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.
The first point is the excellent location, half of what you want to see in SF is on the water front, and its only a 5 minute walk! The Hostel itself is a little on the old side, but its all part of its charm, being part of the history rather than just looking at it from the outside. I found the staff here awesome. Larissa makes the best double chocolate brownies I have ever had in my life!!! There are lockers for every person in the room and they are lockable. You can never blame a hostel for a dodgy room mate so it always pays to lock everything, you never know who is coming to stay that day. There are some great views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge from just out the back door. If you take a walk around the immediate area there are a few paths that get you down to the waterfront and Ghiradelli Square. I had a great time at this hostel! I have no hesitation in recommending this hostel to anyone looking for economy accommodation.
Johsnon writes, "My wife is on her way home after leaving WITHOUT STAYING...she checked in and called me, saying the place was not at all what she expected. She took my 11 year old daughter on a field trip with the school, the trip was set up by school morons!!! After returning from dinner my wife first encountered several homeless people loitering outside the entrance. Then there was a group of young men (20 to 30 years of age) in the room, slapping each other saying;look at what just walked in;. There was a creepy old man in the hall near the bathrooms staring at her. She gathered her stuff together and immediately left! I will have some very negative feedback for the school, I would not recommend this place to anyone! (Unless you WANT to)"