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“affordable, clean, friendly”

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Dorset House Backpackers
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 30 July 2010

I was a solo female over 50 and I stayed here three nights. One night on my way to Franz Joseph and a week later two nights. The first time I arrived late and everything worked as planned. I had a code to access the locked front door. The key was available as planned and my room was very nice. One special thing to say about this place is that you can get the heat you need. There is an electric radiator heater plus an electric heater under the bottom sheet. I booked a single room. The rooms are small and only have a bed, night stand and lamp, TV mounted on the wall and hooks on the back of the door for clothes. The kitchen was clean and cheerful. I was able to leave a bag there the first time I was there to pick up when I returned. The house is about a 10 minute walk to town. A little farther from town then some places, but then also in a quiet neighborhood. Internet was available and computers for use. Another great thing was that the front desk was very helpful directing me to activities of interest and they made the phone calls to make reservations for tours and for shuttle pickup to the airport. Mostly 18-25 year old backpackers so if you are older you are in a group by yourself. The cost of a taxi from Cathedral Square to Dorset House was $8NZ.

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled solo
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1  Thank caribseabreeze
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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193 - 199 of 236 reviews

Reviewed 3 July 2010

The rooms and bathrooms were cleaned daily by a friendly group of cleaners. The rooms were spacious and the communal area had tv with a library of dvds and a free pool table and a vending machine. The only downside was the unreliable internet access. Really enjoyed my stay there.

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank chiltonj87
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 June 2010

We love the heated mattress and it was a comfort to know that they have it here at dorset house. Except that their heater is not too strong, however during non-winter times should not be an issue ;) The staff is really friendly and they have cool lounge and kitchen! It was so cosy that even during winter times, it simply warmed our hearts. :)

  • Stayed: June 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank Florence_Tay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 April 2010

We stayed at Dorset house twice during our trip to NZ, when we first arrived and also at the end of our trip. The facilities are basic but everything you should need for a short stay. The room, bathrooms and kitchens were very clean.
The staff very very friendly and helped us with tourist information too.

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled with friends
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Thank pingu007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 April 2010

Well, I arrived in the backpackers a few hours ago after a delayed flight from Melbourne and several hours of dossing about only to find that the staff had left an envelope with my key inside - perfect! Opened the door to my room and was pleasantly surprised by the fact that I have a double bed! This backpackers is small, homely, neat, compact - and for the price, most definitely worth it! Also, my room, though not huge, is absolutely perfect for me - the area the Backpackers is in is a quiet area but yet still close enough to the city to have a choice of party or relaxing! I'm going to recommend Dorset House Backpackers to my friends when I get back to Australia and even spread the word further than the Southern Hemisphere! I've travelled a lot, have paid good hard earned money for some awful places and Dorset House Backpackers is not one of them - its a pleasure to stay here - I keep thinking my mum will knock on the door offering me a cup of tea!

  • Stayed: April 2010, travelled solo
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Thank dinkle78
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 April 2010

My wife and I stayed here twice, at the beginning of our NZ "holiday" and at the end. I loved the first time - the Dorset House was magical - it is in a quiet neighborhood directly adjacent to a large city park and only short walk from the beautiful botanical gardens. It is a historic house/hotel that has been providing people with a place to stay for 75+ years (100+ ?), and has been owned by the same family at least since WWII. It was a charming place and I totally understand why it has been rated so highly by other reviewers, BUT the service that we received on our 2nd visit was the WORST that I've EVER received from ANY place of accomodation that I have EVER stayed at and I would NEVER stay there again or recommend it to anybody (except my evil advisor from graduate school).

On our 2nd visit we arrived at the front door at 6:05 p.m., five minutes the front desk closed for the night. The receptionist left us instructions and a key in an envelope taped to the front door - no problem so far - EXCEPT that when we went to our room (#9)somebody's stuff was already in the room! What to do? We went to the receptionist's desk to see if anybody was still there - nobody was. We asked the people in the tv lounge and the kitchen (everybody that we could find) if they were staying in #9 (so we could sort out who was really where), but nobody was. We went back to the desk and looked for an after hours number, an emergency number, for somebody to call, but NOTHING was listed. We knocked repeatedly on the "Private" door, but nobody answered. There was NO WAY to get in touch with ANYBODY that owned/worked at the place after 6pm! My wife was just about done writing a note a saying that we went elsewhere for the night and not to charge our credit card when a young woman who worked at the reception returned to get her phone charger. My wife spoke to her and, fortunately, she realized the severity of our problem and began to help, trying to figure out who had their luggage in our room (she confirmed that we were reserved for #9). In the process we discovered that the woman who apparently owns Dorset House had been in the closed receptionist office the ENTIRE TIME and when she learned of our problem from the young woman helping us, what did she say? She said, "well that will teach you [the receptionist] to forget your phone charger!" The woman TOTALLY lacked empathy! Somehow someone who works for your hotel gave a 2nd key to our room to another guest, now we have no place to stay, and all you have to say to the person helping us is, "well that will teach you to forgot your phone charger!" That is simply ridiculous! Shortly thereafter a man (apparently the woman's husband) came out of a different unmarked door in the establishment and, hearing of our troubles, only commented, "normally I'm more charming than this," before walking away! Finally, after exhausting all the possible lines of inquiry, the woman helping us concluded that she couldn't figure out who was in our room and that she would have to make us a reservation a different hostel, BUT the place they put us in was CHEAPER and, when we got there, we discovered that it was DIRECTLY OVER a bar that was open until 3am and across the street from six (SIX!) nightclubs. Although some people like those kind of establishments, that is nothing like the Dorset House, which my wife picked out specifically from Lonely Planet and TripAdvisor reviews for its quiet location!

