My experience was awesome!! AND I used it GREATLY in my interview. Seeing how relaxed and non-competitive students were gave me just one more reason to go to their school. My interviewer and I talked about my stay for like 10 mins (how I saw the city and neighborhood, met other students, talked to all of them about the positives etc...)
(Let me say....we were up till about 12:30 the night before. But I could handle it and actually enjoyed it. You decide if you can handle that or not.)
If you do stay with student host...be VERY clear about how (and what time) you plan to get to the school next day. The students I was staying me with got up 5 mins (literally!!) before we were suppose to live and that had me worried.
So I am supposed to be staying with a student host tomorrow....and I still haven't heard from him. Which is awesome. And doesn't bother me at all.
Student Hosts are hit or miss.
But its a ton cheaper than a hotel...free
And you get a better insight into how things are at the school.
I would definetly say student host.. by far. Of course make sure you have it arranged weeks before you are set to stay. Its free, you get to speak with a current student, hopefully get a decent tour, etc. The benefits are great. I have stayed with a student host every single interview, and will plan on being a host next year.