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“interesting jail hostel at the Capital”

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HI Ottawa Jail Hostel
Reviewed 18 October 2011

A very nice old building jail at the super neat Capital of Canada...i crashed few nites in to the cell dorm,bit cold at night so i couldn't find another extra blanket.
i was hiding all the time my expensive bottle of tequila, the staff confiscated the beer of my friends...i tried the pub Crew in downtown the guide was really cool and funny!
Receptionists need to smile a little bit more and don't sell everything when you check in.
the ghost never wake me up during nite.
cheers

Room Tip: private rooms are more comfy than the dormitory
  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled solo
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3  Thank betour02
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 13 September 2011

Ok it's got "character", but with that comes the smell, noise and cramped conditions you would expect to find at a prison. There's bars above the door, so light filters in and there's nothing you can do about it. That isn't great but fair enough they can use the "character" excuse to justify it.

I was most disappointed by the standards in the hostel. Some of the staff were on the rude side, and they charge for an extra night if you want to use the facilities before check in (1pm). There isn't a dry space in the showers to keep your clothes and get changed and the bathrooms weren't particularly clean, and the standard I'd expect in a hostel. There were only 2 dull lights in the cell, so never really light enough to read a book on the bottom bunks. Speaking of beds, my god they were unbelievable. I've never slept on something so uncomfortable ever, even camping without a mat was better. The mattress was ridiculously soft and lumpy. I actually had a sore back the next day because it was that bad. There's a sign in the room saying you can borrow extra blankets from reception if you're cold, but with no air conditioning in the rooms, I imagine it gets rather stuffy when fully occupied, especially in the middle of summer.

Each day they change the combination code needed to access everything beyond reception at the hostel. Probably intended to increase security, but every time I asked for the code it was a different person and they never bothered to ask who I was or check that I was staying there, which totally defeats the point of having the space locked.

  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled solo
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1  Thank themeparkaddict
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 August 2011

Slept in a twin cell. Quite a bit of traffic noise out the windows in the morning. Perfectly clean, no bed bugs. Similar experience to a university residence. Confiscated our alcohol when it wasn't open and we didn't intend to drink it there. Cramped, but for a cell that's what I expected. Front desk was a little rude during check-in and suggested a place for breakfast nearby that was very poor quality and expensive. Supreme location, and great value.

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with friends
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1  Thank ceing
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 June 2011

The good: Location is great; staff are helpful; price is good for one person; pretty clean

The not so good: showers are smaller than a breadbox; 8 people crammed into a room can prevent sleep as people are constantly coming in and out of the room; it really is haunted (nothing crazy malicious, but spooky); no coffee maker in the building (I don't drink it, but for those in my party that do this was a big black mark on their experience.)

The novelty of staying in a former prison is all well and good, but if you are looking for a solid nights sleep look elsewhere. Also, the price really isn't that cheap if you have two or more people. It might be more economical to stay at an inexpensive hotel like the Best Western and only have to share a bathroom with only one or two other folks.
The kitchen is decently sized and if you are planning on cooking your own meals it might make financial sense to stay here. But be warned that there was no coffee available so some folks in my group were a bit put out.

  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled with friends
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1  Thank sparky_turtle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 January 2011

I stayed only one night there with my friend. Its not traveling season so there were few people. Only the two of us stayed in the 6-person dorm.
The place seemed very organized and safe. They changed the safe code everyday. And they give out a key to every customer when you check in.
They have a nice kitchen and a bar next to it.
Shower was at the same level when we stayed there. The sprinkler was like drizzling rain but its quite hot. Generally you can have a comfortable shower there.
Its a little cold in the dorm room but you can always ask for one more blanket. Actually when i slept in two blankets i woke up in the middle of the night because i felt too hot.!!!!
The only downside i felt is the noise from the hallway. Because it used to be a jail room, you can basically hear everything everywhere. People in the hallway can hear you and you can hear every cough or laughter in the same level. When i stayed there i could hear guys talking in the guy dorm area which was located on the other side of the same level.
I heard from some of the reviews on TripAdvisor that there were bedbugs. We didnt find any. Perhaps because its winter.
Anyway, i will definitely recommend this place for its safety and good location.

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled with friends
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1  Thank LisaCai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 December 2010

The ultimate in no frills accommodation!
on check-in you get given your towels and bedding so you even have to make your own bunk bed up. the rooms/cells have no facilities other than a desk, a chair, a cupboard and a bed. no you dont even get a window!
sounds grim? well not really. this is a novelty experience and you should try it just for fun as it is a real giggle.
take the ghost tour beforehand if you really want to test your nerves!

good clean facilities. we stayed in December when it was -10 outside but the hostel was warm. no food or bar available during this time as they said it was too quiet.. noisy night staff (and i'm not talking about the ghosts!) meant we didn't sleep too well as sound really carries through the cell block. Really helpful desk staff and good cheap laundry facilities on site too.
good all round fun experience

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank roamingjode
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 October 2010

Good location, BUT:
- no air in the dorms (without windows)
- very warm and wet in the bathrooms/restrooms, there were plenty of insects
- in the kitchen you won´t find salt, pepper, oil - things I expect in a hostel
- also you can´t find a good working tin opener, nor normal pots and pans
- the staff ist unkind and they have a communication problem with each other
it did not impress me, so I would not come back.
Haven´t seen bed bunks, but coakroaches.

  • Stayed: October 2010, travelled solo
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2  Thank danuschka78
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

Address: 75 Nicholas St, Ottawa, Ontario K1N 7B9, Canada
Region: Canada > Ontario > Ottawa
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 24 Speciality Lodging in Ottawa
Price Range: £27 - £75 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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