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 Value for Money  3.6
 Rooms  3.5
 Cleanliness  4.0
 Location  4.0
 Security & Safety  4.0
 Service & Staff  4.3
 Food / Dining  3.8
 Total  3.9

"Not recommended"

User Rating:  2.1
Reviewer:   Alexa F. of Culver city, United States
Reviewed:   August 18, 2018  (see hostel reviews from Instantworldbooking.com)
Traveled:   July 2018     Type:   Youth/Student
1 2 3 4 5
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Comments  (English):
The facts:

They have ants. They clearly know they have ants, since there are signs everywhere forbidding any food or drinks in the bedrooms so as not to attract bugs. Peculiarly, however, there are zero ant traps anywhere in the house, so they do nothing to get rid of them.
The fact that there are lines of ants in certain places around the living room is one thing. However, the fact that at several points during the night I found an ant crawling on my *body* while I was lying in a *top bunk* on the *2nd floor* of the house, is quite ANOTHER.
(No one had any food or drinks in our room.)

The touted free breakfast is very plain pancakes that every guest has to cook on their own from a bowl of batter, & you get to stand in a long line waiting for your turn to even do it.

There are two rooms upstairs: a 4-bed & a 10-bed. They pretend the latter is 2 rooms of 4 & 6, but you must go through the 1st "room" to get to the 2nd one, & the door between them is missing, so - yeah, for all intents and purposes it's one single cramped 10-bed dorm. There is also one bathroom upstairs.

Downstairs there's a 6-bed room, two 3-person rooms & one 2-person room. And one full bathroom & one tiny closet into which a small person can barely stuff themselves, containing a toilet & sink.

If you've lost count: that's 28 people & 2.5 bathrooms. Do the math yourself on just how well that ends up working out for guests...

The dorm rooms are tiny: about a quarter the size of an average hotel room in SB. The cheap, unsteady metal bunk beds creak & shake like in an earthquake with every single movement anyone makes - on either the top or bottom bunk. I was woken up countless times during the night due to the girl on the lower bunk shifting around. Every time I climbed up or down, the bed shook so much it nearly tipped over (I'm a petite woman). The round metal bars of the ladder hurt my feet just putting any weight on them.

(I've slept on bunk beds plenty in college, & they don't have to be this way at all. The bunks in my college dorms were sturdy wood; they didn't shift or shake or hurt your feet climbing on them. I've also been in plenty of European hostels, & in all of them the dorms are larger than IHSP, so that you don't end up within literal arms' reach of all your roommates. )

Some of my lovely experiences during the night while I was trying to sleep: my downstairs bunkmate not only shifted around endlessly but took to obsessively counting & re-counting handfuls of coins in the late evening & very early morning; one of the guys in the perpendicular bunk snored; and the French guys opposite me would spend 10 minutes at a time rustling super loudly through a bunch of plastic bags in their suitcases every time they came in or out - which was many times & also quite late at night & in the early morning.
While your roommates may do different annoying things, there's little to no chance you'll get to room with only quiet & considerate folks; the point is I was treated to all this in surround sound due to the tiny room. Also every one of them kept startling me awake every time they'd even go in & out of the room due to the loud door or due to them turning the light on/off - that's 9 other people in that dorm room. Not to mention the uninvited roommates: the ants...

Overall I only got maybe 2-4 hours of poor-quality sleep, even with earplugs. As a result I was exhausted all next day, which ruined many of my plans.


Prices:

The very cheapest here is a bed in a 6-bed dorm: that costs $45/weekday & $55/weekend night. Notably, this is a pre-tax/fee price: you need to add %15-16 to that for how much you'll really pay. This is approximately 1/3 of the price of a normal hotel room in SB; one that can comfortably fit 2 people & has a private bathroom. (This isn't even counting the possibility of getting a hotel room with 2 proper queen beds to fit 4 people, for the same price.)
So, at IHSP you'll pay ~$100-130 for 2 people, to sleep on creaky, shaky metal bunks, in a room 1/4 the size of a normal hotel room which will be shared with 4 (or 8) noisy, inconsiderate strangers, & have to use shared bathrooms in the hallway (2.5/28 ppl). If you spend just 1/3 more $, you can get a private hotel room for the same 2 people with normal accommodations.

IHSP, by the way, also has one "private" double room with 1 large bed: this room is also much smaller than a regular hotel room, has NO bathroom, & costs $160-$225/night pre-tax. So they charge MORE than an average hotel for a double room of a much inferior quality. Do the math here - it just doesn't make any financial sense to stay with them.

"The worst hostel ever"

User Rating:  1.0
Reviewer:   Jenny B. of Santa Barbara, United States
Reviewed:   April 13, 2018  (see hostel reviews from Instantworldbooking.com)
Traveled:   April 2018     Type:   Youth/Student
1 2 3 4 5
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Comments  (English):
Should I warn you or let you experience the pure hell on your own?

