my thoughts on staying at a hostel (in hollywood), the people, the things to do...
07.03.2009 - 12.03.2009
So this is my second trek to an unknown city to stay at a hostel. The first time was with Mike in Chicago for Lollapalooza in 2005. Back then, I have to say that I was a little nervous and uncomfortable with the idea. But my experience was really good! So I decided to try it again in LA. Well, more specifically, Hollywood. Which again made me a bit nervous since I've heard that Hollywood is a hell hole. But for just me, myself and I... It was the only affordable option. Any hotel in the area would have cost me at least $150 to $200 per nite, and that's just ridiculous.
So I tried USA Hostels Hollywood on Schrader Blvd. It is situated right off of Hollywood between Highland and Vine. Perfect for me since all the tourist sites, major public transportation centers and the concert venue were within a 20 minute walk.
I really did enjoy my stay, once again. This place was a bit older and more worn in than the last one. But it was still taken care of and really felt like home after the first couple of days. I felt safe enough in the area and honestly, Hollywood is not as bad as people make it out to be. Yes, there are poor people. Wow, never seen those before. Yes, there are crazy people. Yeah, sure I've never had smelly crazy people on the RTA at home. Sarcasm. So yes, it was a dirty, gritty city and I'm sorry to break it to everyone but I actually LIKE that. It also had so much cinema history up and down Hollywood Blvd. The stars on the sidewalk. The bank where Chaplin and Fairbanks used to go. The Roosevelt Hotel. Grauman's Chinese Theatre. I just loved the energy and I got to walk through all of it every day on my way to and from the hostel.
So back to the hostel. It has two levels. There is a kitchen on the first floor with free coffee and tea 24/7, plus free make-your-own pancakes every morning. Although I never got around to making those pancakes. Darn. You can use the kitchen all you want as long as you clean your dishes because, as one sign reads, "Your mother is not here." On the second floor is the communal lounge area with couches, a big screen TV, pub tables and a bar. They also have 2 extra full bathrooms in there just in case the one in your room is too busy. Plus there was a nice patio area out front to chillax on.
My room was kind of small, but according to some of the other girls, ours was actually larger than most. There were 8 beds paired up as bunk beds plus 8 lockers. We also had our own bathroom with full tub and shower. Surprisingly, we never had to compete over it!
The also had tons of events going on during the day and at night. Hikes to Runyan Canyon and the Hollywood sign. Walking tours. Party limo rides. Open mike night in the lounge. Comedy night, too. And these events gave you the opportunity to meet the other hostel kids, which was really cool. Everyone staying there is usually very open and nice. Since many people travel alone or with only one other person, they are all really looking to meet new people in each city and to go exploring.
Which brings me to the people that I was lucky enough to meet during my stay! In my room, there were girls from all over the world. And they kept changing out, coming and going to other cities. I met 3 girls from Israel, 1 from France, 1 from Norway, 1 from Brazil, 2 from England, 2 from China, 1 from Japan, 2 from Australia and probably a couple more that I can't remember right now. I would say that most were in their 20s, and Isabelle from France is actually my age, which was cool, too. With the exception of one rather aggressive girl, everyone was really nice and normal and I felt safe leaving my luggage unattended in our shared room. It's a gamble, I know, but you really don't have a choice.
On top of that, I met a few others through the events and things, plus some of the workers, who were all really nice. Another few from Germany, Ireland, England, France, Spain and Malaysia. So crazy! They were all nice and a lot of fun. I did end up exchanging info with a few of the people I met, but I wish I had remembered to ask some of the others. I guess that's the way it goes! Very very fun and my only regret is that I didn't start hanging with the hostel kids sooner! I was sad to leave just after really making friends. All and all a good stay for very little money!