Exploring Charleston, South Carolina has always been high on my travel priority list, but I always thought I couldn’t afford it. Hotel prices are expensive in Charleston! My original plan was to CouchSurf, but the couple of people I made contact with were located in an area of town not well serviced by public transportation. Bummer!
And then I discovered the NotSo Hostel through my Google search for cheap accommodations in Charleston. I could stay within walking distance of the historic downtown Charleston for less than $60 for the weekend! Yes, please! I quickly made my reservations for the weekend via their online booking portal.
I received a confirmation email with the pass code to the back door around midnight before my arrival the next day. I was able to take the public bus from the airport into Charleston and then walk the mile or so to the hostel to drop my stuff off before exploring the city. The hostel offers small lockers that you can easily stuff a medium size backpack in. If you have a large backpack or luggage then it will not fit in the locker and I would recommend a bicycle lock locked to the foot of the lockers.
The hostel is located in an old Charlestonian home. It’s main location is at 156 Spring Street and has dorm rooms, privates rooms and space for camping. A second annex location is available at 33 Cannon Street. The main location actually has two physical buildings: the front house and the middle house. Parking is amble out back and on the street.
The main house has two kitchens on either side of the main staircase with a bathroom on each side and a large common room and front desk. The hostel is only manned during check-in, which is between 5p and 10p. There are 5 dorm rooms available: two are all-male, two are all-female, and one is co-ed. There are also several private rooms available in both the front and middle houses.
I stayed in the Victoria Room, which is one of the all-female dorm rooms. It contained two bunk beds sleeping a total of 4 girls. The rooms are nice and still hold the charm of the home’s original architecture. The rooms were clean and I was given clean bedding. However, the staff didn’t check the sheets when they put them on my bunk and gave me two flat sheets. I was able to get a fitted sheet by asking the front desk girl. I was not very impressed with the beds themself. They just plain sucked. The worst I’ve probably slept on in any hostel I have ever stayed in during my travels. The bunks are cheap metal frames that wobble with any movement and the mattresses are thin plastic pads. While I was sleeping I kept pulling my sheets off the mattress and woke up on the plastic pad. Yuck! However, the plastic mattresses are easy to clean and if I had wet the bed like a 6-year-old I would have been fine.
I didn’t use the kitchens, but the kitchens had everything you needed. Breakfast of toast, tea, and coffee is served daily from 9a to 10a. I never partook in breakfast as I was always out the door by 8:30a. Both the front house bathrooms were adequate and clean. However, one of the bathrooms ran out of toliet paper in the middle of the day and I could not find any toliet paper anywhere else. You can rent a towel for $1, which I recommend instead of bringing one with you.
The house is old so there is a lot of creaks and noises throughout the night. Noise and volume carries, but for the most part, people were quiet during the nightly quiet hours. In nice weather you can hang out on the two porches in the front of the house. The wifi was free and great. The location is safe and the walk into town was about 10-15 minutes. There wasn’t a whole lot of restaurants or bars located nearby, but a few cafes and shops were within a few blocks.
Overall, I think the hostel is not a bad stay if you’re looking to visit Charleston on the cheap. If I was to stay here again I think I would pay a little extra for a private room. The beds are probably more comfortable then those lousy bunkbeds. I also learned that a lot of mansion owners run Bed & Breakfasts in their old carriage houses and some range under $200 a night. Not a bad price if you’re splitting it with someone.
Hostel Quick Facts
- Location: Main Location – 156 Spring Street; Annex Location – 33 Cannon Street
- Room Types: Dorms, Private rooms, Camping
- Cost: Ranges from $26 (dorm bed) to $95 (private room)
- Check-in Times: 5p to 10p
- Check-out Times: 10a
- Breakfast: Yes, toast and oatmeal between 9a to 10a daily