"Not worth the money"

User Rating:  2.5
Reviewer:   Ami M. of San Luis Obispo, United States
Reviewed:   November 27, 2017  (see hostel reviews from Instantworldbooking.com)
Traveled:   November 2017     Type:   Youth/Student
1 2 3 4 5
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Comments  (English):
The hostel is close to the beach, but the rooms are crowded, my bedsheets had lots of someone else's hair on it (proving they hadn't been washed), the staff was reluctant to help, the bathroom floors were disgusting, and there was VERY little space to make/eat breakfast.

"Súper small room with no windows, no Air, súper warm, imposible to sleep."

User Rating:  2.0
Reviewer:   Maria G. of Bilbao, Spain
Reviewed:   October 6, 2017  (see hostel reviews from Instantworldbooking.com)
Traveled:   September 2017     Type:   Couple
1 2 3 4 5
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Comments  (English):
The Room was horrible, with no space for nothing, any windows so It was imposible to sleep, during the night I had to move to my car and sleep there.
The staff ver y nice. The location is not the best, 30 minuts walking from the center.

"I would not recommend"

User Rating:  1.5
Reviewer:   Matt M. of London, United Kingdom
Reviewed:   September 6, 2017  (see hostel reviews from Instantworldbooking.com)
Traveled:   September 2017     Type:   Couple
1 2 3 4 5
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Comments  (English):
Whilst the staff are lovely and helpful, I would not recommend staying at this hostel. The rooms are very hot and there is no air con, despite being in Southern California. The beds are uncomfortable. Most worrying is that the hostel has a big problem with ants. It was disconcerting to see your belonging covered in ants (nb we did not have any food in the room at all). The staff know that there is a problem with ants (as they advise you not to put food in your room when you check in) but do not seem to have done much about it.

We did not stay for breakfast due to the ants but all that was on offer was pancakes.

Santa Barbara is an expensive city but no matter what the price any premises selling a service should not be infested with ants. The management really need to sort this out. Maybe shut the place down for a while to resolve the issue and put in preventative measures.

"Not worth the money"

User Rating:  1.3
Reviewer:   Maria H. of Olympia, WA, United States
Reviewed:   August 12, 2017  (see hostel reviews from Instantworldbooking.com)
Traveled:   August 2017     Type:   Family
1 2 3 4 5
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Comments  (English):
The hostel is not staffed from midnight until morning. During this time there were numerous people in the hostel well into the wee hours making lots of noise (as in party noise). Not sure they were actually paying customers of the hostel. The conversations could be heard verbatim through the walls. In a nutshell, no sleep until around 4 am. The bathroom shower barely worked. In the second bathroom, one must lean over the toilet to use the sink, next to a large electrical panel. Not sure how that remodel was ever permitted. In short, definitely would not recommend this hostel and would never stay there again.

"Bad place do stay"

User Rating:  1.0
Reviewer:   Maria P. of Barueri, United States
Reviewed:   June 22, 2017  (see hostel reviews from Instantworldbooking.com)
Traveled:   May 2017     Type:   Other
1 2 3 4 5
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Comments  (English):
Bad place to stay

"De paso"

User Rating:  2.3
Reviewer:   Ignacio Z. of Buenos Aires, Argentina
Reviewed:   March 13, 2017  (see hostel reviews from Instantworldbooking.com)
Traveled:   March 2017     Type:   Active/Adventure
1 2 3 4 5
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Comments  (English):
No ofrecen toallas. Hay que pagar USD 2,00 por ducha.
Me parece que por el precio que cuesta hospedarse debería de incluirla.
Otra cosa que no me gustó, es lo incomoda que son las camas; te clavas los resortes en la espalda.

"Unimpressed"

User Rating:  1.5
Reviewer:   Laura K. of Los angeles, United States
Reviewed:   December 13, 2016  (see hostel reviews from Instantworldbooking.com)
Traveled:   December 2016     Type:   Other
1 2 3 4 5
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Comments  (English):
Room was $15 more than official website online price said. Check in took half an hour as we waited for the receptionist to finish arguing with other guests. Morning staff didn't show up and the guy they called in was rude, slow, and offensive. Sorry we weren't "exotic" enough for you. If I'm paying that much for a poor hostel at least treat me with respect and like a customer. Breakfast might be free but we were unwilling to spend two hours waiting for a pancake. One and a half bathrooms and the only shower needed to be turned off with a screwdriver? Definitely not worth the price. 30 minute walk from downtown. Disappointing that such a lovely town has such a crummy hostel

User Rating:  2.1
Reviewer:   Jack S. of Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Reviewed:   December 5, 2016  (see hostel reviews from Instantworldbooking.com)
Traveled:   December 2016     Type:   Couple
1 2 3 4 5
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