We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Jeepers Creepers!! :)” 4 of 5 stars
Review of HI Ottawa Jail Hostel

Best prices for your stay
Enter dates for best prices
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
and 4 more sites!
Save
You added HI Ottawa Jail Hostel to your Saves list
HI Ottawa Jail Hostel
2.0 of 5 Hostel   |   75 Nicholas St, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada   |  
  |  
Hotel website
  |  
Hotel packages
  |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #4 of 18 Specialty Lodging in Ottawa
liverpool
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
“Jeepers Creepers!! :)”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 29, 2013

1: hostel staff were friendly and helpful.
2. Sheets and towels were very clean and given to us at no extra charge.
3. WiFi worked in the Lobby but wasn't great anywhere else, need routers in each floor..especially for the price of the hostel, it could be done.
4. Showers and toilets were clean, regular hostel environment, cleaners were constantly dotted around in the day.
5. The beds were comfy, a little small for me as I am five foot 8 - toes were hanging off a little, but it is a jail and that's what the people would have had- if even that in some cases!
6. Kitchen was slightly grubby and could be organised better.
7. The communal area had comfortable chairs, and there was a bar, which is good. There were board games which is a plus.
8. You had to pay to use the computers and they didn't work very well either , for the price you pay, they should be free.
9. Locker storage could be miles better, get rid of the dollar machine lockers and have bigger ones, they could also be placed in the halls.
10. The atmosphere is fantastic! Worth a stay most definitely! Maybe two nights is the limit before going insane.
11. The free tour which happened at half eleven am was quick and often the host would just walk off and start telling info to a few people that where there, I think the ghost tour would be better!

  • Stayed September 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
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, November 4, 2013
Dear 849Lizzie_loo849:

Thanks for your feedback on your stay in jail. It will definetly help us improve our services, especially the wi-fi! It should be working and I will speak with our IT company to get it corrected.

Sincerely,
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

203 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    34
    76
    39
    20
    34
See reviews for
8
46
70
6
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
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (29)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Hamilton, ON
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 24, 2013

I was in town for one night and needed cheap accomodation. The hostel is well located within walking distance of many main sites of Ottawa such as Parliament Hill, and is near Byward Market where you can find many restaurants.
I was in the 8 bed dorm (9 with a cot in the middle of the room) up on the 9th floor. Be mindful that there isn't an elevator so you will need to hike up there with your bags. From what I could see there was only one bathroom on the floor as well.
The reason you are staying here is for the atmosphere of staying in an old jail house and this hostel delivers. There are information boards around explaining what some of the floors were used for and there are bars and cells everywhere. Overall many reminders that this was once a jail.
The top floor was noisy as it is at street level with a road above the hostel and there was some construction happening as well.
If you want to stay in the Jail then you'll deal with these issues.

Room Tip: 8th Floor is the old death row and is reportedly haunted.
See more room tips
  • Stayed September 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 23, 2013

I stayed here for 2 days in September and I cannot speak for the other floors but I stayed on the 6th floor and have never in my life stayed in such deplorable conditions. I had no expectations in terms of the rooms but from the constant noise (as the cells have bars) to the washroom that was never cleaned.. This is not an experience worth having. To top it off several of us returned home with bug bites and although the hostel was contacted several times, asking the manager to check our rooms he did not take out concerns seriously. The bug bites are now being tested for mrsa as that is what the dr suspects so please save yourself the trouble of dealing with potential health issues and stay elsewhere!

  • Stayed September 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
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, September 30, 2013
Dear Traveller2134:

Thank you for your feedback, all of our guest comments are appreciated as it helps us to improve our services. As I mentioned on the phone the several times we spoke, we take customer complaints of this nature very seriously. The rooms were closed immediately and put into our rigorous pest control process, which includes detailed inspections by our experienced staff, laundering of all the linens in the room affected as well as blow torching beds, spraying with approved pesticides by external experts with follow-up inspections up to a week later. Only when we are satisfied that a room is clear do we re-open it for guests.

I apologize if I communicated an air of indifference to you. When I received your call late on Friday, I acted on it as fast as possible under our circumstances.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Belem, PA
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 22, 2013

The hotel seems a bit scary at first, but probably that is part of the fun. As a former prison cell, my room had two bunk beds and was really small... Really, really small. But it is no big deal if one is out all day long and comes back to the hotel only for the night. Staff was pretty friendly and promptly found a different room for two friends travelling with me who got uncomfortable with a guy wearing just underwear in their room/cell. Breakfast was good and the dining room had a good vibe. Also, the hotel is well located and you are within a walking distance from all sort of nice places to see, to drink and to eat.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stratford-upon-Avon, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
65 reviews 65 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 18, 2013

To say I was nervous about staying here was an understatement!!! But I was pleasantly surprised :-). I was in an 8 bed dorm above the death row cells which from part of the guided tours. The room was massive and was no way overcrowded like some big dorms can be. Breakfast was good and the staff were pretty knowledgable. Cleanliness wasn't the best, on more than one occasion we had to ask for a bathroom to be cleaned and it wasn't until the next day, and it was very 'dirty'!!! Overall, pretty good.

