“ Address: 338 Lincoln Road / Addington / Christchurch 8024 / New Zealand „
The Jailhouse hostel in Christchurch New Zealand was one of the most unique hostels I have ever stayed in. This is actually a converted prison and still has many of the original features. There are thick heavy doors, bars over the windows and the shape of the building is long and thin with a gallery at the top and metal slatted staircases. It really looks like the prison from Shawshank, but carpeted and not really a prison!
When you walk into the hostel there is a small conservatory area with sofas and a table, lots of books and a few board games. Walking through this room you get into the reception area which is a desk with a coffee machine - you can get the best hot chocolate for just NZ$2, perfect for a crisp New Zealand morning! Across from the reception there is a tourism room filled with maps, brochures and information about New Zealand and local tours, there are also a few for Australia. On the lower level there is a spacious and very tidy kitchen filled with pots and pans and plenty of utensils to cook a delicious evening meal. There is also lots of storage and space in the fridge to keep your food. Further along there is a cinema room which was always full of people relaxing with a movie. The boys' showers are also downstairs.
Upstairs around the gallery are the rooms, they are quite bare but really give the feel of a prison, which is actually more fun than it sounds! We stayed in a room of 10 people and had a very comfortable bunk bed. There was a small ensuite at the end with just a toilet and a sink, very handy so that you don't have to leave the room and run across the hall in the middle of the night! The showers were the opposite side of the gallery and although we felt the building was pretty chilly (we had just come from Fiji) the showers were lovely and hot! There are various rooms with singles, doubles and bunks and family rooms too.
The staff at the hostel were absolutely fantastic! We were expecting our driving licences to arrive and unfortunately they didn't come in time, but they were forwarded onto us and the staff kept in contact with us until they did, which was very kind of them - top service. They also know the area very well and can recommend some great tours and activities, we took a wine tour around Waipara and it was just brilliant.
The hostel was quite tame in comparison to other ones I have stayed at, they don't have a bar and during our stay there were a few families and a school trip. It is a good walk into the centre of Christchurch, but you can jump on a bus from town for a couple of dollars and it drops you right outside the hostel. I would definitely recommend this hostel, it isn't one of the liveliest but it has the most helpful and willing staff and is a so surreal. They have won awards from Lonely Planet and the Rough Guide in 2009. A dorm room was NZ$22 a night and a double room is NZ$59 a night, you can also get weekly rates.