Don’t let the word “hostel” throw you. Budget-friendly doesn’t mean barebones at the all-ages-welcome Green Tortoise, which offers comfortable dorm-style co-ed and female-only rooms, as well as private and family-lodging options. Steps from historic Pike Place Market and close to mass transit, the hostel features perks like free Wi-Fi, a self-catering kitchen for communal meals, and cheap bike rentals.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Like many old buildings, Green Tortoise doesn’t have an elevator. Expect to climb 32 steps to the front desk and even more to most of the rooms.
Green Tortoise offers co-ed dorms, female-only dorms, private rooms and family rooms. Bunk beds, which come in twin or queen sizes, feature privacy curtains, a reading light, a fan, a four-plug outlet, and built-in locker storage. Though utilitarian, rooms are clean, bright, and surprisingly spacious.
Private rooms can only be booked over the phone and typically are reserved way in advance, so plan ahead.
Affordability comes at a cost -- sharing with strangers -- but Green Tortoise’s bathrooms are individual and private, each with a toilet, sink, shower, and lockable door. Towels can be rented for $1.
The hostel’s reception and facilities are available 24/7, including access to the common area and modern kitchen. The loungey common area, which includes comfy seating and a large dining table, encourages socializing and fun with a foosball table and a Ms. Pac-Man tabletop arcade game. There’s also a convenient water bottle-filling station. While the hostel tends to attract travelers in their 20s and early 30s, you won't feel out of place if you don't fit that demographic.
Green Tortoise’s large modern kitchen features refrigerator space for guest food as well as a “free food” shelf for rummaging. A complimentary daily breakfast and a communal dinner three nights a week help guests stretch their vacation cash even further.
It’s an easy six-minute walk to Westlake Station, which features a main stop for Seattle’s Link light rail, which connects to Capitol Hill and the University of Washington, as well as Sea-Tac airport. In the vicinity of Westlake Center, you’ll also find the Monorail, which connects with Seattle Center, the terminus for the South Lake Union Streetcar, and buses that service every corner of the city.
Sure, Hard Rock Café (30-second walk) is part of a cheesy chain, but Seattle’s outpost ups the ante with locally sourced menu items, many from nearby Pike Place Market, plus cool music memorabilia related to local icons Kurt Cobain and Jimi Hendrix. Budget food options abound at Pike Place Market (4-minute walk) – we recommend noshing on a little of everything, including the free samples handed out at many stands. For a splurge, try Matt’s in the Market (1-minute walk), which specializes in Northwest-inflected cuisine and offers gorgeous views of Elliott Bay, or Shiro’s (12-minute walk), a Belltown spot from world-renowned sushi chef Shiro Kashiba.
From low-key dives to swanky rooftop lounges, bars abound near Green Tortoise Hostel. In the market itself, try the Alibi Room (4-minute walk), a hip bar and pizza joint tucked away in Post Alley, or Radiator Whiskey (5-minute walk), an always bustling cocktail bar with an impressive wall of whiskeys. If the weather is playing nice, Motif Hotel’s Frolik Kitchen+Cocktails (5-minute walk) features a sleek rooftop patio with skyline views, ample seating, fire pits, and outdoor games like ping-pong and shuffleboard.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Staying in Seattle usually means steep prices, even at the more affordable spots, which makes Green Tortoise all the more special. Just steps from one of the city's biggest attractions and a few blocks from a major transit hub, the hostel offers budget travelers a lot of bang for their buck, from the clean, comfortable, and safe rooms to the free breakfast and thrice-weekly communal dinners. Green Tortoise, known for its friendly staff, even features fun walking tours and pub crawls for a nominal fee.