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“highly overrated :(” 2 of 5 stars
Review of HI Ottawa Jail Hostel

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HI Ottawa Jail Hostel
75 Nicholas St, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada   |  
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Ranked #4 of 16 Specialty lodging in Ottawa
Hamburg, Germany
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“highly overrated :(”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2013

I found the overall atmosphere quite depressing :(. Even though many guests, especially the very young ones I guess, seemed to enjoy themselves I have to say and the staff was friendly. BUT: The place definitely lacks in cleanliness and the kitchen is a bad joke: very badly equipped, not even dishcloths. No real recycling.
I didn't sleep in a cell but stayed in a dorm-room which was airless, hot and sticky, even though there was AC. It would have helped more if we had been able to open a window, but that wasn't possible.
The first evening there was a party in the (public) "Mug Shot Bar" (which is also the dining area) in the basement and all the tables were stored away to make room for the party-guests. So I had my dinner from a plate balancing on my lap :(. The next morning there was a big group of school kids (approx. 40) for whom the majority of tables was reserved. Guess how I ate my breakfast? And because of the bar area also serving as eating area = common room, there was no way to get away from the loud music.
I did get the impression the individual hostel guests did not count as much as the groups, bar- and party guests :(.
I will not recommend this place even though it is situated in a real convenient downtown location.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled solo
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
traveller315, General Manager at HI Ottawa Jail Hostel, responded to this review, July 17, 2013
Thanks for your feedback. All customer comments are welcomed and encouraged so we can evaluate and improve our services offered to guests.

I agree our kitchen is in bad need of renovation. I have a capital budget of over $100,000, but we have many needs in the hostel, and our kitchen is slated to be renovated in 2014-15 fiscal year. I wish it could be sooner. We do have a very comprehensive and expensive recycling program. We recycle all aluminum, plastics, fine-papers, cardboard and we compost all food. As a business, we have to pay an additional (and significant) fee for that service to a third party as the city does not provide this service to businesses.

I am sorry that my staff didn’t inform you that there is ample seating in our outside courtyard for breakfast or outside in the front yard at the picnic tables.

School groups do stay with us from time to time, after all we were founded by a teacher for teachers to provide their students with an affordable accommodation options while travelling. My staff informed me there was seating options available for you, but you chose not to sit with anyone else at breakfast. It is a hostel and as such there are shared services from time to time.
Thanks for your feedback.
Greg GM
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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171 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (25)
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English first
Saskatoon, Canada
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 27, 2013

It was my first time at the hostel and i was sort of taking aback when the receptionist just handed to me my sheets and towel.I initially thought the least they would done is to show me my way to my room. Needless i say i went back and forth before locating my room. Secondly, i had issues with the noise. There was so much noise around most especially from a room before me and i had difficulties getting to sleep. The washrooms was an eyesore. I doubt if the place was ever washed same with the bathroom which was almost blocked. On the whole, its DEFINITELY a no- no for me. I wnt recommend this place to any one

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 7, 2013

When you arrive you notice the unique character of the building. It was only in the 1970s when the building stopped being a jail and was bought by Hostelling International. The company did such a great job of keeping the original layout of the jail when converting it to the hostel as most the rooms are in the original jail cells. Every morning at 11:30, the staff hosts a tour of the old jail and shares the history of the building that housed theives and murderers and was the site of Canada's last public execution. The staff there are really great, super outgoing and friendly. Location is ideal for those who want to take in the sights and sounds of Ottawa. Right behind Rideau Centre Mall, two blocks away from Byward Market, and a 10 minute walk from Parliament Hill. If you want to rent a bike, the hostel also rents them out for $20 for a day rental.

Room Tip: Spend the extra $15 and book a private room.
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
toronto
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 5, 2013

Very cool experience, great location as you can walk to everything.
Good breakfast, super friendly staff and advice on what to do, great activities on offer and breakfast is included as well.
For sure go down to the mugshot bar to just be one of the crowd and have fun.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manchester, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 3, 2013

I booked a stay in this accommodation for me and my friend, mainly due to the central location and also because of a because of the lack of alternative cheap accommodation in central Ottawa.

The staff were very friendly, pleasant to converse with and professional throughout our stay. The room we stayed in was very basic but we expected it to be, considering the place is a converted jailhouse. However the room was clean and the beds were comfortable, although my friend did not sleep as well as me due to the squeaky mattress on his bunk.

The hostel itself has a great atmosphere and is unlike anywhere I have previously stayed. The free breakfast was nice although there could have been a bit more choice. Me and my friend hired bikes from the hostel for a couple of hours, which was a great way to see the more rural Southern areas of the city. Finally the free wifi which the hostel provides is of a decent quality and was rather useful.

Overall, considering the price we paid, the hostel was good and I would consider staying in the hostel was I ever to visit Ottawa again, which I certainly hope to as the city is beautiful!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 30, 2013

The people working at this hostel were unbelievably kind, friendly and accomodating. I could go into detail explaining how they helped me on more than one occassion, but, I'll just leave it at this. If you're looking for gorgeous views, fancy showers and luxury, this is a jail. You are sleeping in a nice prison. It is a very very cool place to rest ones head.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 28, 2013

Love it. A hostel with great character and a few ghost stories behind it. I stayed in a cell for the first night and then one of the suits for the second. The jail cells are a bit small but what do you expect it's a jail cell. The only downside is it can get a little noisy in the hallways because you don't really have a proper door. It's more of a half boarded up prison door. It does keep the charm and original features of the cell though. The suite room was spacious and with your own private shower it is a nice extra. We were on the road side so it was a little noisy especially with single glazed windows. The free breakfast is good with a choice of fresh fruit, bagels, cereal, coffee and tea. You can easily walk to all the main attractions and sights. Ottawa is a beautiful city with a mix of classic and modern architecture. All in all a good stay...

  • Stayed May 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about HI Ottawa Jail Hostel

Address: 75 Nicholas St, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Phone Number:
Location: Canada > Ontario > Ottawa
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi )
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 16 Specialty lodging in Ottawa
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in downtown Ottawa, the HI-Ottawa Hostel is within easy walking distance of Parliament Hill, the Byward Market and all the major downtown attractions. We offer a relaxing, friendly atmosphere, heaps of on-site parking, free wi-fi, linen and towels. A great place to hang! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hi Ottawa Jail Hotel Ottawa

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