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Banana Appeal

August 04, 1996|LUCY IZON

Banana Bungalow, which began with a 250-bed hostel in Hollywood in 1992, has now expanded to four U.S. locations, added a Web site on the Internet where you can make reservations, and introduced a budget bus service.

The Banana Bungalow hostels are located in Hollywood, Santa Barbara, San Diego and New York City. The Hollywood and San Diego locations offer free pickup. All are open 24 hours a day, and provide guest lounges and kitchens.

Banana Bungalow Beach in San Diego claims to be the only hostel in the United States that is located on the beach. The address is 707 Reed Ave., Mission Beach, CA 92109; tel. (619) 273-3060 or (800) 5-HOSTEL. In addition to rooms shared by four to six travelers, singles and doubles are available from $39.

Banana Bungalow Santa Barbara is at 210 E. Ortega St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101; tel. (805) 963-0154 or (800) 3-HOSTEL. This hostel has beds for 60 travelers. It's within easy walking distance from the bus and train stations.

Banana Bungalow Hollywood is at 2775 Cahuenga Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90068, telephone (213) 851-1129 or (800) 4-HOSTEL. It features a pool, restaurant and theater. The hostel has 45 bungalows that can accommodate 250 guests. The hostel offers single and double rooms for $45. Every room has color TV, parking, and laundry facilities are provided. There is a free shuttle service for guests to Disneyland, Magic Mountain, Universal Studios and some beaches.

New for this year is the Banana Bus shuttle service and budget bus tours. The Banana Bus shuttle provides hostel-to-hostel transportation for $14. The bus makes trips between San Diego and Los Angeles on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. On Wednesdays and Sundays, there is a service between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. Banana Bungalow has also introduced a $35, five-hour tour that departs from the Hollywood hostel on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, or from the Santa Monica/Venice area on Wednesdays and Fridays.

In New York, Banana Bungalow on Broadway is at 250 W. 77th St., tel. (212) 769-2441 or (800) 6-HOSTEL. It's in the historic landmark Hotel Belleclaire in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, only three blocks from Central Park. It offers beds for 150 travelers in rooms for four to six people. This year it has been going through a $100,000 renovation.

New amenities include a large-screen TV. The staff organizes bar outings, supplies guests with information on discounted Broadway tickets, and arranges groups for free concerts in the park.Banana Bungalow has also introduced a World Wide Web site, http://www.bananabungalow.com, with information on its services.

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