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“Almost a great hostel, but some problems...”

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Nomads Cairns Backpackers and Serpent Bar
Ranked #44 of 85 Specialty Lodging in Cairns
UK
Level Contributor
26 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
“Almost a great hostel, but some problems...”
Reviewed August 22, 2008

This place isn't bad, but i agree with some of the other reviewers who've mentioned certain less favourable points... what IS that smell in the bedrooms??

there were a fair few horror stories when we were there too... a whole gang of complete chavs who were there at the same time as us managed to completely destroy the experience for one of our friends (we were in a female dorm whereas he was in mixed) - let's just say that they didnt keep their nocturnal intimacies very quiet, and their mates were cheering them on, smashing up furniture (literally) etc ALL NIGHT. needless to say, our poor friend could not be talked out of checking out the next day. we later found out that the exact same thing had happened three or four times already, with the same gang of people, and i immediately lost respect for a hostel which is so clearly incapable of throwing out people who are completely ruining the experience of other guests.

this hotel is also way out of town, and we were fooled into thinking that this would be ok due to the proudly proclaimed shuttle bus running in and out of town. however, this shuttle bus runs irregularly, infrequently (ignore the timetable - it is not followed!) and serves Serpent's two sister hostels too... we had rather a nasty experience of being left stranded in the town centre too (they couldnt fit everyone in the minibus, and refused to come back for the 6 of us left behind because - and i quote - they needed the minibus for the staff night out). the town centre of cairns is about one of the most unpleasant and unsafe places in the world to be stranded in. basically, the shuttle bus is not the most efficient of 'services'.

on the plus side, the pool is very nice (and clean), most of the reception staff are friendly (one older bloke who i think is the manager was exceptionally jovial), and there's a great system of daily alternated cheap meals in the bar. the bar has a good happy hour too, and it's a nice size and plays music videos, and has a reasonable atmosphere which somehow avoids the chavvy style of most hostel bars. there were some fun things like pub quizes too.

not sure i'd stay here again if i was ever unfortunate enough to be re-visiting Cairns, as there were some other hostels in the town centre which might be worth a try instead for convenience (although - as i said - the town centre is not necessarily a nice place to be anyway!!). probably worth a look if you're looking for a place to chill out with a nice pool and bar though, especially if you're with a group who could afford to book out a private dorm between you and avoid potential nocturnal disturbances from strangers!

  • Liked — Nice pool and bar and cheap evening meals and good atmosphere
  • Disliked — One or two rude and unfriendly staff, the rubbish shuttle bus service, and the bedroom antics of fellow guests!
  • Stayed February 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
Helpful?
1 Thank LosingMyself
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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401 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
  • Location
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (40)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Finnish first
  • French first
  • German first
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English first
Blackpool, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed June 15, 2007

This is a very average place but if you're on a budget and would rather spend your money on other things like I did (you've got to do a skydive!) then its not too bad.

Ok so the rooms aren't amazing, at one point I was in a room with 10 beds but at the end of the day I didnt spend a lot of time in there. The air conditioning was only allowed on after 5pm so it was always cool enough to sleep.

The free dinner is a bit of a joke but it wasn't much to upgrade, I think it was 7$ and for that you got a decent portion and a free beer or cocktail which was good.

It isn't near much but the free bus ran every half an hour right into the the town and there was also a late bus to take you to clubs and pick you up again at night..

The pool was ok and there were volleyball competitions against other hostels. The layout is good downstairs, the pool tv area and bar are all next to each other so its a really friendly environment.

I actually had more fun here than a hostel in the centre of cairns because the way it is laid out means you spend more time with people in the communal areas and get to know everyone, my brother and I were there for 2 weeks and at the end of it it was his birthday which turned out to be a great party as we had got to know so many people!

If you're on a budget and looking to meet people then this place is ideal, its basic but like I said your money is better spent elsewhere, its not the room I remember when I look back but the scuba diving, rafting and skydive!!!!!!!

  • Liked — The open plan friendly environment
  • Disliked — Rooms a little basic
  • Stayed September 2006, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank BEACHBUMBUM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
syd
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed February 26, 2007

The staff here are an absolute joke, most off the staff are backpackers themselves and they know absolutely nothing about Australia and in particular Cairns.

Let me give you an example, i asked the lady at the bar the following, "can i please have a pot of beer?" she looked at me dumb founded, so I proceeded "how about a schooner? a midi? a glass? a handle?" she replied in a thick german accient I dont know what you are saying. Unbelievable all things mentioned above are typical australian beer glass sizes. if they cant work that out, I'd hate to ask for a meal.

The rooms themselves have a jail cell feel, you cant control the air-con, so just have to put up with either freezing cold or boiling hot.

And if you to sunbake on one off the deck chairs, make sure your by the pool by at least 10:00am otherwise you will be lying on concrete.

  • Liked — nothing
  • Disliked — everything
  • Stayed February 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank SnakeSyd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Cairns hotels

Austrlalia
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed July 7, 2006

We paid $59 for a "double" room, which was ok, but the smell was not pleasant especially when the aircon was not on. It seemed as if the carpet was marinaded with feet sweat. After the aircon was turned on (had to go to the reception) things improved.

