HI-Ottawa Jail Hostel

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75 Nicholas Street, Ottawa, Canada

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HI-Ottawa Jail Hostel Reviews

writer-sam writer-s…
14 reviews
Cheap accommodation with a difference Apr 18, 2012
The Jail Hostel is an old converted jail, and offers a choice of dorm rooms (very reasonably priced) and private rooms. Many of the original jail features still remain and you can take 'haunted' tours, including a visit to Death Row and the built-in gallows! There are several floors reached by an original iron staircase (complete with anti-suicide/murder guards!) but there's no lift and the building itself is accessed by uneven stairs, so it's not particularly suited for the less able. However, there's plenty of atmosphere - definitely not for the faint-hearted!

POSITIVES: My private room had its own kitchenette and a comfy double bed, as well as a sofa and breakfast bar. When I checked in the member of staff was really helpful and even carried my suitcase up 4 flights of stairs! The hostel had washing machines and dryers, as well as coin-operated lockers and a free luggage storage facility. There was a giant communal kitchen and a bar, and breakfast was included in the price. The hostel's location is brilliant - only 5 minutes from Byward Market and a short walk to plenty of sights like Parliament Hill and the National Gallery. There are 'haunted' tours of the hostel and this made it all the more interesting - although be prepared to hear the shrieks of scared school kids! The communal showers on my floor were clean and there was plenty of hot water.

NOT-SO-POSITIVES: Some of the available facilities (like the breakfast and communal kitchen) weren't advertised when I booked online - according to one staff member at the hostel this varies from website to website - and I could have saved money if they had been, so if in doubt about what the hostel does or doesn't have, call them direct! The two different ghost tours of the hostel were good but residents still had to pay over $10 for each tour (even with a discount) and I felt that a complimentary tour would have been nice, especially as I ended up paying over $600 for a 7-night stay. The floor was dirty when I checked in and stayed unswept, although the bin was emptied each day; I was unsure if the bed sheets had been changed from the previous occupant and so ended up doing it myself. I know this is a hostel but when you pay more than twice the price of a dorm bed for a private room, you expect slightly more service! Be prepared to wait for a good 5-10 minutes for service at the front reception.
The Jail Hostel from the front.
The hostel from the car park.
On the jail tour - a row of the ce…
My room: comfy double bed...
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fergus_Dublin fergus_D…
2 reviews
Right in the centre of Ottawa and surprisingly comfy for a renovated jail Jun 07, 2011
The location is great and you can walk to pretty much every attraction and supermarkets no problem.

There's a code for the door so coming and going is no problem at all and the staff are incredibly friendly.

The kitchen was fully stocked, very clean and had plenty of room. There was free wireless if you asked for the code- I was on a little Acer laptop though so pretty much had to hold it in the air to get some signal...

There's a tour of the jail, yeah I thought it was a bit weird that they set up shop in a renovated one, but it's surprisingly comfortable and not haunted... I don't think...

But I'd definitely recommend the place, especially if you have a Hostelling International membership card to get a discount
Zan5hin Zan5hin
9 reviews
May 14, 2011
A very unique experience sleeping in an old jail, as long as you do not mind the extra noise sometimes. Otherwise it is just a normal HI with kitchen, common area, planned activities and so forth. This one also has a bar.
hopeygal hopeygal
1 reviews
Living in real Jail and not guilty Feb 09, 2009
I lived in the twin cell i believe, as I checked the pictures. I remember of sleeping with 3 other people in a small Jail with real Jail door. It is smashing, other than that, it is cool. The common fridge was wooden shelves in a cold air room, which is cool b/c I can store much food in my own little wooden mail box look alike shelves instead crowding up the normal fridge and never know which food is mine. lOl, the service was ok, and the location is right in downtown but hidden underbreath the bridge and looks very private. Not far from the RideAU centre, the biggest shopping mall in Ottawa I belive. Parliment Hill wasn't too far either, I can walk there I believe. anyhow, this hostel is pretty cool with its own scenery and other than that, just a hostel. The safety issue is ok I believe, you have lockers
the Jail door
the jail stairs
main door to the floor

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photo by: Jeroenadmiraal