good size decorated in keeping with the building(do not expect 5 star luxury). I found the staff to be very helpful and welcoming, they offer transport to and from the local airport and Greyhound bus terminal for a very low cost in an electric car, the local bus station is very close. The Zen aspect of the hostel is not forced on guests in any way. The hostel is situated very close to Gainesville Old Town, which is a charming laid back area of the town that is well worth a two or three day stay when touring Florida. I will be happy to return to this hostel when I am next in the area.

Response from the accommodation: Thank you Geoff, it was a pleasure having you here and we hope to see you again. Safe travels, Juliette
Age 65, United Kingdom
Stay at Zen Hostel for the life of you. You must stay! Absolutely loved it. The atmosphere is just to die for. What a playful and fun stay! You don't want to miss this. From the outdoor shower to the tree-house bunk beds, it was just too fun. Everyone was so kind and hospitable. Book them ASAP! If you want to escape to heal it's a wonderful option.
Age 22, United States
Pretty cool
A one of a kind hostel experience. quite relaxing and spiritual feeling. I would happily return.
Age 46, usa
Zero stars but it was required
No stars for this disgusting place. I was greeted by a woman (?) with no teeth and giant breasts unrestrained under a thin, filthy, food-stained t shirt. She seemed perturbed that I had disturbed her in the middle of some movie she was watching. We were interrupted three times during the check-in process by her rude and inconsiderate teenager demanding her time and attention. Was directed to my room in the other house at night with no courtyard lights and no flashlight. Had to go up very dark, wet outside stairs into a dark, dank hallway which lead to a disgusting kitchen where there was no wall switch to turn on the light. She had to turn the bulb in the lamp to get light in the room. And, when the light came on, cockroaches scuttled under the cupboards and appliances. The room I was assigned had no air conditioning (in fact, the only ac unit I saw was in the "greeter's" room where she had it turned to "freeze your balls off" cold) but was told that the filthy, dust-laden box fan in the window would work just fine. I was so tired that I made the bed and fell into it without even looking at it. The next day, when I opened my eyes, I jumped out of the bed. Not because I was eager to start the day but because I saw the filth in the room and wanted to check out immediately. The linens were mismatched and dingy. The towel I had been given looked more like a painter's drop cloth than anything I would want to put near my body. I dressed, inquired as to where the nearest hotel and laundromat were and left immediately.
Need to warn others
Very disappointed!!
good location, decent price. Other than that the rooms were disgusting no AC In the middle of the summer. when I went to my room for the first time there were no sheets on the bed. I think the mattress use to be blue but now is a dirty brown color. No tv. I gave the lady with long black hair and no bra on $60 for the night. When I told her I didn't wanna stay there I want my money back she told me that she had already spent some of it. I got $38, she said that's all she had. I've been to other hostels before, but this place was the worst. I DO NOT recommend anyone to stay here.
Age 29, st augustine fl
My room was unswept and had dirt all over the floor. They weather was cold and rainy, when I walked into my room the windows were wide open and were kinda broken. I had to force them closed and this wasn't easy. On top of that there was no heat in the building, they gave me an old broken space heater that screeched when I tried to turn it on and gave off a burning hair smell ... oh yeah! The smell! It's pretty disheartening when you walk into your room and there are three used up air fresheners and a half empty can of Febreeze on the closet shelf. It smelled like a feral cat party palace which is probably due to the fact that the door to the outside wouldn't latch or lock. Oh yeah! And there was no lock on my private room door or even a locker that I could lock up my belongings in. All this and I had to ask for my mismatched linens that the lady with frizzy gray dreads and the sucky attitude said was all they had and she was in a big hurry cause she was late for an aa meeting. Yuck! Felt unwelcome and seriously sketched out. Definitely do not recommend at all.
Age 41, USA
What a great place!
The Zen Center Hostel is like no other! There is a small community of 'long-term' guests who went out of their way to make me feel welcome. The hostel is located near downtown Gainesville with public transportation only three blocks away. The building is old but it has been taken care of and, under the new management, has been cleaned up quite nicely. As a woman traveling alone, I felt quite safe there. They are in the midst of building a tree house for guests. Can't wait until I can sleep up there!
Be very careful if you do stay here!!!
I have stayed at the zen center in the past and seems they have a hole new cast of criminals staying their since my last visit. Unfortunately some of my things got stolen, and the girl pretending to be krsna running the place was just awful and rude, not at all the zen center I remember. What was once a beautiful yard with friendly animals running around with helpful people. is now littered with garbage I don't recommend staying their if you have a choice in the matter (Beware of the really tall guy with glasses he has a criminal record for fraud and identity theft.) and if the healing means buildings full of recovering junkies then you can learn some things from the Zen Center. Like how to get a good hook up on an Ativan script.

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