Room Tip: There are no elevators, and 9 floors.
See more room tips
  • Stayed September 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal, Qc
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 13, 2013

I am a teacher and have stayed at this hostel many times with my students. It was okay in the past (clean, interesting for the students). This past May, we stayed there for the last time. There was a mix up with our reservation (we had asked for girls on one floor, boys on another which we didn't get) and not even enough rooms for our entire group ! One teacher had to sleep on the floor of a boys room because they wanted him to sleep on another floor !
Then, there was the problems with the fire alarms ! They rang 3 times in 1 day ... once in the morning, twice at night. The staff was NOT trained to react in these types of emergencies.
They even told our students to stay inside ... that it wasn't a big deal ! Then, they blamed us ... said we had taken too many showers and the steam was the problem. Some of the staff started insinuating that our students had pulled the alarm !
When we discussed it with them ... one employee was rude. Not all the staff ... management seemed nice but the staff on-hand wasn't properly trained. We had to explain what to do in case of an emergency ! We have strick rules when responsible for children !

Anyway, used to be a good hostel. But the management needs to train their staff better and update the kitchen (very dirty).

Room Tip: Not all rooms are as shown in pictures ! Rooms on the «Lounge-Bar» side of the building will give y...
See more room tips
  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
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, September 17, 2013
Dear Jazzfang

Thank you for your feedback. All feedback is important as it helps us improve our services to guests. I am sorry to hear that your stay in Jail did not meet all of your expectations. We work very diligently to meet the needs of all of our guests and it is troubling to hear that we did not meet all of yours – even four months after your stay with us.

As you may remember, the hostel is a very unique property in that it was designed in a particular way, and not with the needs of modern guests in mind. It is one of the endearing features that make it as popular with travellers of all ages as a one of a kind experience, but it also creates a fair number of challenges other more modern properties are able to deal with easier. All room assignments are based on the needs of the group and what is available at the time the booking contract is received. I am sorry if we were unable to accommodate your group on two separate floors as you had requested. At the time of booking, we gave the best rooms that we had available. This information should have been shared with the main group leader dealing with us at the time and confirmed in writing.

I know the issues you raised with regards to our fire alarm and how my staff dealt with said alarms. We take fire alarms very seriously and in fact, we review the procedures at the start of every staff meeting as required by the Worker Safety Insurance Board (WSIB) of Ontario. The cause of the alarms was a malfunctioning sensor and we dealt with it as fast as possible. However, with our state of the art alarm system, we were quickly able to identify that said fire alarms were not in fact actual fires, but caused by the malfunctioning sensor. We ordered a technician in to fix the problem as quickly as possible, which they did, however, it did take a full day for them to arrive. As you can guess, it would be better not to turn off our alarm system, but rather apologize to guests as to the nature of the alarm ringing by letting them know it was not an actual fire, but a malfunctioning sensor and turning the bell off as quickly as possible and informing the fire department as to the nature of the alarm and that it was in fact false. My night staff made an executive decision not to vacate the building and not to implement our fire evacuation procedures as they knew the nature of the problem and had already implemented the procedures for fixing the errant sensor. I am sorry if you disagree with that decision of my staff, but they also had to weigh the impacts of implementing the full evacuation procedures on the rest of our guests. Perhaps they could have communicated the situation to you better.

We take great pride in delivering the best possible service and experience to our guests at the best possible price and if we have failed, we do apologize and hope that you remember all the great experiences you and your students have had in the Jail.

Sincerely,
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Top Contributor
112 reviews 112 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 46 cities Reviews in 46 cities
89 helpful votes 89 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2013

I tried making a reservation on their website only to get re-directed to the home page once I put in my credit card. I figured it was a glitch with the site and since I didn't get a confimation email I guessed that my reservation didn't go thru. I tried calling and was told that they were fully booked and unable to take my reservation.
Then, I got my credit card statement. $36.13 charged to my card and when I called about it, I was told that I didn't show up for my booking. What booking? What confirmation email was sent? Did I get an apology? No.
Thanks Jail Hostel, I spent three times your cost to be somewhere that knows how to run a business and I am glad I did.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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, September 10, 2013
We’re sorry to hear about what happened and we’ll be looking into fixing the glitch that caused this problem in the first place. In the meantime, we will be sending you an email to obtain more information about this incident and find a solution.

Sincerely,

Greg
GM
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
Price Your Stay

Been to HI Ottawa Jail Hostel? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about HI Ottawa Jail Hostel

Address: 75 Nicholas St, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Phone Number:
Location: Canada > Ontario > Ottawa
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 18 Specialty Lodging in Ottawa
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2 star — HI Ottawa Jail Hostel 2*
Number of rooms: 29
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 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, Booking.com, Hotels.com, Priceline, HostelBookers and Odigeo so you can book your HI Ottawa Jail Hostel reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Hi Ottawa Jail Hotel Ottawa

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage HI Ottawa Jail Hostel, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.