After my week was over at Hostel on 3rd, it was time to move two blocks down the street to Hosteling International on the corner of Market and Fifth Streets.

Fifth Street is the original location of what was then the Gaslamp District back in ’93.  The first thing I had to do was kill time as I moved from one place with an 11 am checkout time to another place two blocks away with a check-in time of 3 pm. I decided the best way to kill time was spending it doing my laundry at a place on 4th Street next to a place renting rooms for $550.00 a month with live entertainment just around the corner by the bus sign (although not intended for children); just so know, all the hostels had its own washers and dryers, but remember , it’s about experiences. The more you get the more win at this game – just stay from game-ending experiences. So, my experience was to sit at a table and chair in front of the laundromat and watch the activity of the corner for an hour and a half. There’s a lot you can see in that time from young women who look like they’re surviving off of their young bodies to decrepit old men conversing with each other in worn and filthy clothing to young professionals sitting at the cafes across the street ordering lunch or having an early drink. I could really take in all of the sights and smells of the Gaslamp Quarter during the day from the chair I was sitting on. Then, it was over, and I was off to the HI Hostel a block away.

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.

Cost

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.

Security

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. 

Recommendation

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.

Found this on YouTube