Mistakes happen and I can understand that sometimes things go wrong, but it is simply UNEXCUSABLE to dump your guests in a cheap, threadbare, rat hole over a bar (open to 3am!) and across the street from 6 discos, when your establishment is noted for its quiet location. It is UNEXCUSABLE to not have an after hours emergency number. If you don't want to be occasionally interupted at any point between 6pm and 8am, don't run a hotel! And finally, it is UNEXCUSABLE to be so callous to the plight of your guests when you've created the problem.

So in conclusion, I can understand why other reviewers have given it the high marks - that would have been our opinion based solely on our first visit - and I can happily tolerate a mistake, but I cannot recommend a place where the staff cares so little about their guests. I would NEVER recommend this hotel to a friend and that makes me a little sad, as it was SO wonderful the first time and has so much potential.

  • Stayed: April 2010, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank RABecker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DorsetHouseChch, Manager at Dorset House Backpackers, responded to this reviewResponded 2 May 2010

Hi, thank you for your feedback and for your comments on your stays at Dorset House. We appreciate all our feedback – the good and the bad – as it helps to know where we have got things right and where we have gone wrong and need to improve.

While we’re glad you enjoyed your first stay, I am really sorry that your second stay with us wasn’t a good experience for you.

Having figured out the following morning what happened, it appears this was a chain of events that stemmed from us checking in two guests who were shown their room on the map, and then put their luggage into the room next to the one they’d been issued. They then went out for dinner without either locking the (incorrect) room, or apparently noticing the number on their room key. Things spiralled from there. This was a pretty strange and rare situation, and I completely agree with you that we didn’t do well in handling the problem and we didn’t manage this as we should have.

You should have been able to expect to obtain your accommodation as booked/or received an equivalent alternative in case of emergency, as a basic standard of care provided by an accommodation business, and for our failure to provide this I sincerely apologise to both of you. We tried to find a solution on a busy Saturday night, and on this evening we fell short of what you should have been able to expect of us. The judgement call that I made to find an available room in another hostel for you was an incorrect one on my behalf.

I’m really sad to read that you left feeling that we didn’t take enough care of you as our guests – we do try hard to look after our guests and be helpful to them and watch out for their comfort and convenience as guests to our city and our hostel. I am really regretful that we let you down on this occasion.

Our team are grateful that you took the time to send feedback and communicate this to us. We will learn from this experience and will work to improve our systems for dealing with emergencies. We will continue to strive hard to make our guests feel comfortable and well-cared for when staying with us at Dorset House.

With kind regards and thanks,
Angela Haughey
Manager
Dorset House

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Reviewed 3 April 2010

We really enjoyed the one night we stayed. Two bedrooms easily fit our family of 5. Old style but very comfortable and well equipped with kitchen and laundry. The only thing I'd say is the noise from behind and upstairs disturbed my sleep, though my husband and kids didn't notice. It was an easy walk to the centre and close to a great restaurant strip (end of block).

  • Stayed: March 2010, travelled with family
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Thank sincly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Dorset House Backpackers

Address: 1 Dorset Street | PO Box 25350, Christchurch 8144, New Zealand
Region: New Zealand > South Island > Canterbury Region > Christchurch
Amenities:
Free Parking
Hotel Style:
Ranked #11 of 106 Speciality Lodging in Christchurch
Price Range: £14 - £47 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Dorset House Backpackers 2.5*
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Perfectly located central city, boutique hostel in historic 1871 home, in a lovely quiet garden setting and next to beautiful Hagley Park. You will find everything needed including a guest lounge with pool table, internet, WiFi, DVD's, cable, kitchen, balcony, guest laundry and free off-street parking. A selection of single, double and twin rooms are available, with fully made beds. Enjoy a stroll to Cathedral Square, or indulge in cafes & shopping on Victoria St. ... more   less 
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