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All reviewsold jailhot water bottlesjail cellunique hostelnovelty factorinteresting place to stayperson dormaddington coffee co opcommon areasdouble roomami stadiumnew zealandfree wifistayed here for one nightbeds were comfortablebotanic gardenshagley park
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Reviewed March 14, 2011

Clean rooms, friendly staff. Close to bus, 15 minutes walk from citycentre. There are no shops or restaurants nearby but they have good facilitys to cook your own dinner. Excellent showers! Nice place to stay, lot's of information of New Zealand, TV-room, but bad internet and skype!

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled with friends
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Thank EllenR4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 30, 2011

And don't stay here unless you have a car.

I stayed here because I thought it would be quirky, which it is -- but I was TOTALLY creeped out by the place to the point that I found it difficult to sleep. Before I talk about that, let me give you the pros:

+clean
+bikes for rent
+nice communal areas for socializing
+well-run
+reliable internet connection
+clean washer/dryer area
+friendly staff (seemed to mostly be from Germany)
+clever marketing

and cons:
-cold
-distance into town -- don't stay here unless you have a car
-it's a former *prison*, not merely a jail
-BAD part of town

This place gave me the willies. The renovation that was done turned the place into a lovely space for a hostel -- BUT -- there's no getting past the fact that it was a prison for serious criminals doing serious time, a fact confirmed for me by a local taxicab driver. The front desk staff makes a point of inviting you to visit the room that was used for solitary confinement and to another room that was the cell of one of the last prisoners of the place. They have encased the disturbing pencil drawings of this inmate in plexiglass, with a note to be as respectful as if you were "in a museum"?! Seriously? I was ready to move out when I saw this, despite having paid for 2 nights, after seeing these disturbing drawings. I couldn't help but wonder who had stayed in the room I personally was in, and what he had done, and what kind of rantings/paintings had been painted over in my room. Totally, totally creepy.

Please note also that the prison was closed only a couple of years ago -- and is in an area of town exactly like what you think a prison should be in -- derelict buildings, defunct used car dealerships. It's NZ -- so it's pretty safe -- but it still made me uncomfortable to walk into town, especially after dark.

It's a bargain -- but next time I would skip a meal and stay at the Novotel in the center of town.

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled solo
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1  Thank nnsanci
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 19, 2011

Who would have thought two 60 year olds would book into a hostel, let alone the jailhouse, but we did.....We had a cell with a double bed,( which was very comfortable, but not much space between the walls and the bed) high window, small cabinet, tv and 3 coathangers...Towels only provided, so remember you will need toileteries and a hair dryer if that is important to you. Loo's and showers are all communal facilities, but individual units, these were on the upper landing for the ladies, and the lower floor for the gents. Bedding, crockery and table clothes all black/white stripes.....just to make you feel at home....the kitchens are well equiped, with a few rules to encourage all travellers to be considerate towards each other.....There are various area's you can retreat to, ie quiet area upstairs, snooker room, TV lounge, Reading area, and smoking outside only....Staff were very welcoming and helpful with information on activities etc....we didn't feel and weren't made to feel ''out of place'' because of our age....

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank babe33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 11, 2010

Going to jail, minus the handcuffs, is awesome! Definitely worth a stay, just to be able to say you've been to jail. Stay in a cell! Get your mugshot! But a bit outside of the city, so without a car, it's a bus/cab ride away. But it's close to the train station, and they offer a free shuttle. Small rooms (cells) with the showers/toilets down the hall. But worth the experience.

  • Stayed: October 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank Kerri202
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 8, 2010

Well, you know it's a renovated prison. It is, so the rooms are quite sparse, but the beds are comfy and the staff super friendly. It's a bit far from the town center, but if you've got a car that's not a problem. Good food and cafes are just down the road anyway.

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank Quidity
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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