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HI Hostel – San Diego, Gaslamp Quarter

HI (Hosteling International) sits at the corner of Market and Fifth Streets in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter. From here, you can easily walk to the ball park to watch the Padres play while being in the middle of restaurants, bars, and live music. You can stay here for up to two weeks per 52-week period.


First Impression

I’ve stayed at Hosteling International hostels before and they’ve been working hard to establish minimum standards. This location, I think for the most part, meets those standards. These are one of the cleanest hostels around. They don’t rely on volunteers for this – they have a professional cleaning staff. Even the bathrooms are immaculate. The woman who greeted me was very pleasant. Definitely what I have come to expect when staying at a Hosteling International location. 

Book shelf HI hostel

The Quick Tour

The hostel has a full kitchen with two microwaves, stove and oven, and a commercial-size refrigerator. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the kitchen was in limited use during my time there and wasn’t heavily used at all. There are several private bathrooms with showers on each floor as well as a larger men’s bathroom with five or six showers in it. 

Social Areas

The hostel has done a good job of creating social spaces throughout the non-smoking building. However, again due to the pandemic, some of these spaces were off limits during my time there and the hostel also limited the number of people who could stay at one time. Because of this, socializing here wasn’t as fruitful as it was in the other two hostels in San Diego. However, once things open up, this will change and I’m the hostel will become more active. 

bunk bed

My Room

The room was nice and clean. An air conditioner and a HEPA air cleaning machine were both in the room. The locker was big enough to store my backpack, computer, and other things. I didn’t have a consistent roommate during my time here and only had a short conversation with one guy who was just in for the night and was gone before I awoke the next morning. On some nights, I was alone in the room – which is always nice. Other than that, most interactions were of the morning pleasantries variety or saying high in the hallway.


I booked a room in a two bunk bed dorm room. The cost per night was $42.74 or $299.23 for a one week stay. As I’ve mentioned before, I tend to keep my total costs below $100.00 per day (something I find easy to do as long as I keep it simple). The HI hostel is on the higher end of hostels and renting a hotel room in comparable overall condition would easily run you over $200.00 per night.


HI Hostel had the tightest security procedures of any of the three hostels I stayed in. You are given a magnetic card key to enter into the building. There is always someone at the front desk and you must show your receipt showing your room number and the date your are leaving to them before you gain full entry. This requirement will typically get waived once the desk personnel get to know you. 


The first hostel I stayed at in my life was the Hosteling International location in Seattle and I still like them. The hostel isn’t as “foot loose and fancy free” as the others and free-wheeling partying is not to be expected. It’s a good place to stay and meet people, but it’s not a party house nor will it be once it fully opens. I would definitely stay here again.

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