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“First hostel; will be returning”

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HI Ottawa Jail Hostel
Reviewed 2 June 2014

Staff at the front desk were welcoming and helpful. Rooms were simplistic but fitted the rustic feel of the jail. I was on the 9th floor and the only criticism I can make is the WiFi is limited to basically non existent in the room.
However the location was great, being a 2 minute walk from byward market and overall was an enjoyable weekend at the hostel and I'll be returning.

  • Stayed: May 2014
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Thank Tom_grogley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 3 March 2014

Rooms : The rooms are ok, but really minimal. I suggest you bring your own bedding because all you get is a too small white sheet to cover the mattress. If you move a little during the night, you will find yourself on the plastic mattress (and I'm sure they don't clean it at all...)

The smell. I think there's something dead on level 4 and they didn't find it yet. The smell is really terrible. It's like old stinky cheesy feet, all over the place. And it get worse when they mop the floor. The couch outside the rooms smells so bad, you don't want to sit on them. And There was a pile of laundry (clean or dirty, I don't know), on one of them for at least 3 days...

Cigarette : It's a non-smoking place, but there's always a cigarette smell inside the place. Because the rooms don't close completely, you can always smell cigarette when you are in your room (and your clothes gets really smelly). I went to the desk and complain, but there's nothing to do because I didn't catch anyone smoking. People there really have no respect for others.

The noise : The doors to the rooms don't close completely so if you have someone really loud in the corridor or in a room nearby, you can hear everything.

Bar : There's a bar in the hotel. When it's open, don't expect to sleep before the end of the show because there's nothing to cut the noise and you ear them like they are in your room. Really loud on the floor 4, I don't know what is it on the other floors. During the day, you can go to the bar to read, but it's not really nice, there's no music or any ambiance and the tables have seen better days.

Ambiance : There is an area to "chat and have fun", but it's really just a corridor where you can sit, watch tv and watch the people on the computers. You don't really want to sit there. And the bar is really cold (both temperature and ambiance), there's nothing to do there. You can't bring your own alcohol, you have to buy it from the bar and it opens around 9 only. Just go somewhere else to read and have a good time. You won't find any at this place.

Location : That's the only good point! Near a lot of museums, by market and near the canal. You can leave the car there for 7$ and go everywhere by foot.

If you really want to try it, book it for one night and plan to go somewhere else for the rest of your trip. I booked for 2 nights and regretted it the moment I saw the place (and smelled the place too!) I won't recommend the place and won't come back. I saw a lot of hostels and this is really not a good place.

Room Tip: Higher floors might be less noisy, but I suppose the smell is the same everywhere...
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank Vieillechaussette
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 reviewResponded 6 March 2014

Dear vieillechaussette,

Thanks for the review. All feedback is important to help us improve our products and services for guests.

I am sorry that your stay with us did not meet your expectations. My staff on duty should have offered to put you in a different room and found solutions for the other issues you raised, as they have been trained to do. I will investigate to understand why this did not happen.

The HI-Ottawa Jail hostel was the former Carleton County Gaol and as such it was constructed in a way that would force guests (prisoners) to be quiet and to contemplate the errors of their ways. We have been experimenting with sound absorption techniques but obviously we still have a long way to go. In the meantime, we do offer complimentary earplugs at the front desk. Also, one of the reasons why the cells are so spartan is that the doorway is only 21.5” wide. It is very difficult to get furniture through that opening, although we are constantly on the look-out for unique solutions. We do offer rooms at the front of the jail that are more traditional hostel style rooms with new bunk beds, large windows, couches, tables and chairs and hardwood floors.

I hope that you will give us another chance at some point in the future.

Sincerely

Greg - the General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 March 2014

I liked my experience on this hostel. The continental breakfast is served every morning, it's clean and near of all the sites. The staff is very correct. On little bit noise but I recommand because the price is nice. The single room is small but it's OK. I return in Ottawa in the few weeks and my reservation is done in this hostel.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled solo
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Thank jross1966
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 March 2014

We went to Ottawa with the main intention of experiencing the Rideau skate-way and stayed at the Jail Hostel for 2 nights. We had a fantastic stay. The hostel is perfectly located for accessing the skate-way, it was great to be so near and not have to walk too far in below freezing temperatures. The hostel itself is great. The 'cell' rooms surpassed our expectations, plenty warm and comfortable. Highly recommended.

Room Tip: If you are a light sleeper the 'cell' rooms might not be a great choice as the bar doors are...
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  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank LydsHughes
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 reviewResponded 6 March 2014

Dear LydsHughes:

Thanks for your comment. We appreciate all customer feedback as it helps us to improve ourselves and the services we offer to guests.

Yes, we are ideally located in the heart of downtown and we are working on finding solutions for the noise on the cell floors, but it is a tricky thing, we need to balance the historical elements of the designs with the modern needs of guests. I hope however that we will have a solution within the next few months.

We look forward to seeing you again in Jail.

Sincerely,

Greg, The General Manager

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Reviewed 18 February 2014

Stayed here for 3 nights during Winterlude! I have to say I was a little skeptical at first, but our stay was good! I would stay here again? The bonus is location. HI-Ottawa is right in the centre of downtown within walking distance of everything! No car necessary! We skated, shopped, dined, walked, saw almost everything we wanted, all within a few short blocks!
Our room was a double, as a couple, it was fine. We had a couple of chairs and a table, nothing fancy, but it was all we needed. We paid extra for parking, but that was nothing. The room was a few flights up, and we got our exercise, but the upside was it was quiet. We shared a bathroom, but able to lock it for privacy, and it was clean.
Our accommodation came with breakfast: juice, cereal, eggs, fruits and bread to toast with a selection of spreads. It was fine, enough.
Some people we were with complained of noise, I heard nothing.
I found it a little warm, even at -17C outside. We opened the window and it was ok. We also had a fan to circulate the air.
WIFI included, great signal.
No complaints!!! The toilet plugged up one morning and it took a while to get it fixed.
After alerting the staff and several hours, I spoke to the young guy at the desk, and they got it done! It was a busy weekend! Staff were good and attentive!
I will definitely consider staying here again when I'm visiting Ottawa.

Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
Thank MargandDoug
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 February 2014

Was a bit tricky trying to find the hostel, but when I did I was greeted nicely. I stayed at Ottawa for 2 nights. Centrally located, it was easy to walk to all major sights of the city. Building was interesting of course, being an old jail. But on the other hand there are stairs to walk with your luggage.
The only place wifi was fuctioning in a good level was the lobby, there was no wifi available at the highest level or the dining hall. Breakfast was nice, although for example yogurt would've been great addition.
The bar downstairs (Mugshot) was serving great local brews with a reasonable price. One could have rented skates from the reception to take a spin at frozen Rideau canal, great idea!

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled solo
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Thank MH10435
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 February 2014

It is a really nice place to stay! The jail is really exciting. It is a mysterious place to sleep. I had no problem with the place, It is cheap and comfortable. There are some events and it is amazing. I approve it!

  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank Alexander R
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: £24 - £71 (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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