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“Exactly what it says!”

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HI Ottawa Jail Hostel
Ranked #3 of 22 Specialty Lodging in Ottawa
ireland
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Exactly what it says!”
Reviewed July 19, 2007

This hostel is very centrally located downtown in Ottawa. All tourist sights and activities are accessible and within walking distance. Great location.

The people who work in the hostel are very friendly and helpful.

The hostel was very novel and not like anywhere i had stayed before...it is exactly what it says ..a jailhouse. Your room is a cell behind iron bars and could be described as compact (or tiny!).
The major drawback to the hostel is that you can hear absolutely everything that goes in in the cells beside you as there are no walls (just iron bars). Unfortunately we had a couple in the cell beside us which as you can imagine, was not a very appealing situation to be in at night time. I was scarred as a result!!

Go at your own risk! It is fun and catered for our needs as it was so central and affordable to stay in when backpacking on a budget around Canada.

  • Liked — the novelty of staying in a jail cell (it was bizarre) and when taken in good humour it was enjoyable!
  • Disliked — The lack of sound proof walls!
  • Stayed July 2007, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank hollieIreland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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459 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (63)
Date | Rating
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English first
Huntsville, Alabama
Level Contributor
64 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed July 19, 2007

We (a family of two adults and two teenage boys) booked a night in a private family room here because of the novelty (an old jail...how cool is that) and its location (very easy walk to Parliament and an open air market). On both accounts this place is just right. But if you're not into the hostel scene (as my wife found out she wasn't) this place is not for you. For the most part the staff was helpful and friendly and they were very generous with their check-in and check-out times and allowing us to leave our car parked in their lot even after we checked out. On the other hand, the bathroom cleanliness, the room size, and the $5 breakfast left a little to be desired. My boys and I treated it like we were at a campground, but my wife was ready to leave. That being said, this place is just what a hostel is supposed to be and any discomfort felt by our party is probably more our fault than theirs.

  • Liked — Unique building and excellent location.
  • Disliked — Cleanliness of bathroom/shower facilities.
  • Stayed July 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank blayf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Ottawa hotels

Toronto
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed March 18, 2007

Most HI-hostels offer good service but this one is an exception. You might be very dissappointed if you stayed in other HI-hostels before. You might be "surprised" with the incompetence of the staff and their unfrendliness.

The problem is that they are in the HI-system of hotels and most people who go there rely upon this "trademark" and just are not aware of other choices. Once you learn about other places, you would never go to this one. They do try to look attractive to potential clients making a lot of advertising but, in fact, this place has a very bad reputation. You might be very disappointed.

  • Liked — location
  • Disliked — unfriendliness
  • Stayed February 2007, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank ravikumar2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tarragona
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviewed January 5, 2007

That's what you are going to do if you book this hostel. It can be an interesting one night experience but I don't recommend it for longer stays... Rooms and showers are really small ... specially if you are claustrophobic! And the beds creak all the night... I cannot complain too much because I stayed in a bedroom for four only with another girl... luckily! because we had no more space for other's people luggage, and needs.

  • Stayed August 2006, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank dePrades
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maryland
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed December 6, 2006

I had a great experience of staying in jail for a week. First people said a story about ghost, I didnt believe. When I took a tour of the death row, I captured the pic of the cells. For a surprise I also captured the face of a person who was mistakenly executed long ago. Initially I didnt believe but after many scans, I came to believe about ghosts. I have attached the pics. One should carefully zoom the pics and see the face of the person between the bars.
Hostel is very clean. I enjoyed.

  • Liked — Real ghost picture capture. Hostel is maintained very clean
  • Disliked — The bed in the cottage
  • Tips/Secrets — Go, experience and talk to ghosts
  • Stayed December 2006, traveled on business
    • Value
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
10 Thank bobprashanth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cambridge, Ontario
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed October 17, 2006

Great Place! Totally unique accommodation. Clean rooms, secure and well thought out common areas. Staff are terrifically friendly and very helpful.

One of the best part was the guided "story" tour of the old jail areas. This took it from a place to stay to a place to remember!

Right beside the Byward Market and access to all sorts of amenities make this a great place to recommend.

  • Liked — great ambiance and neat reuse of historical building.
  • Disliked — lots of stairs - no go if you're older or can't climb stairs easily
  • Tips/Secrets — take the TOUR!!!!
  • Stayed February 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank yugotme
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed January 21, 2006

Just stayed at the hostel last night with a girlfriend. It was awesome, Andrew, the guy behind the desk when we got there was friendly and really helpful seeing as we had never 'hosteled' before. He explained everything..it was $5 to park the night in there parking lot and $2.50 each for clean sheets. The cells were clean, though still a lil freaky. General eerie feeling. It got quiet at night (11pm is quiet time). Very secure with seperate floors for women and men. The staff is helpful, the accomadations are clean and comfortable. Plus, to stay in that vacinity in Ottawa in a regular hotel, you would have spent at LEAST 3 or 4 times that easily. Take Care All and Visit the Ottawa International Hostel! Well worth it!

  • Stayed January 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
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

Property: HI Ottawa Jail Hostel
Address: 75 Nicholas St, Ottawa, Ontario K1N 7B9, Canada
Location: Canada > Ontario > Ottawa
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 22 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 
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Also Known As:
Hi Ottawa Jail Hotel Ottawa

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