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Fort Mason Hostel

San Francisco

The Green Tortoise - NOT Recommended...

Fort Mason International Hostel

162 bed hostel right on the S.F. bay in a park. This is S.F.'s best and most popular hostel.
Area rating=A+. Quiet hours at midnight
$19-$22 per night (as of March 2000)
Fort Mason's Building #240. Marina Blvd @ Laguna Street

Frank writes in September 2001, "Hi, I stayed at the Fort Mason Hostel twice, in May 2000 and in Feb. 2001. I really enjoyed the safe and clean neighborhood and fantastic views, wow! The hostel has really a beautiful restaurant and a very nice and clean kitchen. But I must say that the people who work there know nothing about respecting others and have absolutely NO communication skills. They are not very fiendly or motivated. They are not ready to talk problems through and to satisfy the needs of the internaional traveller. Okay, it's not a hotel, but it is something like a visiting card of the city: The hostel should be cleaner, they should smile more often and use the word "please" more often! When I stayed there in Feb. they had just put a sign with the word "Nope" on the fireplace. Okay it's only one detail but it's an example of their way of "communication". If I would make a sign like that it would start like this: " Please note...". I'd love to return to San Francisco and also to this hostel, if... you know what!"

J. writes in August 2001, "I visited SF in May 2001. Attracted by the location of the Fort Mason Hostel, I made reservations for 2 weeks! I left after the first night there! The staff were very unfriendly and unhelpful. Check-in and check-out time took almost 20 minutes each time! I was in a female dorm of 12 people located in the basement. The moment I walked in, there was a lurking mild dew smell. I did not open the windows as they were facing the a small lane that had passer-bys walking pass. In fact, people could climb into the room if the windows were left open. Each person's locker was located at the bottom of the bunk! Mine was dusty and dirty! Since the beds were located within 2 feet of each other, everytime I dragged out my luggage, it would reach the other bunk!

Feeling unsafe was also an issue for me! All hostelites had to carry a gigantic receipt with him/her at all times. When entering the hostel, it had to be shown to the front desk. There were times when I walked pass the front desk without showing the receipt and no staff stopped me or requested from me prove of stay at the hostel. In fact, when I voluntarily showed my receipt to the front desk staff, they appeared annoyed, like I was interrupting their chat or line of work! I definitely do not recommend anyone staying there if you value privacy or need a quiet environment to rest in! The only good thing I can say about the hostel is that if you check-out earlier than what was stated on your reservations, you get a refund for the number of nights unused."

Our readers write -- "...this is one of the great travel bargains. Perched on a bluff above the bay this is a truly magnificent location. The rooms are your basic clean hostel fare. The crowd here is more sedate and cultured than the other hostels in the city. Conveniently located near the Marina District and Fisherman's Wharf, the one downside is crowded rooms and long bathroom lines." R.D. 8/96

K.M. writes in 10/98, I stayed at the Fort Mason hostel last fall. It has a good breakfast, which even includes juice. Parking is available on-site. It's a short walk to Safeway. The view is unbelievable, because Fort Mason is right on the Bay. The hostel is a bit isolated, because it's so far out there, but one of the buses that passes nearby goes to the Mission. This area around this hostel is nice and quiet, whereas at a hostel like The Green Tortoise, city noises will lull you to sleep.

J.C. writes in 2/99, "The location is very strong: overlooking the Bay, very quiet, and walking distance of ferries, the Marina District, bicycle rental shops (and, by bike, the Golden Gate Bridge and the biking trails of Marin County), and galleries and a restaurant or two in Fort Mason itself (including Greens, one of America's best vegetarian restaurants). Buses and the cable cars get you into town easily for transit to other parts of the city and region. And the location suffered from none of the unattractive seediness I noticed in the Union Square area (site of the other city AYH hostel) and in the area around the Green Tortoise Guest House. My room was crowded with eight people in it, and there wasn't a whole lot of socializing going on in the common areas on the days I was there (except maybe in the kitchen/dining area, where I spent no time). Overall, though, I recommend it, especially for the beauty of the site and the proximity to things I enjoyed. Get reservations in advance; it fills up fast."

C. complains in February 2001, "Walked in and was instantly hit by the smell of cat urine and a totally uninterested American bloke on the desk. Not a smile was seen from him all stay and in fact the cat behind the desk couldn't even be bothered to look up at us much less go outside for a pee. Not a very welcoming hostel.

As for the area being safe two travellers had a gun pulled on them in the surrounding streets the night we were there. The distance from the hostel door to the street is large and poorly lit. I have stayed at Pacific Tradewinds twice and recommend it over Fort Mason every time."

A family with children writes in Spring 2001, "We asked for and luckily received a family room with 4 bunks and a closet overlooking the back of the hostel and the bay. There seemed to be about 1/2 dozen or so small rooms with 4 bunks and then larger rooms with 10-12 bunks. They have same sex and co-ed dorm style rooms. The bathrooms were convenient and clean. There was a cafe that served muffins, pastries, and drinks and a voucher for a continental breakfast comes with the bunk. There is a very large, clean, well supplied with cooking utensils, etc kitchen/dining room downstairs if you want to prepare your own food. There are some nice common rooms to sit and relax. There is laundry room with reasonable rates and lockers for rent to store gear. Parking is free on the Ft. Mason grounds. The clientele were a mixture of Gen X er's through Seniors including families and all were very nice and friendly. The staff was laid back and helpful. The views of the bay, Golden Gate Bridge, and Alcatraz are fantastic from the hostel grounds and you can walk to the Wharf a short distance away for public transportation. All this for approximately $23 pp. You can't beat it for budget accomodations! We plan to stay there again this year.

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