Denver Hostel Fish Review: What to Know Before You Book

I recently went to Denver for work. When I decided I was going to stay in Denver after our work was done, I spent four hours that night trying to decide if I wanted to stay in an Airbnb or hostel. I looked at about 50 Airbnb spots, and almost reached a conclusion to stay with a woman who rents out a bed in her flat for $35 a night. She said she likes to be friends with the people who stay, which appealed to me.

Deciding on where to stay in Denver

Then I realized: I wanted Denver friends, so a hostel might be the way to go. I went to bed that night having not booked anything. The next night, I spent another four hours agonizing over which hostel I wanted to pick. Now is an appropriate time to admit that there are only three hostel options in Denver, so it shouldn’t have been this hard. But the cheapest option looked like a prison on the outskirts of town, the second option looked run down and in a sketchy neighborhood -- but had free pancakes -- and the most expensive one was in the perfect location, but had triple bunk beds. Terrifying.

Sleep deprived, I promised myself to put myself out of this misery and just book the expensive one, Hostel Fish, especially since it wasn’t actually that expensive. I went onto their website, and was pleased to see that they also featured an all-girls options that only had double high bunk beds, which was perfect. Bonus, it was $4 cheaper a night too!

I went to bed exhausted from making a decision, and super anxious about what my life had in store for me. I’m a light sleeper, so I was worried that having six other females in the room would be awful. Plus, I picked the downtown location that was over a bar, so lots of noise. Plus, bunk beds. Yikes.

hostel fish review

My stay at Hostel Fish

My first impression of Hostel Fish was actually horrific. I was exhausted and annoyed after a long day of focus groups, and the CEO of our company volunteered to drop me off on the way to the airport. You know what’s directly next to Hostel Fish? Yes, a cannabis dispensary. As in, the straight-edge CEO of our company shook my hand and told me to, “Stay safe,” in the parking lot of the dispensary as I climbed the steps to the place I’d be staying. I had to wander through a large crowd of people too, which seemed like the perfect start to Taken: Denver Edition.

Once I got inside, I received my bed assignment. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to be top or bottom bunk, but was assigned to be the top bunk, which kind of terrified me. I went into the room and tried to get ready without waking up the others who were already asleep (it was closing in on midnight). I think I failed miserably. And then I couldn’t fall asleep. The coffee I was chugging all day, plus my anxiety, plus the noise created a deadly elixir of insomnia.

I went into a common room with globes (very nicely decorated I should mention) and thumbed around a few books before spending some time at 3AM on Airbnb, wondering if I should just swallow the money and get my own room for the next three nights.

I am happy I didn’t give in. Hostel Fish ended up being one of my favorite parts of Denver.

Here are some reasons to stay at Hostel Fish:

  • The building itself is really cool. It’s an old building that overlooks the Coors Stadium with capacity for around 70-80 people. Each room has a different theme, and they have lots of helpful information sprinkled throughout the space.
  • The beds are super comfortable. Like, really comfortable. It’s like a cloud pillow-top.
  • You’re not just signing up for communal sleeping. You’re signing up for community. They have a bar with cheap drink specials, and it can get really crowded. When I didn’t know quite what to do with my night, I just went down there, chatted to a few people and then hit the town together. It’s exactly what I wanted out of a hostel experience.
  • It was clean, perhaps cleaner than some hotels. They provided towels for free too, which was a plus. I didn’t bring a hairdryer and they make you work for theirs (like you have to walk downstairs and give in your ID and I just can’t be bothered to do that), but they do have everything you need.
  • The location is perfect. I could walk to a million breweries, could see Coors Stadium from my bedroom window and was a few blocks from the train station. 
Coors Stadium

Some warnings about Hostel Fish:

  • It’s loud. There is a bar downstairs of the hostel. And there is a bar in the hostel. There are six people in one room. And just outside of the window is a rooftop bar. Noise envelops you. To combat that, they do have free earplugs. Those made my ears feel weird, so my personal suggestion would be make sure to drink before bed and falling asleep is much easier.
  • You can make friends, but you can also not. My roommates didn't seem that interested in befriending people. The girl below me said there was, "nothing to do in Denver," and spent a lot of time sleeping. While you can go make friends in the bar, you do have to put the effort in. And of course, there's no guarantee that you'll meet somewhere there. During the week, it was much less busy than on the weekends (but duh). I did a pretty good job socializing, but still ended up tackling the town alone sometimes. And that's okay too!
  • There's communal bathrooms. I'm a diva, and I dislike communal bathrooms because I hate shower shoes.

What's your hostel experience?