Green Tortoise Hostel - San Francisco

494 Broadway, San Francisco, California, 94133-4515, United States
#185 of 334 hotels in San Francisco
Excellent (4.5 out of 5.0) 10 reviews
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Green Tortoise

Best (5.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on May 20, 2008

I stayed at the Green Tortoise for three nights and could not have had a better time. Its of usual hostel quality as could be expected but there is a large common room with an adjacent kitchen. Random musical instruments are available to play for anyone who is interested and there is an internet cafe with 5-6 computers. As far as hostels go the Green Tortoise does a great job at fostering an open atmosphere perfect for the international travelers who stay there.

Unique Quality: At least once a week the Tortoise arranges to have a musician come and play a small show in the common room.

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The worst of the worst

Terrible (1.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on December 17, 2007

Note: To see the links embedded in this review, you need to go to my profile (click on my name), and then go to the bottom of the page, where it says "Bypassing Bad Site Design", where you'll find links to copies of my reviews on which the links work.

Description of the experience: Hellish. The whole story is on this page. No contest, no competition, both the worst travel and the worst hospitality experience I've ever had. Brief summary - the Tortoise was advised of a pre-existing medical condition, lied about their willingness and ability to accommodate that needs created by that condition, and much fun followed, including an episode in which I was left begging for food in the middle of a desert. Never, never again.

Bad Times on the Green Tortoise - location one

Bad Times on the Green Tortoise - location two

cachaseiro's Profile Photo

great party hostel for young people.

Best (5.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on April 22, 2007

the green tortoise is a very cool hostel in a great location in central san francisco.
the place has a very bohemian atmosphere and is a laid back place to knock down a few beers with fellow travellers while staying cheap in san francisco.

it's not really much of a place for families with small kids in my opinion.
they are much better off at the HI hostels in san francisco.

this place is for the young alternative crowd who wants a hostel in a location where they are close to good nightlife.

Unique Quality: this hostel is in my opinion very san francisco with it's laid back hippie style.

Directions: in the italian part of town right next to chinatown.

davequ's Profile Photo

Still there, still cheap: party on, Garth!

by written on February 27, 2007

I'm relieved to know the Green Tortoise in North Beach was essentially unaffected by the landslide last night.

I actually had a reason ... a nice dude from Belgrade had asked me (via vtmail) about low-budget accomodations / hostels in North Beach, and I told him to check out the Tortoise based on funky-broadway location.

So I get up this morning and find out the hill behind it took a slide last night around 3am.
First thing I thought of was: " oh sh#, I wonder if the guy from Belgrade got buried because of me."

Luckily not so. I just called & spoke with them and (per the desk) all the Tortoise buildings were unaffected, as they were about 1/2 block west and sit on bedrock, not boulders & mud.
At any rate, I like the location of this place for dirt-cheap / affordable beds
(GT is a 200-bed hostel) right in the middle of one of my fave parts of town.

You're right across the street from Enricos' - 1 block from Columbus and all the good North Beach restaurants & clubs; just a few blocks from Chinatown & the financial district as well as the Embarcadero; etc. ... in other words,
it's about location.

If anyone tells you the area isn't safe, they're full of bs: I literally live in this area day & night when I visit the City. Broadway is definitely a little funkified, but imo it is as safe as any other part of SF @ night.

Unique Quality: I walk by here all the time, I have been inside & spoken with staff, but truth be told, I have never spent the night here (or in any hostel).

I recommend it for the SF / North Beach location; it's close to Chinatown; and it is definitley cheap (about $20/night).

Free breakfast, 2 or 3 free dinners / week, internet, sauna, organized house-parties etc. in what I would describe as a youthful & definitely communal atmosphere.

I checked all over the web, and you will find reviews varying from "great, loved it; can't wait to go back" - to "yuk" and "don't stay here ever" / "bedbugs" etc.

Most of the reviews I have read here at vt and other places are mostly positive.
so my advice is check out their WEBSITE and see what you think.

Their website surely doesn't try to hide anything.

My impression from dropping in, talking to them, and web research is:
if you're into partying in North Beach with a group of young & mostly foreign travelers, and your main SF objectives are location and to save money, you might want to check it out.
If you're in any way: into privacy / quiet / stuffy / constipated / obsessive / 'neat-freak' / light-sleeper / conservative, etc. ... then the Tortoise may be (for you) a gateway to hell.

Let me know what you think if you ever stay there.

Hey, at least if there is a landslide in North Beach
and if you're partying with everybody @ the Tortoise,
it's likely you'll live to party another day.

