So far, on our round the world trip, we haven't written a negative review. Unfortunately our stay in "On Top Backpackers" has broken this record. We arrived at the YHA/BBH endorsed "On Top" after a horrendous couch surfing experience, expecting the trusty predictable YHA to soothe our broken spirits. How wrong we were to expect this and we're sad to say it's the first time we've been really let down by a YHA hostel in NZ. Firstly, we were checking-in to a 6 bed dorm with 2 other ladies who were also failed by our couch surfing host. Before checking in we asked about free wi-fi for YHA members and were told we could have a $3 Zenbu voucher for 24 hours - not usual YHA practise, but we decided to compromise. Next we asked to see around the hostel/rooms and were told it wasn't possible because the staff member on duty was training a new staff member...? Not a very good selling point, but still we had faith in the fact it was YHA and therefore, the facilities and rooms would be to a certain standard. On check in we were surprised to be asked for $20 each as a key card deposit - something that hasn't happened in any other YHA. And we weren't even allowed to share a key and pay 1 deposit. EVERYONE had to pay up for their flimsy bit of plastic (which basically doubled the bed price.) Anyway, we proceeded to find our own way to our rooms and suss out where everything was - the staff member was too busy to show us around.
Our room appeared cleanish, bright and comfy. After a blast of the tiny fan heater, it was also cosy. We discovered only 2 sockets between a potential 6 people, which is a bit strange by YHA standards, but even more strange was the fact that you had to press a green button (like the type they usually have on the heaters) to start the flow of electricity every 29 minutes. Absolutely absurd when people are paying well-earned travel money to recharge both person and all too precious communication devices. The next disappointment was the linen, which appeared stained and questionably used. Having worked in a YHA, we know it's impossible sometimes to get rid of every stain and mark, but my sheet and pillow case should never have fallen through the net. Thankfully our room wasn't full so I used the spare linen.
The biggest shame about this hostel is that it has been well intentioned at one point. You can see someone went to the effort of designing an original space for travellers, and you can imagine that the combined kitchen/dining/living area would work if there weren't so many people. The radio was blasting rock music, people were cooking up a storm, chatting and drinking merrily, a woman was reading quietly by the 1 lamp that gave off enough light to focus, some poor bloke was trying to watch his 50 First Dates DVD and a group of people came into the room, stood by the TV and had a full blown conversation while drawing on the condensation on the window. It doesn't work on any level.
To bed it was, and we realised the "On Top" malarky wasn't through with us yet. We slept from around 11pm till 2.45am when we were woken up by a group coming in from the bars. Far from the usual YHA 'keep noise to a minimum after 10pm', there was laughing, squealing, conversations from one end of the corridor to people in the 'night toilet' (don't ask!) and just plain selfishness pushing 3.30 in the morning with no YHA night warden to reign anything in. My friend asked them to be quiet at this point and was basically mocked and patronised for daring to suggest they were being out of order. Another hour passed and loud voices continued undaunted by the polite request for peace, so I took the liberty this time of asking 4 obviously really 'cool' 20 somethings for some consideration and volume control to be told I was a [--] this and a [--] that! Wow, how dare we. All in all, a very unpleasant stay, and with bleary eyes and dented energy supplies we checked out, got our $20 back, handed in our pillow slips as requested (is that the only part of the bed linen that gets washed?) and left without being asked, 'How was everything?' or 'Did you enjoy your stay?' by the older owner/manager. I think he's probably been told the honest answer to this question too many times now to even care... Do yourself a favour and opt for Hogwartz or Kiwis Nest instead. Both are similarly priced but with added respect and integrity.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hi, we are sorry you didn't have a great experience. We offer a limited free WIFI of 30MB which can be replenished daily. Many backpackers say if they are only reading and sending emails this amount of WIFI will last them 40 to 50 minutes. We insist that every backpacker has a key and pays a key deposit as a security deposit and also for safety reasons. This ensures that our computer systems have an exact record of all the guests staying on our premises each night so that in the case of an emergency we know exactly how many to evacuate. We charge a key deposit as this is the only means we have of controlling excessive noise and behaviour which disturbs other guests. All sheets and pillow slips are washed after every guest and mattress and pillow protectors and duvet covers are also washed regularly. We request each guest bring down their pillowslip upon check out to ensure that every used bed is clearly sign posted for our cleaners to avoid being missed. This procedure is in place to ensure cleanliness for our guests.
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How backpackers behave and talk towards one another cannot be controlled by Management unless Management is made aware of a situation. The night manager lives on site and is regularly making rounds several times a night if noise is excessive. He is also on call and happy to be alerted to a problem and deal with an unpleasant situation such as the one you experienced. We do care very much about your stay and we have taken your comments on board.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.