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“More Art Gallery than Backpacker”

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Chillawhile Backpackers Art Gallery
Ranked #18 of 20 Speciality Lodging in Oamaru
Reviewed 15 March 2014

There was a lot of art around, you could paint and a lot of instruments were laying around. But the kitchens were small and poorly equipped. There was one toilet, a shower and a bathroom with both so that waiting became normal. The beds are uncomfortable and the staff not really service orientated. All in all I was happy to only stay for two nights and wouldn't go back.

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled with friends
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2  Thank Knute88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (48)
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22 - 28 of 48 reviews

Reviewed 14 February 2014

The Chillawhile was our introduction to backpackers' accommodation in NZ. It's a friendly spot filled with travellers from all around the world. My youngest son had a great time painting in the front reception area and listening to the visiting musicians play everything from didgeridoos to accordions. The room we shared had four bed of differing quality, and a good view from two sides. The kitchen facilities were fine, though another toilet would have been nice! All of the guests and staff were very friendly.

Room Tip: Room #8, the family room, is huge and quite comfortable.
  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled with family
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1  Thank Julie R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 December 2013

The only real negative is that without car it is a 40 minute walk to the town centre. The hostel has many kitchens and bathrooms to cater for the amount of guests but the problem is that the areas, especially the kitchens, lack space. The hostel itself was clean and the rooms were nothing special but did the job. The theme for the hostel is quite creative and the spacious lounge and option to paint are real positives. The owner was very friendly and made us feel very welcomed.

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank lolcas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 April 2013 via mobile

Had a private room next to reception. It smelled wAter damaged and was extremely cold. The bed was uncomfortable. There were very loud and rough looking drunks being noisy all day and late in to the evening. The staff were friendly and the common room was cool with lots of artsy and fun stuff as promised but I'm a bit surprised that I'm the first to give this place a poor review. It'd be cool if it was just a place to grab a coffee and hang out but it was pretty far from ideal as a place to spend the night, even by hostel standards. The price probably reflects this so I really should have known better but just be aware of what you're in for! Might be ok for some people but I generally value the ability to get a good nights sleep when picking hostels!

  • Stayed: March 2013
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Thank lia_p_aus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chillawhile, Owner at Chillawhile Backpackers Art Gallery, responded to this reviewResponded 5 November 2013

I consider Chillawhile Backpackers Art Gallery a quiet hostel - out of town, our guests that come to Chillawhile are fantastic, on occasions there are some organised and spontanious communal nights where our guests enjoy each others company, this is encouraged.

There are plenty of communal spaces indoors and outdoors, with 3 different communal kitchens and bbq patio area, amongst lots of different garden spaces, so plenty of space to find some quiet time as well as communal times.

Our Art Gallery is closed at 9pm when our Reception closes, we are not a hostel with lots of signage we do however have some arty strategically placed stones painted with "Reception and Art Gallery closes at 9pm" so it is very clear in a subtle way that our art gallery is closed from 9pm this ensures that our downstairs double is quiet during the night.

What can I say this is one of my favorite rooms in the hostel, it is by no means a motel these are 2 recent reviews for this very room...

Prefect stay here, always love this peaceful place. 21 Oct 13

We stayed in a double and had a luscious room with a huge window! Facilities clean, and the grounds are beautiful. Very quiet at night. 21 Oct 13

I have not responded to this bad review earlier, simply because I have been busy, now I have made some time...

You can see how a bad review can impact on an establishment and we have had no additional reveiews in 7 months, however we have had the best winter we have ever had since we opened.

Please note certain age restrictions apply to certain rooms at Chillawhile -

- Age restricted dormitory rooms 18 years to 38 years, these are our guidelines and used at our discretion

- Private Twin, Double, Triple and 4 Share rooms are age restricted 50 years and under

- No age restrictions for families staying in our family room


Warm Regards

Kelly Lindberg (creator of Chillawhile)

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 March 2013

This was one of my top hostels during my trip in NZ. Maybe the bedrooms were far from the best, and the number of showers is very limited, but the hostel has a very good vibe. The walls are full of paints done by mainly everybody. Their lounge room is full of musical instruments, there is a piano, guitars and all kinds of percussions.
The staff was very nice.

  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank AlfredoAMS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 March 2013 via mobile

I stayed in a 4 bed dorm for 1 night.

This was one of the better hostels I stayed in in New Zealand. It had a cool and relaxed feeling, fun artwork on the walls and a reasonably friendly atmosphere. Noise and cleanliness levels fine in comparison with other youth hostels. This is a basic hostel with a bit of a late 60s feel to the atmosphere.

Beds in the dorm were not bunk beds which I really liked.

Everything was slightly worn and shabby and mismatched but that mostly fitted with the artsy feeling of the place.

Lots of kitchen space.

I got a friendly greeting but wasn't fully shown around when I arrived (guy at reception seemed a bit stressed) - not shown where the bathroom or washing machine was and they had forgotten to change the sheets on my bed so had to wait for them to do that. They also seemed confused about how Internet booking works.

How to see the penguins was explained to me helpfully but there could have been a bit more information about what to do in the area or some organized hostel activities.

Other points:
- The number of showers and toilets is seriously limited. I counted one of each for 4 rooms upstairs (14 people?). Had to wait a long time to use the shower.
- The location is a bit out of town. I was fine staying there as I had a car and there is parking but think location would be a bit inconvenient without a car (I think there is a bus and they would have explained that to me).
- Internet is not free and no wifi vouchers are included in the price but this seems relatively normal in New Zealand. As with everywhere with Zenbu (most hostels) the voucher system is irritating and the service is a bit patchy.

  • Stayed: March 2013
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Thank rtwopinion
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 February 2013

Very nice atmosphere, good music and with piano. With a touch of Tuscany.
The house is a art gallery as well and has a lot of small things to explore.
Love it. - the only bad point maybe, you have to walk about half an hour on the main road to the "center".

  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled solo
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2  Thank Ajaychamber
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Chillawhile Backpackers Art Gallery

Address: 1 Frome Street, Oamaru 9400, New Zealand
Region: New Zealand > South Island > Otago Region > Oamaru
Amenities:
Free Parking
Hotel Style:
Ranked #18 of 20 Speciality Lodging in Oamaru
Price Range: £10 - £27 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2 star — Chillawhile Backpackers Art Gallery 2*
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Chill-A-While featured on Getaway Australia as Oamaru's creative destination for artists and musicians and is highly recommended by Lonely Planet.Lonely Planet reviewUnleash your creative spirit at this funky and colourful hostel in a restored two-story Victorian residence. Guests are encouraged to draw and paint, or create sweet soul music on the hostel's guitars, pianos, didgeridoo and African drums. With all that creative energy, there's definitely a laid back social vibe, and Chillawhile is one of NZ's best and most unique hostels.Off street parking, secured bike shelter and bike hire, ZENBU WiFi. Age Restricted Dorms, Heated Rooms, Atomic Shuttle Bus Service drop off and pick up at Chillawhile.Official Check in 4pm-9pm, Late check out 11.30am - late self check ins are possible for our private rooms advance payment is required, free luggage storage for guests arriving early by bus.Age restricted dormitory rooms 18 years to 38 yearsHostel age restricted 50 years and underNo age restrictions for families staying in our family room ... more   less 
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