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“Charmless in Christchurch”

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Dorset House Backpackers
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 16, 2012

I usually stay in mid range places but thought I'd like to save a bit of money for my last night before returning home so I booked a single room in Dorset House backpackers in Christchurch at the cost of $72 NZ (about $65 AUD). For that price, it really should have been a little better. Backpackers places do not have to be charmless, grey, dull and clinical experiences with old sheets, but this was just so AVERAGE. Dorset House is in a good location it's true but was really very ordinary. The lounge area looks pretty dull with ugly furniture. The computer, a grey battered relic from the 1980s, did not work, although to be fair Internet access had just been installed that day (or rather, not installed properly) There was no camera or headset for Skyping (because the computer was from the neanderthal era - so no expense spared there. If I had had an iPhone or similar I did have the option of wireless.
I was in a small single room out the back (and I do mean small). The sheets while clean were worn and burred. The TV did work which was one of the few good things abut my stay. The bathroom was undergoing repairs so the shower didn't work (there were more showers inside). The security doors were left open by the other guests all night despite the code system.
I went out for awhile and visited the Botanical Gardens and 'red zone' (which made me quite upset for the people of Christchurch - you don't really appreciate the magnitude of earthquake damage until you see it for yourself). There were few places open and nowhere to eat. Eventually I joined some mates who were staying at Pomeroys on Kilfoyle, a pub with B and B style accommodation attached - and it was great to find life, and beer after wandering around the streets which are pretty much empty and devoid of any places to eat, except for fast food outlets. We ate in the pub's restaurant (excellent pub fare) and the NZ wines available were both gorgeous. I wished I had done more research and spent $30-$40 more and stayed at Pomeroys too, or at one of the motels on Bealey St.
I am not a fussy traveller and I don't mind a backpackers - if it's well done. The woman on reception (staffed 8.00-5.30pm) was helpful. However I found Dorset House depressing. The final instalment was not management's fault but was an unwelcome addition to the experience - I returned back after dinner the foyer area outside my room (no. 17) smelt of urine and there was a patch of wetness outside the bathroom door. Someone obviously hadn't quite made it to the toilet. I gingerly made my way around the damp area, brushed my teeth and went to bed, keen for the next day to come so I could go home.
Sorry Dorset House, try harder!!!

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank hazeltrek
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DorsetHouseChch, Manager at Dorset House Backpackers, responded to this reviewResponded March 17, 2012

Hi there,

Thank you for your review, and for your constructive feedback on Dorset House. Dorset House has long been known for its charming historic building (which was fully redecorated this year) and great guest facilities. I am very sorry to hear that this wasn’t your experience, and I would like to take the opportunity to respond to some of your points.

Dorset House has been open for two weeks, after a 12 month closure following the Christchurch earthquake in February 2011. I am a little surprised to hear that you felt the sheets were old as our sheets are in fact brand new – we replaced 100% of our sheeting with new stock prior to our re-opening on the 5th of March. I haven’t noticed that they are wearing or burring prematurely but I will be sure to check this as we get all the new sheeting washed and into use in the hostel, and will ask my housekeeping team to keep an eye on them also. I’m glad that the TV worked fine for you – they are brand new flat-screens with digital channels, we are pleased to have been able to put them into all private rooms.

The guest lounge was the last room to receive repair and renovation, and has been open just a few days. While fully furnished, has also been the last to have art and guest information placed on the walls. I apologise if you found it grey – once we get our new drapes and paintings in, and our local history display up as well this should make the room warmer. It has entirely new paint and new plush carpet so it will be great when completely finished. The computer was waiting on our technician completing the install, I am sorry it was not quite ready when you needed it. This task will be completed this week. It will have Skype available as well as headphones. Alternatively we provide all our guests with free WiFi if they would like to use their own laptop or mobile devices.

Once guests started using the bathroom near room 17, we quickly discovered that the vinyl flooring had lifted and blown during the quake, causing water to flow towards the bathroom door and out onto the hallway carpet (causing the wet carpet you mention). We were forced to close the shower in the bathroom a few days ago to prevent further damage to the carpet (and also because nobody likes using a bathroom with a flooded floor). We will shortly be installing a new bathroom floor and shower cubicle. In the meantime, there are seven other bathrooms available throughout the building, all of which are functioning fine. We invite guests to use any of these and intend to have the eighth and final bathroom fully functioning very quickly.

There will always be teething problems when re-opening a business after a period of enforced closure, and we are very sorry that you weren’t entirely impressed with Dorset House. We have been working extremely hard to get the hostel up and running smoothly and we think it looks fantastic, with these issues being quickly ironed out as we discover them. We are now completely open and are pleased to be back as part of Christchurch’s accommodation industry as we rebuild and redevelop our city.

With best regards and thanks
Angela
Manager
Dorset House

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Reviewed March 6, 2012

We only spent one night at Dorset but was a good choice. Easy access (5 min walk) to the airport bus stop (bus number 29). Close the centre although its closed because of the earthquake.
Jessica at the reception was helpful and give us a map and all the information we needed.
The wifi is fast and free up to 100 mega per person. Provided by Zebu, code from the reception.

