As we pulled out of LAX in the Super Shuttle to our hostel, the adrenaline set in. It was a gorgeous sunny day, and after 100+ days of counting down and a total of 16 hours of plane time, we had finally arrived in the USA – our home for the next 1.5 months! We were at our first stop on our American vacation, Los Angeles and were keen to get straight into action in the city of dreams.
As we drove down Hollywood Blvd, we reached our home for the next 3 nights; Banana Bungalow Hollywood, the first of many hostels on the trip. We had quite an unexpected welcome, right as we pulled up outside the hostel, a guy stumbled outside and puked all over the sidewalk. Probably had a few too many the night before. “Welcome to Hollywood!” the driver chuckled, gave us our backpacks and drove away. What had we gotten ourselves into?! Despite the warm welcome, it was all uphill from there (mostly).
We settled into our dorm, and despite our best efforts to chat to the other girls in the dorm room, they weren’t really having a bar of it so we moved on. Later that night, two new girls from Sweden also arrived and they were lovely! Over the next few nights a few different groups of people came through, and we were able to have some great chats with most of them. I guess it’s just the luck of the draw who you’re partnered with!
Now for some more detail about the hostel.
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Banana Bungalow is located right in the heart of Hollywood at 5920 Hollywood Blvd. It’s within walking distance of the Hollywood Walk Of Fame, the Chinese Theatre, Runyon Canyon and the subway and bus stations. A prime location if you’re after a place near the main strip in Hollywood, but out of the overly crowded touristy area on the Boulevard.
The hostel is in a good location for those attracted to all things to do with the main tourist area in Hollywood. However, if I were to come back to Los Angeles, I would be more inclined to stay at the sister hostel Banana Bungalow West Hollywood, as it’s in a better location for those wanting to do more in Los Angeles and have better access to more of the local hotspots, rather than the tacky tourist centre of the Chinese Theatre. I would also consider looking into budget places in the surrounding areas of Beverly Hills and Santa Monica, which have a more relaxed and chilled out vibe.
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The Banana Bungalow cost us $26 a night for 6-8 bed dorm, which is relatively cheaper than many of it’s competitors in the nearby area which can cost over $45-50+ a night.
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The Banana Bungalow has some nice facilities and areas for people to hang out in. The courtyard within the centre of the rooms always had people in there chatting away, as well as beer pong and basketball tournaments. The hostel also has a cute little area out the back known as the Tiki Garden, which was a nice little place to have (free) breakfast or sunbathe.
Each night the hostel offers different activities for the guests (and the sister hostel) to take part in. While we were not there over a weekend, the nights we were there the activities ranged from karaoke nights, ping pong tournaments, club crawls, as well as a Spaghetti Bolognese, BBQ and taco DIY dinner nights.
The rooms weren’t overly spacious, but were enough for a few nights stay. They also came equipped with their own bathroom in each dorm – which was a huge plus! It was definitely a challenge getting used to sharing space, particularly bathroom space, with people you don’t know!
There is free wireless throughout the entire hostel, even within the rooms!
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The staff were always friendly and able to help if we had any questions. They provided us with maps and directions to all the sites around LA and were able to offer us many transport options from the metro to their own shuttle.
The overall vibe of the hostel was very laid back and hip with the tiki style decor. It was a great place to have my first hostel experience.