City House Hostel in Washington, DC – commonly known as Downtown DC Hostel – was an easy choice for me. It was the first Washington, DC hostel that showed up in the list! Located less than a 15 minute walk from Union Station, the hostel is just close to everything – less than a mile to the Capitol. Plus, it’s on H Street, meaning the DC Streetcar runs right by the place – from Union Station all the way down to 13th Street. That’s great in the summer, when it’s 100°F/38°C and humid as hell!
Now, I took a chance on this place. To be honest, I just searched for a hostels in DC near the mall and this was the first one that popped up and it happened to be in a perfect spot. You know, real advanced planning! But sometimes you luck out and get to stay at a pretty decent place. They have free Wi-Fi that’s pretty fast, a full kitchen with pots, pans, cooking utensils, and everything you need.
Each room is dormitory style. I personally stayed in a room with four beds. The beds are your standard IKEA style bunk beds while, although a little squeaky if you move around a lot, are comfortable. The air-conditioning works really well and you can leave it on all the time – i.e., it’s not dependent on whether or not someone is in the room. I was grateful for that because DC in the summer can be boiling hot!
There are more than enough lockers in each room to accommodate you. Even after I checked out, the staff allowed me to use a locker in a room that was full. There were eight lockers and four beds. If you need some extra space, you’ll likely find it.
City House Hostel Common Area
Downtown DC Hostel has a very comfortable sofa. It’s huge and a lot of people can use it at the same time. In addition, there is a very large, flat-panel television where you can pretty much watch what you want. If I was to offer any criticism of this particular area, it’s that it is often quite warm. The area has what looks like two portable air conditioning units that don’t have enough capacity to handle the job.That being said, it was unusually hot while I was there, and this might not always be an issue.
The TV room also sits in the reception area, so you will often have to turn the television way down. A minor issue, but if you’re watching a good movie, this can be annoying.
This Washington hostel has a great kitchen. They have pots, pans, utensils, cups, plates – all you’ll need to prepare your meals if you choose to do so. The kitchen has two refrigerators, plus a stove, oven, and microwave. If you enjoy cooking, it’s very easy to do that because there is a Whole Foods Market right up the block, and a regular grocery store within a short walk. If you’d rather cook than spend all your money eating out, City House Hostel is perfectly situated for you.
Toilets and showers
On each floor, you’ll find at least one full bathroom with a shower and a half bath with a toilet and sink. That’s not enough, in my opinion, but I didn’t have an issue using them because of my schedule. I didn’t use them when they were busy in the morning. They are kept very clean and the hostel provides towels to use for showers.
The staff at the hostel regularly host things like pub crawls (there are plenty in the area). They post a weekly schedule right next to the TV so you’ll know exactly what’s going on that day or night. They also have a nice selection of books that you can borrow.
And speaking of the staff, I found them to be very friendly and outgoing from the time I got there until the time I left. Nixon was especially cool during my stay and we chatted quite a bit. He, and all the staff, can pretty much help you with anything. For me, it made this one of the best places to stay in Washington DC if you’re on a budget. They definitely know the area.
Finally, I have to say that this hostel is very clean. There is not a moment – none that I saw anyway – that someone wasn’t dusting, mopping, sweeping, cleaning a sink, etc. They clearly care about keeping the place spotless. As part of that, the hostel is shoe-free. You can wear your outside footwear in the reception and to walk through the TV room. After that, you have to take them off. No shoes (or food or drink, except for water) in the rooms, kitchen, or bathrooms.
Is Downtown DC Hostel Worth it?
If you’re looking for a Washington DC hostel near the metro, someplace with an international “feel,” then this is the DC hostel you should pick. Downtown DC Hostel is in a great location and I am glad I found it. There are a lot of places to eat in the area and it’s within walking distance of Union Station. You can get to central DC in minutes.
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