  • Stayed: March 2012
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1  Thank smicy5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DorsetHouseChch, Manager at Dorset House Backpackers, responded to this reviewResponded March 17, 2012

Hi, thank you so much for your stay with us and for your feedback. I'm really glad to hear that you enjoyed your stay and that you found the location convenient.

Many things have moved location in Christchurch recently - we are quite lucky now to be located close to all of the public bus drop-off locations, as well as the tourism information centre. The airport bus now goes past our door and drops people off 2 minutes around the corner. Things are changing rapidly but we always have up-to-date information at reception. :)

We wish you all the best with your travels, and hope you enjoyed seeing beautiful NZ!

Best regards
Angela
Manager
Dorset House

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Reviewed July 20, 2011

Nice stuff, can help you if you need to know something
Twin room/ our double room (we stayed in those 2) on first floor were clean, and comfy, but during our stay, it was so hot, and there was no air-con or even a fan.
Bathrooms are clean, and that's a point I care about !
Kitchen is all furnished, enough cookers for everyone.
Small parking available for clients ! that is a good point too !
The backpacker is about 15 minutes walk to town.
Nice place, good value, would go back.

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Viliv
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 29, 2011

One thing I would say about Dorset - it's great! Despite the unfortunate earthquake that hit Christchurch, Dorset staff were more than accommodating. The hostel itself was in the "roped off" area, and I could not stay there. However, Angela made arrangements for me to stay in the Dorset Apartments a little out of the center of town. She also arranged shuttle transportation to take me to and from the apartments. The individual apartment that she assigned me was clean, comfortable, and charming. It is in a quiet, safe neighborhood. I understand that I'm not reviewing the hostel itself, but I must give definite five stars for the service and the accommodations that Angela and company provided me. I wold definitely recommend them to anyone!

  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled solo
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Thank alicevarren
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DorsetHouseChch, Manager at Dorset House Backpackers, responded to this reviewResponded May 11, 2011

Hi there, thank you so much for your kind review. I'm glad your stay in the apartment was comfortable and that everything went smoothly for you while travelling through Christchurch. Definitely 'interesting times' but our guests were all so wonderful with the alternative arrangements we made for them, and we really appreciated it. :) All the best with your travels,
Kind regards
Angela
Manager, Dorset House

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Reviewed March 16, 2011

I read positive reviews about the Backpacker but they have been fully booked. As the 1 BR apartment was still available and the price was the same or slightly higher than the Backpacker it was an easy choice and we did not regret it. Having our own apartment for the last night after a 3 weeks trip through NZ was definately great. We were lucky staying at the ground floor. The apartment had everything what is needed. Spacious bedroom, decent size living room, kitchen and bathroom. All in old style but this is what I liked about it when I booked it. Reminded me of my grandmothers place - nostalgia ;-). The only point which was a disappointment was the parking provided. With todays cars you dont fit into these garages at all but we had a nice neighbour who recommended to park on the street where there is plenty of free parking available! It is walking distance to the city center (we stayed at Peterborough street) and it was nice and quiet. There is no reception - so make sure that you have your PIN with you that was provided in the confirmation email. Can really recommend that place!

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank Jessica-Singapore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 26, 2011

I stayed in Double room for 2 nights in November 2010 ... It was really great hotel
Clean and comfortable.. shared bathroom and toilet always available
wi fi internet was good .... nice living room and pool table
Great management !

PS. Thanks for FREE FOOD in the kitchen,,, save my life lol.

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank Po-eey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 24, 2011

My daughter and I stayed in a twin room. It was very clean and spacious with a bathroom next door. The kitchen was well equipped and there we met lots of nice people from all over the world. We had a hire car and was able to park in the parking area without any trouble. The lounge was well equipped, just wished we had spent more time there and played 'Scrabble' (many games and books are supplied). Overall, the place was extremely quiet and nicely located close to Bagley Park and 15 minute walk to the Arts precinct. Would definately stay there again. Very pleasant.

  • Stayed: January 2011
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1  Thank Leasm11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Dorset House Backpackers

Address: 1 Dorset Street | PO Box 25350, Christchurch 8144, New Zealand
Location: New Zealand > South Island > Canterbury Region > Christchurch
Amenities:
Free Parking
Hotel Style:
Ranked #12 of 105 Specialty Lodging in Christchurch
Price Range: $23 - $61 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Dorset House Backpackers 2.5*
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Perfectly located central city, boutique hostel in historic 1871 home, in a lovely quiet garden setting and next to beautiful Hagley Park. You will find everything needed including a guest lounge with pool table, internet, WiFi, DVD's, cable, kitchen, balcony, guest laundry and free off-street parking. A selection of single, double and twin rooms are available, with fully made beds. Enjoy a stroll to Cathedral Square, or indulge in cafes & shopping on Victoria St. ... more   less 
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