Directions: Below Dunnes Alley on Broadway, right smack in the middle of North Beach. Across Kearny from Enrico's & the Broadway strip clubs ... just up the hill from the 'Lusty Lady'

sfyam's Profile Photo

Clean & value for money

Great (4.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on May 22, 2006

I spent 4 nights in this hostel, and I just love the atmosphere for the staff are very helpful and friendly. They share with you travelling tips, budgeting ways to get around (better than guidebooks) and for they are also travellers. You will be amazed some of them are great chef too.

Unique Quality: I had a private room to myself. The room is located on 3rd floor with no attached bathroom but there were many pillows. Plus points are you get free WIFI, free daily breakfast and free alternate night dinner which help to save some bucks for travelling. It is conveniently located at North Beach, walking distance to Chinatown and Columbus Tower. Whatelse could you ask for at that price?

VWvaporChick's Profile Photo

I heart the turtle!

Best (5.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on January 4, 2006

This place is great... CHEAP... Clean... free breakfast every morning, and dinner 3 times a week! I had a private room and it was very cozy! Staff is super informative and helpful about sights around town. 5 stars for a hostel!

Unique Quality: Building is awesome... views arent so great, but there is alot of view as far as the architecture inside to keep you busy.

Directions: Since we were backpacking when we got out of the BART station we took a cab (5 bucks plus tip)

Lady_E's Profile Photo

very nice hostel in the centre of San Francisco

Best (5.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on December 5, 2004

I would recommend this hostel to everybody who is looking for some cheap and clean accomodation in SF. The great advantage of this hostel is it´s location which is situated in the centre of the city. There are lots of pubs near the hostel, China town and piers are in the walking distance.

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Good Choice

Good (3.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on October 23, 2004

It's a huge messy lively place, international atmosphere, 8 beds in dorms, quite comfortable but rooms very packed. Not enough bathrooms. Very clean though. Huge common room (called the "ballroom") for meals and hanging out, but it's cold and not comfortable at all. Location is in the nice North Beach area with cafes and bars around the corner, however, the immediate neighbourhood is somewhat seedy, but still safe! Events and excursions, trips to Yosemite etc.
Free 24 h internet! Free Breakfast! Sometimes free dinners.

Unique Quality: Breakfast was great, with different types of bagels with cream cheese and peanut butter and jam, coffee, tea, and juice - all you can eat! That got you started for the exhausting daily routine of walking the hills of San Francisco.

Hostel is alright as cheap accommodation in a great city but not a place to hang out just to sleep - and check your e-mail any time of the day.

Directions: Little Italy

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Storyin San Francisco

Best (5.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on September 11, 2004

the hostel is located in China Town , and many adult xxx video store around , but there are blondy BO-BA on those banner , so I do not feel uncomfortable . it cost 22 USD (Cash) , including FREE internet , walking distance from my Amtrak bus stop . every bed has its own private LIGHT!!! so nice !!!! friendly staff !! room with big windows with nice view , many bathroom , I did not have to wait . nice breakfast in an old style big room , very comfortable , my BEST hostel experience in USA ! I only stay one night to wait for the next morning train , I wish I could stay longer .

Freebeacher's Profile Photo

Best Hostel-Best Location

Best (5.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on February 13, 2004

I stayed at the Green Tortoise during my visit. It was very easy to get to from the BART station and is in a really convenient location in the North Beach neighborhood. Chinatown is less than 5 minutes walk away. My dorm room had only 4 beds which was very civilized. The place was cleaned top to bottom daily, and they provided free bagels, fruit and coffee each morning. On top of that they put on free dinners as well, three times a week, I believe. Between eating free there and cheaply in Chinatown, I saved a lot of money.

Unique Quality: This is the only hostel I stayed at that had a SAUNA! Free. It's true. That was a really nice touch. When I arrived it was cold and rainy a lot, so it was nice to heat up after a long day of sightseeing. They also had free internet anytime you want, billiards too. They had a free keg party with a live jazz trio when I was there for Martin Luther King Day, which I thought was outstanding! I met a lot of very serious travellers here-people on round the world trips with well-worn passports. It's a good hostel to make connections for further travel. I heartily recommend this hostel above the others in the city.

Directions: North Beach neighborhood. From the Financial District go north on either Montgomery of Kearny Streets which both run into Broadway.

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Nearby Green Tortoise Hostel - San Francisco

Green Tortoise Hostel - San Francisco

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Address: 494 Broadway, San Francisco, California, 94133-4515, United States

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Amenities at Green Tortoise Hostel - San Francisco

  • Continental Breakfast
  • Free High Speed Internet

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