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“Nice, but noise”

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HI Ottawa Jail Hostel
Levis, Canada
Level Contributor
24 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Nice, but noise”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 September 2013

I stayed five nights at this place.
The sheets are clean. Personal are friendly. But, they have a lot of noise by the fan close of the dorm. The concept of a hostel in an ancient jail is very nice. The emplacement is close of most attractive thing of Ottawa. Bathrooms can be a little be more clean.
I will suggest this place to a friend.

Room Tip: Take a room far of the fan
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  • Stayed January 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Renez123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
traveller315, General Manager at HI Ottawa Jail Hostel, responded to this review, 10 September 2013
Thank you for your feedback. I know that fan you mention. It actually belongs to the building next door that is being run by the city. We are working with them to fix that problem, but I am glad that you enjoyed your stay in Jail!

Sincerely,

Greg
GM
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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441 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
Montreal, Canada
1 review
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 August 2013

We only stayed there 1 night, and we thought it was awesome!! We wanted to stay there because it was an old building , the history and authenticity of it!! It was also our first Hostel experience. The rooms were basic clean! We were on the 4 th floor and the showers were brand new clean and well kept!! As for the bathrooms they were clogged at times but I was able to sneak to the guys and it was fine!! haha!! Due to the bared doors and well it is a jail it was quite noisy and we were on the side of the bar Mugshots so we could here the music but for us it was no big deal for 1 night and slept no problem!! The bar is awesome really cool people, crafts being done puzzles, drink prices good!! The tour was awesome of the place!! And it is central to everything in Ottawa!! I would definately go back no problem!! Only suggestion bring eye covers if you on the top bunk like i was b/c the light comes in for he air to circulate. As well bring ear plugs if you think the music will be a problem for you!!! Hey how many times can you say I slept in Jail!!! hahah

Room Tip: The 4th floor has new showers for woman...so I would stay there again!!!
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Brigitte L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 August 2013

I was sceptical when I first heard about this Hostel. A Jail as a Hostel?! What about the Ghosts, the Nightmarish Conditions and the Stereotypes?! Never needed to worry. This Hostel is superb and I would recommend it to anyone who would like an experience similar to no other. The building retains the feeling of being a Jail while presenting a comfortable experience. It had all the facilities you require and I never once found myself questioning why I was staying there (that was also partly due to being part of a School Trip and it was there or nothing!) One thing, I was staying on the Ninth Floor and you get an extra contribution to your stay. The Hostel is part of numerous ghost tours and we quite frequently found ourselves interrupting but it was all done with good humour (we decided to name the staircase 'The Staircase of Doom' and although we got a few laughs, I don't think we'll be on the comedy scene for a while) Overall, an absolutely ace Hostel, a once-in-a-lifetime experience and a really comfortable place to stay!

Room Tip: If you want a unique experience, try to obtain a room in an actual cell. Some of the rooms are withi...
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Graeme P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
traveller315, General Manager at HI Ottawa Jail Hostel, responded to this review, 21 August 2013
Thanks for your comments, all customer feedback is important. I am really glad to hear you had a good stay in jail. After all, how many times can you Skype home and say 'Mom, I'm in Jail!" and laugh about it?

Thanks,

Greg
GM
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
47 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 31 July 2013

