Hostel Review: Charleston’s NotSo Hostel

Hostel Review: Charleston’s NotSo Hostel

I heard about #Charleston’s NotSo #hostel before I had ever stayed in a hostel myself, long before my backpacking trip through #Ireland. I always wanted a chance to stay there, to feel like a traveler in my own city. Now that I’ve moved away (and visit as often as possible!), I knew it was time to give the hostel a go.

The houses that encompass the hostel are not unlike the few I lived in during my four years in the Holy City with all the quirks I’m fond of: the buckling floorboards, the steep staircases and the glorious porches.

The main house has all the important features, the kitchens, bathrooms, laundry and reception, and 6 bedrooms. The back house has even more private rooms. Like at Backpack Oz in Adelaide, the Annex on Cannon Street is much quieter and has more of an apartment feel than the rest of the hostel. There are four more bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, parking and a television.

from  $59

Hotel Notso Hostel, Llc

 33 Cannon Street, Charleston, SC, United States
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There are two kitchens, meaning more room to cook yourself meals. Both have refrigerators, a stove and oven, microwave, toaster oven and sink. In the dorm rooms, there is a ceiling fan and personal fans attached to each bed to keep the Charleston humidity at bay. 

The hostel provides free breakfast from 8:30-10 am, which includes HUGE bagels, cream cheese, Nutella and coffee. Unlike many hostels I’ve stayed in, the wireless Internet is free and there are two computers for you to use. There is also an unpaved parking lot around back where you can park for free. Most places in town charge at least $5 to park.

The hostel provides free breakfast from 8:30-10 am

I never had to wait in line for a bathroom, but I found it odd that there were only two for both the main and the back house. There are also no trash cans in the rooms, which means guests are more likely to leave their trash lying around rather than carrying it downstairs.

Reception hours are from 5-10 pm, which can be a problem if you arrive into town early in the morning. If you let them know ahead of time, they can give you the door code so you can stash your bags in the kitchen, use the WiFi and take a shower. The mattresses are plastic, so they make a fair bit of noise when you move around, but are comfortable enough.

There’s no common room to speak of, apart from the couch in the lobby. Most socializing happens in the kitchen at breakfast every morning and on the front porch.

Most socializing happens in the kitchen at breakfast

Before staying at the NotSo Hostel, you should be aware of a few things. It’s not a hotel, so there won’t be someone to clean up after you all the time. You are expected to wash your own dishes. There is also a certain amount of street noise that comes with staying on Spring Street. The area is not unsafe, necessarily, but I don’t recommend walking alone at night. Instead, take a pedicab or taxi.

I’ve always preferred the smaller, quirkier hostels over the big hostel chains, so NotSo Hostel was right up my alley. It felt like a home and while it’s not everyone’s tastes (too loud, not tidy enough, etc.), I enjoyed my stay there.

felt like a home and while it’s not everyone’s tastes

There are some great restaurants nearby that I can recommend to those staying in the NotSo Hostel. The Taco Spot at Coming and Spring streets is a second location of a restaurant I used to work at. While there’s no dining space, it’s a good place to pick up a fish taco and take it back to the hostel. Fuel, located at Rutledge and Cannon streets, serves up Caribbean food and cheap margaritas. There’s a courtyard out back with a bocce court. Across the street is the famous Hominy Grill, which almost always has a wait for the Southern cuisine.

There are some great restaurants nearby

Caroline in the City Rating

Location: Spring Street is in an “up and coming” neighborhood with plenty of restaurants and coffee shops but not very close to the tourist attractions. 

Character: The houses are very quirky, with paintings of flowers and quotes scattered throughout. 

Security: A security code gets you into the back door during all hours and your room key goes only to your door. 

Staff: Manager Vikki is very nice, as is her puppy, but you might only see the few staff members throughout the day. 

Fun: This isn’t a “party” hostel, per se, and there aren’t a lot of planned activities, so you have to make your own fun. 

Cleanliness: I found the hostel clean enough, but it still feels “lived in.” 

Extras: Breakfast, WiFi, computers, bike rentals, free parking, linens, personal fans in room. 

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