Strong efforts by limited personnel accompanied by some rigidity in sign-in, orientation, and exit regulation, perhaps due to security concerns and internal refurbishing. A beautiful and wholesome environment, but challenging access and egress with limited public transport. On a personal note, I prefer to camp outside rather than in a small room with hostelers who have nocturnal respiratory issues with probable sleep apnea and stentorian gasping snoring.
I really like this hostel. A very historic feel, up there on the third floor. I think it's time to consider new mattresses, however. The bed I slept in was pretty "lumpy", and there was a metal frame piece that was felt under some of the thinner sections of the mattress. I checked the mattresses on the unoccupied beds, and they were all thin and really unacceptable.
I thought it was nice that we were able to borrow bikes from them during the day and that they offered free pancakes and coffee in the morning. The building was nice as it was an old colonial building, but don't be fooled, Benjamin Franklin did NOT stay there. The biggest negative is the location because it is far from the center city and very difficult to get to at night. Also, the night staff was not very efficient as they were extremely slow at processing our check-in. They were nice though.
Thank you for the accolades regarding our free bikes and free pancakes. I hope that made your stay better. The reason why it took longer to check you in was that, as I explained to you that night, we had two problems, and I was trying to give you options. The first was when you re-submitted your reservation, I told you a new staff member had inadvertently put you in the books for one night. Instead of moving you around, or in the event that you didn't mind moving, I was trying to give you rooming options that best suited your needs. We had three groups that weekend, and the choices were limited, unless we moved guests on their second night, which we like to avoid, if possible. I felt, under the circumstances that you were checked in quite quickly, given that I was trying to make you happy by giving you options. Regarding Ben Franklin staying here: I told you that our reservation confirmation says that it is a building that Ben Franklin "might" have stayed in, which is true, we don't know, and we are certainly not trying to fool you. That's why we say "might": it's more to place the building in history than to mislead you, as well as romanticize the fact that you can actually stay the night in a house that is from that era, with little having been done to it architecturally since the Civil War, and summon the spirit of the Colonial people, if your imagination takes you there. I may have also delayed your check in by giving you information about the easiest place, and with the least expensive parking, to go eat that night. If trying to make your stay pleasant is inefficient, then at any point, feel free to speak up and say, "Hey, we are in a bit of a hurry..." I will always take the guests' lead, and if they seem unresponsive to chat, will make check in down and dirty. However, I was under the impression that you were enjoying the chat, the map to Manyunk, the insider's info, so you didn't get stuck with exorbitant parking fees, or eating somewhere that you might not have enjoyed. That's the beauty of staying at a hostel, really, because the staff is generally well informed and will direct you to the best deals in town. Frankly, I found your review a bit harsh, given that the slowness at check-in was not inefficiency, as I think you know, but service oriented.
Free use of bicycle and accessibility to bike paths made this stay special. Fortunately, the weather was sunny. Not sure what I would've done on a rainy or snowy day though with the daily lock-out. Grocery store is a fair distance from hostel. Bus station is also a fair distance, would be hard to manage with heavy luggage, nasty weather or tired and achy muscles. Free coffee and pancake breakfast were nice. Very kind staff. Unique, memorable experience!