Bed and the pillows were comfy and clean.

The bathroom was ok.

The advertised free dinner was 1/3 of a piiece of fish with maybe 10 pieces of chips with a big dollop of tartare sauce. They forgot to mention that the size was more suited for a 3 year olds as dinner. Shouldn't have advertised this.

Noise level was ok, even though the room was right next to the pub/pool/socialising area. Was able to sleep right through so have to give credit to the almost soundproof walls.

I think I would have been happy to pay $45 for the room, but at $59 you could get a decent motel room somewhere closer to the city. (Takes 40minutes to walk to the town centre)

Courtesy bus was nice (pick up from airport, and drop off and pick up from city centre)

  • Stayed July 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank gizmopb1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed June 29, 2006

My rating is probably a bit harsh - the setup they have, with the bar, a pool, volleyball court and open air lounge is great for socialising and ambience. The rooms themselves are not too bad, typical hostel-fare with barely any space and the lovely smell of feet.

As someone on a budget though I was really annoyed to find that the "free dinner" advertised by Serpents is so completely tiny that it is misleading to call it a dinner. Basically it is a ploy to get you to buy an meal upgrade for $7. I took some photos of my last two meals before I touched them, which I will upload.

So yeah, if you're choosing this place to save a bit on money on food, beware. You will probably end up having to buy dinner somewhere else anyway, which is a bit of a problem as Serpents is not particularly close to any restaurants or stores.

  • Stayed June 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank JanelleLC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bury, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
14 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 92 helpful votes
Reviewed June 11, 2005

We were picked up at about midnight at the Greyhound bus stop by the rep from the Serpent hostel in Cairns, we had previously stayed with parents so were a bit reticent about our first hostel experience. We were checked straight into our room at the hostel which was small but clean, with an aircon system that was (for some reason) operated from reception-to use it you had to go to reception and ask them to switch it on....only problem was you had to remember to ask them to switch it off otherwise you would do waht i did and wake at 3am freezing cold and there being no-one around to switch it off! Nightmare!

So we chucked our bags on the bed and went in search of some food, we were surprised to find a large bar and seating area by a decent sized pool, and it was still open serving food. I had chosen this hostel not only for the price but for the advertisement of free food....needless to say when we got there we were charged for this privilege, and i never got a satisfactory reason as to why we were charged when the adverts promoted free food. The dinner was only $6 so not too bad, and i must say the lasagne was awesome! We had a couple of beers as the bar shut about 1am and we headed to bed (we had just had 13 hours on a coach by the way!).

Our first morning in Cairns we were greeted by a downpour, it was torrential. We took up the courtesy bus into the town centre, expecting some wild lively town just waiting for us to arrive. It was nothing of the sort, the town was quiet, dull, looked very old, was full of men who were, and i write this in the nicest possible way, perving at my girlfriend.....i was shocked, people had told me Cairns was a vibrant city full of life for the traveller--what we found was a backwards town full of backwards people, we spent an hour walking around the shops and then decided to head back to the hostel. We were grateful to find our way back to the room and wondered what the hell we were doing in this place, when we could have just stayed in England and gone to Blackpool.....at least it wouldnt have cost £0000s to get there.

We spent the afternoon in the only way we could, in the bar, drinking and playing pool & darts. Wehn night fell and the bar became quite full we found out it was quiz night so coupled with a pair of Canadian girls we attempted to find some level of coherence and attack the pub quiz.....all i can say is WE WON!!!!!!!!!!!! $50 of drink vouchers coming our way thank you very much. I must admit the questions were geared to English people, and we were the only non-Dutch in there! We went to bed in a state and woke the next day hoping it would get better.

Our final day in Cairns was a tiny little bit better, only in the fact that it only rained for a little bit, as opposed to all day long. We went out for a walk to find a beach to have a paddle, and when we got there we found a sign saying--CROCODILES, STAY AWAY--how friendly. So we went and organised our bus away from Cairns (next stop Airlie Beach) which was fantastic. We went to the hostel and packed up, glad to leave, our bus didnt leave until 1am so we chilled at the bar, and lo and behold the entertainment began....CANE TOAD RACING!!!!!!!!!!!! We put some bets on, (lost) and then had some more beer to drown out the pain!

We left Cairns very disappointed, but at least the Serpent was a half decent home away from home, and for our 48 hours there, we didnt have a bad moment in the hostel, just a shame that Cairns, for the wont of a better word, was crap!

Stayed April 2005
Helpful?
4 Thank Kane57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Nomads Cairns Backpackers and Serpent Bar

Property: Nomads Cairns Backpackers and Serpent Bar
Address: 341 Lake St, Cairns, Queensland 4870, Australia
Location: Australia > Queensland > Cairns Region > Cairns
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #44 of 85 Specialty Lodging in Cairns
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2 star — Nomads Cairns Backpackers and Serpent Bar 2*
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Nomads Cairns backpackers resort is a 4 ½ star AAA rated budget accommodation with resort style facilities and onsite Serpent Bar, and has been designed to provide you with a great night's sleep. Located only minutes away from the Cairns Esplanade, gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, it includes everything you need to enjoy Tropical North Queensland in style. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Nomads Serpent Cairns Hotel Cairns

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