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“Great location and friendly staff”

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HI Ottawa Jail Hostel
Toronto
Level Contributor
35 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Great location and friendly staff”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 July 2012

LOCATION: I visited this hostel earlier this month for a night. This hostel is in a very excellent location where you can access to various landmarks including the paliament house, Ottawa University, marketplace, etc in walking distance.

ENTERTAINMENT: Great Tour!! Excellent way to explore the history of the jail. The haunting tour provided by the staff was informative and thorough. Don't miss it! It is open to public and guests of this hostel will get a discount rate (3 or 4 dollars less / ticket).

ROOM : I stayed in a double room with built-in window A/C and in-room sink and mirror. I did not see the mini-refrige as it was listed on the room description. The night I stayed there was hot, I could not leave the A/C overnight however as it was super noisy when it was on. The room was not well cleaned before I checked in. I saw dirts here and there on the floor and the garbage bin was halfway full of garbage. The room condition is general ok - still acceptable. I was glad that I did not stay in their Cell room. They do not have built in A/C on the cell-room floors. In summer time, it coudl be quite stuffy to stay in the room when the temperature was high, I would definitely go back to this hostel and try their Cell room in Winter though when I go to Ottawa for visiting again,

RATE: I reviewed other travelers' comment before I booked this hostel. I have known that the price showed on the booking website was hostel member price. As a non-members, I did pay additional $10 on top of the price listed on my confirmation document. Compared to other hostels, I think the price of this hostel was a little bit high but still quite acceptable.

STAFF; Very helpful abnd friendly. They provided me a lot of useful information re: transportation and direction around the areas.

TRANSPORTATION: Not in a walking distance from the train station. It took me around 5-8 minutes on public transit from the train station to the Hostel and return. It costs only CD$3.3/trip.

Room Tip: precautions: I would sugget travelors to bring your own toilet papers and clean the tables and chair...
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2012, travelled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank PollycToronto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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442 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (62)
Date | Rating
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
133 reviews
87 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 108 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 July 2012

HI Ottawa Jail Hostel is nothing if not novel - you are literally staying in an old jail, complete with a central staircase featuring suicide catchers, a large kitchen, and cell dorms.

We stayed in a private room on the 5th floor. The room was okay, but did not meet our expectations when compared with the photos on the website. There was a sink but no ensuite.

The shared bathrooms were okay - nothing special.

The drawcards for this place are the novelty factor, the location - a full shopping mall opposite, parliament is a 15 minute walk and the CBD/market area is about the same, no need for cabs, the kitchen is decent and the free breakfasts are also good with cereal, bagels, fruit and hard boiled eggs. An added bonus is that you don't have to do your dishes for breakfast.

The staff are helpful and recommend things to do and places to eat.

Overall it was a good stay, slightly let down by our expectations based on the private room pictures on the website and the lackluster bathrooms.

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank 7TroopCutCopyPaste
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
54 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 105 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 July 2012

The mistake they made: I booked a bed in a 4-bed, female-only room but a member of the opposite sex showed up one of the nights. I was already asleep when he arrived but it's an unpleasant surprise to get in the morning. Nothing wrong with him, but the hostel's booking system and check-in process failed to detect/prevent this mishap.

But in all fairness, the overall quality of the hostel is decent so I did not cause a huge fuss about the mixup. The room and the bathroom on my floor were clean, and so were the fresh sheets and pillow case provided upon check-in. Although bathrooms were shared my room came with a sink. The room (called "Thomas") also came with air conditioning, good lighting, and lockers. I don't know if that's the case with other rooms. Very good location, and the folks at the front desk were helpful.

It's important to know that not all rooms are "jail-like" in actual jail cells with prison bars like some reviewers have noted. My room was pretty much just a regular room. If jail cells are the experience you're looking for, best to contact them to make sure you get that.

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank carryont
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edmonton
Level Contributor
78 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 July 2012

A bit of a spooky experience, the stay and haunted jail tour are well worth it in Ottawa. The jail houses the last remaining functional gallows in Canada still in a great preserved condition to send chills up and down your spine as the stories of inmates on death row at the jail are told to you. Though very few inmates were officially executed here it is still a very unique experience. The dorm rooms are set up so that you stay in an expanded cell (actually 2 cells with the adjoining wall removed) I stayed in one with 3 bunks so a little tight, though that does lend itself to the atmosphere of e jail. The basement houses full kitchen facilities if you want to do your own cooking, and there is also a bar on the lower level. I was traveling during a low season so the hostel was not overly busy and my room only had 2 or 3 other people in it each night.

Staff is friendly and helpful, location is pretty good, I was able to walk anywhere I wanted though The War Museum might be a longer trek for some. Take this place up for a night, even if only to tell your friends and family you spent a night in jail!

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled solo
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Helpful?
Thank Ebell1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
18 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 May 2012

For those who run Ottawa Marathon, and/or want to bring your friends and family along for something different, this is the place. I've never seen a historic jail put to such good use, one, as accommodations, and two, as a place to learn about what being locked up must've felt like many generations ago. This is a very comfortable, clean facility - the day before the marathon (26 May) was quite warm, but cool in the hostel. The Jail Hostel is literally steps from the start/finish area - anyone who has completed a marathon knows how comforting it is to see your accommodations from the finish line - no searching for a car, no traffic, no lines!
Great, helpful staff as well.

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank FortFrances807
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tel Aviv, Israel
Level Contributor
86 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 May 2012

Nothing to hate there,
Had a nice open-mic night with great atmosphere, well arranged.

The concept of staying and sleeping in real jail cells is funny and was ok.

Go there if price is good for u.
And know that rooms are not noise/light proof... Might be a problem for some of u.

  • Stayed May 2012
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Ariel N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nanaimo, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 February 2012

I would definitely recommend this hostel to anybody who wanted a very unique stay while visiting the capital. It's basically a 200 year old jail converted in to a hostel when it was deemed "inhuman" by the city. They offer nighttime jail tours of locked parts of the hostel including the old Solitary Confinement rooms, Death Row and the Gallows. The hostel is also only a short walking distance away from the city core. However, the parking was ridiculous as they did not have nearly enough parking spaces for every guest, so I would recommend finding a good space at about 5:00 PM, visiting some local stores and then going for something to eat. Since the hostel is surrounded by numerous different restaurants there is no need to drive there unless you have a specific restaurant in mind. Also breakfast is generally not that great and even if it is included, I would suggest eating at a local breakfast restaurant.

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Islander2914
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
Region: Canada > Ontario > Ottawa
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 21 Speciality 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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