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 Value for Money  3.0
 Rooms  3.0
 Cleanliness  3.0
 Location  3.0
 Security & Safety  3.0
 Service & Staff  3.0
 Food / Dining  4.0
 Total  3.1

"the worst hostel ever"

User Rating:  1.3
Reviewer:   Karen J. of san francisco, ca, United States
Reviewed:   September 14, 2012  (see hotel reviews from
Traveled:   September 2012     Type:   Other
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 Value for Money
 Security & Safety
 Service & Staff
 Food / Dining
Comments  (English):
After being forced by my friend to camp for 3 freezing nights in Denali, I told him that I refused to camp in Fairbanks. He is on a limited budget and wanted to stay at a hostel to save money. I have no problem with that as I have stayed in dozens of hostels all over the world.

The Fairbanks International Hostel is hands down the worst hostel I have ever stayed at. If I could have given it a negative rating instead of 1 star, I would have. It is not easy to find. It’s located on a small street away from downtown and there is no sign out front. There are 2 other signs out front, one that says 7 Gables Inn and the other says Abbey Inn.

When we were shown our hostel accommodations, I was extremely surprised by the lack of quality of the accommodations. My friend was put in a rundown trailer that smelled of cigarette smoke and I was given a treehouse that looked like it hadn't been cleaned in weeks. Neither have insulation or any real heating. There is a small radiator style space heater in the treehouse but it puts out just enough heat to take the chill out of the air. In no way does it warm the treehouse. After being in the treehouse for a while, I noticed that the roof is just slapped on top of the walls so there is a 3.5 inch gap all the way across on 2 sides where the 2x4 attach to the walls. They have tried to slow the escape of warm air by attaching some fabric to the gaps but many gaps were missing fabric. There are also lots of other smaller air gaps throughout the treehouse, like where the windows are and at the top of the door.

The treehouse has 2 levels. The downstairs has 1 bunkbed. The upper bunk is about 15 inches from the ceiling so one would have to slide along on the bed to avoid hitting their heads...and there is an electrical box that hangs down another 2 inches from the ceiling making that only 13 inches above the bed. The lower bunk is a trundle style bed that pulls out, but completely blocks the doorway. So anyone wanting to use the restroom (located across the yard in another building) in the middle of the night must wake the person sleeping in the lower bunk, make them get out of bed and push the bed in so they could get out the door...and vice versa to get back in.

The upstairs level of the treehouse has one bed; a 3 inch foam mattress on the floor. You get upstairs by climbing a ladder that is attached to the 2x4 framing on the walls so it is completely vertical which makes it virtually impossible to bring any luggage upstairs without someone handing things up to you. Plus the opening is not large enough to climb up with a decent sized backpack on. I had a small daypack on and could barely get thru the hole in the ceiling/floor.

That evening after showering, I came out of the only bathroom (meaning only 1 shower, 1 toilet and 1 sink) that is allocated to the hostel rooms and the owner was waiting in front of the door with another hostel goer. He said she would be bunking in the treehouse with me. She went to look at the treehouse and immediately decided to cancel her second night of stay. The only reason she was going to stay even 1 night was that it was late and she didn’t want to look for another place.

She came back to talk to the owner and since I was in the next room, I could hear their entire conversation. She said she didn’t like either bunk downstairs (I was in the upstairs bed) because one was too close to the ceiling and the other blocked the door. He told her that the lower bunk downstairs blocks the door for protection so no one can get in during the night. The treehouse door has no lock but there are a lot of other better ways to keep a door from opening than using someone's bunk. Then he said that the upstairs has 2 beds. When I heard this, I walked over to correct him. Again, he said that there were 2 beds. I said that I only saw 1 bed with 1 blanket and 1 pillow. Then he said that the treehouse is for 4 people, that the upstairs bed is large enough for 2 people and didn't we each have our own sleeping bags that we could use on top of the bed and what kind of backpackers stay in hostels that don't carry sleeping bags! Never have I been asked by any hostel in any county to share a bed with a complete stranger.

The next day, the owner told me that the girl bunking with me in the treehouse left at midnight, about two hours after she checked in. He said that she wanted to stay in the common room of the B&B for the night and he would not allow it, that the entire place with the exception of the bathroom was off limits to her. Then he asked me about the space heater in the treehouse and where it was located. I said it was upstairs and he blamed me for making her leave and having to refund her money, then stormed out of the room.

I had tried to get her some heat by borrowing the space heater from my friend’s trailer…he likes it cold at night so he wasn’t going to use it. I brought the heater from his trailer into the treehouse and plugged it in but it was broken; we tried everything and couldn’t get any heat from it. Since the space heater that was upstairs had been on for a couple of hours already, there was no way to bring radiator style heater down the completely vertical ladder without both of us getting burned.

It was very cold that night and the treehouse is large enough to require at least 1 space heater for each level and for him to blame me for the inadequacies of his hostel is inexcusable. In fact, one of his employees apologized to me for his behavior. For an employee to apologize to a customer about her boss’ behavior is telling you something.

Apparently, the hotel rooms and B&B rooms are very nice as I heard many people wanting to extend their stay, but I also heard him telling some of them that the rates were higher than they had paid for their first night of stay because he had given then a better room than they had originally paid for. Not sure whether this was true or not but just something to watch out for if you stay in the hotel or B&B part of the place.

Whatever you do, DON'T stay in the hostel part of these properties…you will regret it if you do.

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