HI New York City – Hostel Review

Stayed: September 2015, 7 Nights
Room: 4 Bedded Female Dorm
Overall Rating: 9/10 *Certificate of Excellence on TripAdvisor*

img_20150919_205449.jpgI’ll start off by saying that i absolutely LOVE New York.
It had always been at the very top of my list for places to see before I die and I’d move there in a heartbeat if the USA wasn’t so strict on who can live in America!
I loved seeing The Empire State Building and feeling like I was in a movie, I loved walking through Central Park and thinking of F.R.I.E.N.D.S when Phoebe went jogging (Even though it wasn’t actually filmed there) and I love how it’s just full of people doing everything from singing and dancing on the subway to doing yoga in the park without a care in the world.
I’ve only been to New York in the Summer time but I would absolutely love to go in the Winter and see Central Park covered in snow. Eeeek! It makes my insides all warm just thinking of it.
I was there for a week and there is still so much I want to see and do. I seriously think in my head about making it a yearly or second-yearly place to travel to…
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Anyways, on to the accommodation side of things.
If you’ve ever looked for Hotels in New York City, the cheapest you’d find around August would be $75 – $150 a night for a room at a hotel near the airport. (which is a bit of a drive away from everything) I wanted to be as close to the center of things as possible.
I also wanted to stay somewhere safe and close to a Subway so I wasn’t walking the streets in the dark. (Even though that did end up happening but that’s another story)

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Hi New York City Hostel is on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and is surrounded by Central Park and Riverside Park. It’s also just a few minutes walk down the road to the subway where you can easily get to Times Square and Rockefeller Center, the High Line, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Empire State Building and the ferry to the Statue of Liberty.
I think I ended up going to Times Square every second day because it was so easy to get to on the Subway.

To get here, you can order a shuttle or take a taxi from JFK but I think they end up costing about $70 (Plus you have to pay for bridge tolls and a tip on top) and that’s no fun if you’re travelling by yourself.
You can take the train which I’ve heard is excellent and very fast.
Amtrak – Penn Station and then take the Subway to the hostel.
When I’d finished my Contiki tour at a hotel, I took the Subway and stopped off at the station nearest to my hostel.

When I arrived, the Hostel outside actually looked exactly like the pictures. It’s so big!
Can you believe they have 667 beds!
There’s lots of different rooms that you can choose to stay in from 12 Bedded Female Dorm rooms to Male 6 Bedded Dorm rooms. The prices range from USD$58 – $68 per night in the Summer Time (Probably cheaper in the Winter) and you may think that’s expensive for a Hostel, but believe me, try looking at the hotels in the Upper West Side. HELLLOO $300 a night for somewhere decent!
I think for my stay I ended up paying about $600-$700 for the week for a female dorm with 4 beds.
20150914_163656.jpgIt really doesn’t feel cramped at the hostel either. When I arrived, I had to wait in line for awhile to check-in as everyone seemed to be doing it at the same time but there was never any problem with over-crowding or everyone getting in your way as you’d think would be the problem with nearly 700 people staying there.

[[Now a thing to remember is that this hostel is part of an organization called Hostelling International which is the federation of more than 70 National Youth Hostel Associations in more than 80 countries around the world. If you don’t have a membership you have to pay USD $3 per person per night otherwise you can become a member online here.
Being a member gives you at least a 10% saving on the cost of your accommodation and in some countries Membership is compulsory. Apart from giving you discounts on Accommodation, your membership also gives you access to thousands of travel-related savings at home and abroad. ]]
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When I took the lift to my room, it was fine. It wasn’t anything overly amazing like most Hostels aren’t.
I had a bed with my own locker and provided my own key. All the doors are swipe-card activated and you also need your card to get into the main building so no randoms can come in.
The only thing which was annoying was putting my swipe card next to my phone every day and it’d get de-activated so I’d continuously be at the Reception getting it re-activated. (Something to do with you phone and the magnetic stuff in the card…)
20150919_033044.jpgWhat I loved about this hostel is the atmosphere. They really want people to get to know one another so they host twice-weekly Welcome Parties in the patio area (with either a  $6 BBQ or Live Band) and then you can go and experience the nightlife with one of the hostel leaders and 50 of your new friends. They also do free beer some nights (However as I don’t drink beer I went across the road to the liquor store and bought some other alcohol – Which I think isn’t quite allowed but you maaaay be able to get away with)
20150914_221807.jpgIf drinking isn’t really your thing, they have things like Salsa Tuesdays, Ice-Skating in Central Park (Seasonal), Magic and Comedy shows in the theater and day-tours which you can sign up for.
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If you’re ever hungry too, they have a full cafe downstairs with so many yummy cupcakes and sandwich type goodies in the cabinet! As Breakfast was included in my room price I had a bagel basically every morning with SOOO much cream cheese. Yum!!

Pro’s

  • Free Wi-Fi everywhere
  • TV Room
  • Massive Kitchen downstairs (Not sure how great it is as I never used it)
  • Open 24 Hours
  • Has it’s own Cafe with so many yummy things!
  • Lockers Available
  • Accepts Groups Of People
  • Pool Table
  • Chill-out area where you can charge your phone
  • Out-door drinking/patio area
  • Central Park – 3 Blocks away
  • Self-service laundry facilities
  • Free linens, towels, and housekeeping service
  • Hair Driers in Bathroom
  • Vending Machines
  • Cycle Storage
  • Smoking Area (If you smoke obviously than it’s not an advantage)
  • Friendly Staff
  • Pub Crawls and Day Walking-Tours

Cons

  • Waiting for the showers in the morning
  • 1 Slow Elevator so always having to take the stairs (Me just being lazy)
  • I sleep through everything, but it may get loud on some nights for some people
  • My card always being deactivated 😦

Overall my stay was fantastic!
I got so drunk on the first night that I can’t even remember my first and only yellow-taxi cab ride back to my hostel.
I went to the Top of the Rock and saw the Empire State Building.

I ate yummy nachos at T.G.I.F’s in Times Square.
20150920_184807.jpgI bought my first pair of Levi Jeans.
I went to what I think is the biggest Victoria Secrets Store and bought lots of yoga pants.
20150920_171218.jpgI went for a run through Central Park, people-watched and saw Squirrels!
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I also made some great memories and met some really fun girls to go to the beach with and out to a roof top bar at night!


And finally I ate sooo much Ben & Jerry’s with this lovely human which made my last few days in America so much fun!

 

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