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“Unsafe, unclean and an awful experience!”

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Surf 'N' Snow Backpackers
Reviewed 18 August 2008

I stayed in Surf and Snow for 5 nights in June and it was definitely the worst hostel I stayed in in New Zealand. I stayed there at the end of my 2 month trip round New Zealand, and didn’t expect too much with it being a city centre hostel. I didn’t want to move hostels because I was worried about how bad other hostels would be in the city.

I was a lone, female traveller in my early 20s and chose to stay in the cheapest dorm room – a 12 bed dorm. When I got into my room, the light wasn’t working so I had trouble finding a spare bed in the dark; the other backpackers in the room were all Chinese males who made no attempt to even say hi to me when I entered; I felt very unsafe (and admittedly should have asked to change rooms). One night when I was asleep in bed I was prodded in the bum by one of the other backpackers, who seemed shocked when I turned round and asked him what he was doing. And to make matters worse, I had things stolen – I had put my money belt into the large metal container in under my bed and put a padlock onto it. And when I came back to the hostel from a day’s sightseeing, the receptionist told me my money belt had been found and handed in. US$100 had been taken and my debit card, but the thief was nice enough to leave my passport, which was lucky as I was flying to Fiji a few days later. The receptionist handled the situation very well and put me in a twin room on my own for the last 2 nights of my stay.

The kitchen was TINY for the amount of people who were staying in the hostel – I could never find a clean bowl, cup, knife or anything else for that matter. The TV room stunk of sweaty people. The bathrooms were awful.

I have now received a bank statement through (from a different debit card that was stolen) and there has been a debit by Surf and Snow for $23 in July-over a month and a half after I left New Zealand. I paid cash while I was there because the hostel couldn’t accept my card for some reason, and now I have found them taking money from my account. I have contacted them about it and they say they never made a debit from my account, so now I am in the process of following that up. I have cancelled my card now in case they try to take money again.

Steer clear!

  • Stayed: June 2008, travelled solo
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1  Thank crayfish2007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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149 - 155 of 209 reviews

Reviewed 20 January 2008

This hostel was recommended through a travel agent - ooooh how she was wrong.... we arrived in our room to find it had no windows, was dirty, had nowhere to set anything apart from on the dirty floor. Shared bathroom facilities were a disgrace, really disgusting! The kitchen facilities were very poor - one small fridge that was overcrowded and when u did get your stuff in, we returned to find things burst so we gave up trying to use the fridge, kitchen in general was also dirty and due to lack of storage space people just left their bags sitting on the floor. Laundry facilities were also limited and machines broken. Staff weren't exactly charming either and we saw the 'cleaning' rota one morning on the wall in our corridor and learnt from it there was an outbreak of bed bugs a couple of rooms down... I would say stay away try Base it was just across the street.... this was nearing the end of our travels and was by far the worst hostel we stayed in!!

  • Stayed: November 2007, travelled with friends
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1  Thank traveller_200707
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 August 2007

we booked this hostel as the first stop of our backpacking trip because of its own website claiming to be a 'clean...comfortable...spotless...hostel with a friendly reception...' we arrived after travelling over 30 hours and 3 flights on the trot so looking forward to getting our heads down for a sleep. this was not to be!! when we entered the surf n snow hostel full of excitement at finally arriving in new zealand the woman behind reception who turned out to be the manager was extremely unfriendly and unwelcoming quickly dampening our spirits. we were made to stand for ages while she talked on the phone and made no eye contact. when we finally got checked in and paid we went to our room to find that it hadn't even been cleaned or the bed linen put on. the pillows were brown stained and totally disgusting, the duvet covers that were left on the floor, we don't know if they were the new ones ready to put on or used ones, had stains all over them of which i would not like to descsribe.the mattresses were disgusting and i'm not one bit surprised to read the other reviews that said they were bitten by bugs. not quite the "fresh sheets pillow and duvet" promised in the website and words like spotless clean and comfortable could not be used for this hostel i can assure you.
when we complained to the manager she came up to the room and said she could not see anything wrong!! she had a really bad attitude and was very unhelpful. she finally said she would get the bed linen changed but we would just have to wait for this to be done.we had a look round the rest of the hostel and every area was unclean and there would be no chance you would want to make any food in the kitchen type room.
we decided the hostel was totally unacceptable especially because of the excellent write up the surf n snow give themselved on the website, and asked for a refund. she refused to give us any refund and was extremely rude. we left very annoyed wondering was this typical of NZ (of course it's not) and booked ourselves into the hotel we had booked for new years eve and because there were 3 of us the hotel actually worked out not much more than the hostel and it was glorious.
we stayed in various types of hostels for the 3 week trip around new zealand and not one was anything like this experience. my advice, stay away.

  • Stayed: December 2006, travelled with friends
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1  Thank butterflyN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 July 2007

I stayed here for a few nights in May/June 07 and have to say that the experience sort of jaded my intial stay in New Zealand. I would advise you not to stay here unless you are travelling with other people as for the most part [and without exaggeration], the other guests will have nothing to say to you, not even hello, which makes dorm sharing really uncomfortable.
For the most part, I simply sat around the reception area reading my Lonely Planet Guide book. Attempting to engage other guests in conversation is an exercise in futility.

The overriding annoyance factor was the desire to sell tours to you and the staff will do everything to make you buy one which led me to believe that they are also paid on commission. In fact there is a subtle pressure to buy all sorts of tours and day trips [they even have their own booking office for this] which are far from cheap. It is frustrating because the whole idea about staying in a backpackers' hostel is that you can be self sufficient and work to a budget but their sell tactics more or less usurp this.

As for the dorms themselves, the Lonely Planet Guide refers to them as clean and the showers spotless. The latter I would vehemently disagree with. The showers units had hair all over the shower area, the toilet floors had discarded toilet paper on and discarded female sanitary protection. It kind of turned my stomach..

Other disadvantages: internet connection are not cheap - $3NZ an hour. The dorm rooms are small with no wardrobes, shelves or drawers so everyones rucksacks are in the way of floor space. There are only 2 plugs in each dorm room so if you have 4 or 6 people sharing a dorm and you want to charge your laptop or cellphone you are going to have a problem.

My advice..go elsewhere!!

  • Stayed: June 2007, travelled solo
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4  Thank goddesshekate
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 March 2007

Stayed there Saturday, woke up at 4am to find myself covered in bed bugs. Got them to change my room, they weren't surprised at all. Next morning, they refunded my money no problem as they know they have a problem but don't rectify it. Since spoken to several other people who got eaten alive there. I'm covered in bites - plus it's cost me $30 in medicine and more to clean everything I own to get rid of them. Kitchen was also disgustingly dirty. Nasty place - stay away!

  • Stayed: March 2007, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank kingconifer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 August 2017
Google Translation

  • Stayed: August 2017, travelled solo
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Thank ricardo d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 July 2017 via mobile
Google Translation

Stayed: January 2017, travelled with friends
Thank Chloé T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Surf 'N' Snow Backpackers

Address: Level 1 102 Albert Street, Auckland Central, Auckland, New Zealand
Region: New Zealand > North Island > Auckland > Auckland Central
Hotel Style:
Ranked #89 of 132 Speciality Lodging in Auckland Central
Price Range: £11 - £42 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Surf 'N' Snow Backpackers 3*
Number of rooms: 50
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Also Known As:
Surf `n` Snow Backpackers Hotel Auckland Central
Surf 'N' Snow Backpackers Auckland, New Zealand

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