Spent 3 nights in the Ottawa Jail Hostel in one of the 2 bunk cells. It is exactly as to be expected. The cells have been renovated whereby 3 old cells are now 1 cell for the hostel; however, this is a very old building without air conditioning. The bars are covered but they are kept open at the top which is likely for ventilation. We were here and the temperatures were 20 - 25 degrees. The cell itself was quite warm, but it is manageable for the experience you are getting. Windows get opened along the outside wall which helps if you are able to keep your cell door open and the fan, which is provided, running. There are signs indicating you can get more blankets if needed, so I'm thinking it is also quite cool in the winter months. It is a JAIL; do not come here with your princess expectations and then complain. If they renovated everything into modern, that would totally kill the experience here.
They hostel does have a breakfast which is typical cereal, bagels, and fruit type of options. They also have a bar attached which can be a bit loud with the windows open; however, again it wasn't every night and I was a little disappointed the 1 night it was loud because we went down and checked it out and there were only 8 guys divided between 2 tables chatting so it is not like it is a full on active nightclub so really no reason to have the music cranked like they did. Just DJ arrogance. But the other 2 nights were relatively peaceful. With the cells having bars, and this being a jail, you may experience noise from other travellers; however, the ones that were here when we were, were very quiet and respectful. Staff were very friendly.
Wifi was great access. No issues there. Parking is right next to the building. You have to pay for parking. They will give you a tour of the building, but you can also do the haunted tour which you book on Sparks Street.
The location is amazing. It is only 2 blocks from the Byward Market which has every possible food choice you could want as well as tons of shops and venders. The hop on hop off bus can be caught there too. It is also a short walk to Sparks Street, which is also a hop on hop off bus stop, and the restaurants there which is right by the parliament buildings. Excellent location. Couldn't ask for better. As for the comments about this being a poor neighbourhood. We walked around at night without a problem. The occasional person asking for spare change, but this is downtown, that's to be expected. There were lots of people out and about due to the market being so close. I did not feel unsafe at all.
I thoroughly enjoyed my stay. I booked this for the experience knowing the downsides and was not disappointed. Had a great stay at the Ottawa Jail Hostel. I would recommend this stay but ensure people were aware of the downsides; hot/cold, noise, IT'S A JAIL.
BTW, the ghost tour has this place as haunted. According to the tour, they used to let people stay on the 8th level for free if they could make it through the night, but a lot of people couldn't. That's where death row was. We had no ghostly encounters tho. Not sure if I am disappointed by this or relieved :-) Hope this review was helpful. Seriously, check it out, stay in the cells, very cool experience.

Room Tip: I loved my stay in the jail cells.
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Tracey F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paris, France
Level Contributor
203 reviews
66 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 124 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 July 2013

This is one of the most originals hostels ever. It's set on the former Otttawa Jail. The atmosphere of those days has been kept in some rooms and common areas, like the stairs or the reastaurant. I had a nice renovated shared room (4 beds), with a comfortable matress. Breakfast was OK.
Another good point is that it's very central, close to Ottawa's main attractions, nightlife, a mall and the river.

Room Tip: renovated rooms for more comfort, cell style rooms for a unique experience.
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  • Stayed August 2012, travelled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank TheMetalTraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Trenton, Canada
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 July 2013

There are some major upsides to this hostel. The location is great, and the price is right. I opted to book into a private room so you get your own jail cell. I would definitely recommend doing that if you can. The history of the building is very cool - up on the top floor they've kept a section in it's original condition. However the history of the building also means it's super loud. Jails were built so that every noise echoed for the guards to hear. So it was quite noisy. It also appeared other people didn't quite get this fact when they decided to get up super early in the morning. I'd suggest bringing earplugs. Also, i stayed on the weekend there was a bar in the basement that was blasting music and echoing. The bathrooms were shared and quite so-so.

Room Tip: Pick the private rooms. you get your own cell which can be locked up.
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  • Stayed September 2012, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank JennHowell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Barrie, Canada
Level Contributor
15 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 July 2013

This was my first experience in any hostel. When i checked in and went up to my room i defiantly had second thoughts. Sleeping in the same room with 7 strangers, and ghosts. However I stayed the night.
The staff were super friendly, the room clean, the washroom o.k. , for some reason the 6th floor with the mens shower was locked, but there was a tub/shower on the 9th floor.
I expected to have a restless sleep, with the the place being haunted and on a rickety bunk bed. But was I ever wrong. It was the best sleep I've had in a long time. Quiet and comfortable.
I'll be back

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank TopherGuns
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
traveller315, General Manager at HI Ottawa Jail Hostel, responded to this review, 17 July 2013
Thanks for your comments. We try and provide a good experience for guests.
Greg
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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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