Every time I come across anything that has to do with sustainable lifestyles and caring for the planet, I nerd out. Sometimes I strike my own self as strange for lighting up every time I visit places with recycling bins and compost piles.
But it really is important to take care of the planet. How can we enjoy & travel across the earth in the long term if it isn’t cared for?
I attended my first travel conference about a week and a half ago in Irvine and was searching for a place to stay that cost significantly lower than Hotel Irvine’s $149+tax/night. (Nothing wrong with the hotel, but that was out of my price range for the weekend.) Per usual when I travel, I went on the hunt for a hostel, as that’s currently my favorite type of accommodation while traveling.
I did consider driving back up and down from LA to Irvine three times instead of staying in the area, but it would’ve been too hectic every morning and evening.
Unfortunately, I encountered no luck in finding a hostel in Irvine. But – there was one in Santa Ana called OMG Hostel. It was the only one I could find nearby. (There was one in Fullerton, but that was a 30-minute drive away versus 20 minutes for Santa Ana.)
Initially, I was slightly reluctant because the hostel, (which, in full is Orange Mango Garden Hostel), doesn’t have a website. It’s listed on Airbnb, Facebook, Hostels.com (with no reviews), and my favorite, Hostelworld. Oh – and there was one five-star review for it on Yelp.
It was the information on Airbnb that convinced me because it highlighted that it is a green/eco-conscious hostel.
OMG is basically a house turned into a hostel. It’s got a super chill vibe and I was greeted by a small dog when I walked in through the door (FYI for those who might have concerns about dogs). You’re required to leave your shoes outside before coming in, so it’s a good idea to bring some slippers. The owner, Phong, is friendly, very easy to talk to and accommodating. For some reason, I booked my bed for the following night, not the night I came in. But he went ahead and switched the dates with no hassle or extra charge. (Major plus points right there.)
To get the small cons out of the way, OMG wasn’t the cleanest and was slightly cluttered when I went. However, it didn’t bother me that much, especially because I brought slippers, which one should always do when hosteling. I’m just putting this out there for potential OMG guests in the future. Another small issue I had was limited lighting in the dorm room, which prevented me from comfortably doing computer work and reading. So be sure to bring some sort of additional light source if this is a problem.
There were way more pros, though. To name a few:
- Showers are limited to 15 minutes, which may be an inconvenience, but it’s a very considerate rule given that California is still in a drought (as of this post)
- Guests are asked to place a bucket inside the tub while showering to catch extra water that is reused to water plants
- The hallway light is motion sensored and automatically goes off after a few minutes if nobody is moving
- Phong has chickens on the property that lay eggs for consumption
- There are bags designated for recyclable waste and compost
- The front yard does not have a grass lawn, so it does not need to be sprinkled (again, good because of the state drought)
In a non-sustainable-related pro, the bed frames are wooden, which is a godsend because they don’t squeak like bunk beds with metal frames.
I wasn’t in the hostel long enough to take advantage of the chess and dart boards or the television, but those are some recreational options available if you’ve got some free time while staying there.
Depending on the date you come here, OMG costs roughly $30+tax/night. Despite some small inconveniences, I’ll definitely be returning whenever I’m in Orange County again for an overnight trip. I recommend this if for similar sustainable nerds like me and for those who can put up with staying in a hostel and are on a budget.