Although a pretty decent value for the $24 a night (cash only) price tag (for a bed in either a three or six bed dorm room), with two other options for hostels in the Asheville area (both of which take plastic and are in the heart of downtown, while Bon Paul's in a $10 cab ride away from downtown, or a $1 bus ride, with no late night or Sunday service), the value of staying here seems to fall a little short.
First off, I will say that Bon Paul's has access to a hot tub, while the two other Asheville area hostel do not. When I first arrived, I was stoked! A hot tub! But, I ended up not using it. So, for someone who places a high value on that, then it would be worth it.
For me, one of the most important things in a hostel/hotel environment is the friendliness of their staff. Compared to Arthaus and Sweet Peas, Bon Paul's fell short in this regard. The attitude that I picked up from the staff was something along the lines of: you're staying in my house (they all live there), don't bother me. Not, you are a guest of mine, how can I help you. They are incredibly strict on their check out policy (I think every hostel/hotel in the world allows you a late check out). The current manager does not have a warm and friendly attitude, but rather has more of a dictatorial demeanor. I just didn't feel very comfortable there. So, just a disclaimer, this is based on my own personal experience, and everyone has their own perceptions of reality. But, I was not the only one who felt this way when I was staying there.
On a different note, the accommodations were average. The beds did not have an actual mattress, but rather was just vinyl stuffed with some sort of cotton or other material. Kind of like what you would find on a cot. Plumbing was a little below average. Toilets clogged up easily (maybe it's just me!). Also, the sink in the upstairs bathroom was clogged, though one of the staff members did fix it.
Contrary to the previous poster, there was no TV that I could see, and I just stayed there in the summer of 2010.
Internet was great! Wireless worked flawlessly.
Towels cost $1.
There is a full library in the living room. Kitchen was just fine. Access to plates, cups, cooking utensils. But they don't have paper towels or napkins. When I asked about this, they just said we just don't have them.
Location is OK. They are right on the bus line, that does go directly into downtown. Bars and restaurants are within walking distance, including the best Mexican restaurant in Asheville! But, downtown has many more options for entertainment.
Overall, given the fact that there are two other hostels in Asheville with extremely courteous staff, wireless internet, full service kitchen and laundry (Sweet pea has coin operated machines. At Arthaus, the staff actually offered to do a load for me for $5), I would not go back to Bon Pauls. But, if you place a high value on a hot tub, then that's your place!