Hostel Review: HI New York

New York is famous for being one of the most expensive places to travel in the world. As such, people of all demographics are looking to save a couple bucks while at the same time getting good value; the clientele of the HI New York reflects that situation exactly. You will find high school groups, families, people in town on business, and your usual backpackers all under one roof, and it’s a big roof. The HI New York is one of the largest hostels I have ever stayed at which is both a good thing and causes some problems. Regardless, you can do a lot worse than staying at the HI New York, and at around 40USD a night for a dorm it might not be the cheapest, but it is good value for its location.

Not the view from the hostel…

The Good

The best part of the HI New York is its staff. The people that run the ground level of this operation deserve some recognition. Everyone from the check-in people to information to the cleaning staff is incredibly friendly and helpful. They also do their best to get people involved in activities and guide people to budget minded activities that still manage to give guests a nice bit of insight into the Big Apple. 

HI New York, New York, Hostel, dorm room

The dorm room at HI New York

Also, the availability of a number of common areas is a huge plus. The property features different rooms for gathering and meeting people or just hanging out with buddies. There is also free Wifi across the property including in the rooms which is always quite fast.  A huge bonus for someone like me.

The Bad

Part of my issue with the hostel is the size, but most of it is the Hosteling International standards in the United States. The sheer magnitude of the hostel makes it more difficult to meet people. There is less of a community/family environment due to that size and magnitude. I think another issue is the “no drinking on property rule”. There are fewer ice-breaker opportunities if there are no social/drinking events nightly. I understand that in the US part of the issue is that the drinking age is 21 and many backpackers are under that age, but seriously… come on!

My other issues with the property are minor, but for me it’s the little things that make a place. Dorm rooms house 6 people which at $40 each a night means that they are pulling a cool $240 a night from a room much smaller than a normal hotel room, yet each room still shares one main plug-in. It is a simple fix to add a power point at each bunk bed. My second gripe is the elevator. There is only one for this huge property and it may be the slowest elevator in the world. I didn’t mind as much myself since it meant I got some excersise using the stairs but it wasn’t uncommon to see people waiting 15 minutes just to catch a lift.

Overall impressions

Personally, I like the HI New York, and the staff as I mentioned is wonderful. However, for the price of $40 a night I think that I could probably find another place for a little bit better value. Seriously, they are pulling $240 a night from those rooms? I wouldn’t mind owning that property. But I guess if they keep filling it nightly, who can fault them. As far as location goes it can’t be beat, you are 1 block from a subway station, there are lots of great pubs nearby, and you’re two blocks from Central Park.

At the end of the day, you’ll definitely be treated right by the people at this hostel, but at $40 a night for a basic hostel experience seems too much for me, but then again this is New York City.

Getting to HI New York

  • From JFK Airport it is simple. Catch the airlink train to Hamilton beach and then catch an A train to Manhattan. You will then have to get off at a downtown station like 52nd street and switch to a local train (the airport train is express and skips the hostel stop). Get off at 103st station and walk one block to the hostel
  • From Laguardia it is also fairly simple. You can catch the M60 bus to 106 and broadway and then walk three blocks to the hostel. The bus ride is about an hour.
  • From Newark I recommend skipping public transport and booking an airport shuttle with SuperShuttle. It’s only $17 and will save you the hassle of changing over a bunch of times to get to the hostel.

Want to Book with HI New York?

You can Book your stay with HI New York here.

**Please note, the accommodation that I am reviewing was complimentary thanks to my partnership with Hostelbookers.com. However, I am under no obligation to write a review let along a positive one. This review represents exactly how I saw and experienced the property.

Back to the New York City Travel Guide

Author: Brendan van Son

Author: I am a travel writer and photographer from Alberta, Canada. Over my years as a travel photographer, I have visited 6 of the 7 continents and more countries than I have any desire to count. If you want to improve your skills, be sure to check out my travel photography channel on Youtube . Also, check out my profile on . to learn a little bit more about me and my work.

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3 Comments

  1. Hi Brendan! Thanks for the feedback. We hear you loud and clear. We’ve actually been working on securing our alcohol permit for over a year and just received it. We now have a weekly happy hour that will be scaling up to 3 times a week beginning in May, so you’ll have to come back and visit. Please let us know if you do; we’d be happy to work with you.

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