I usually stay in mid range places but thought I'd like to save a bit of money for my last night before returning home so I booked a single room in Dorset House backpackers in Christchurch at the cost of $72 NZ (about $65 AUD). For that price, it really should have been a little better. Backpackers places do not have to be charmless, grey, dull and clinical experiences with old sheets, but this was just so AVERAGE. Dorset House is in a good location it's true but was really very ordinary. The lounge area looks pretty dull with ugly furniture. The computer, a grey battered relic from the 1980s, did not work, although to be fair Internet access had just been installed that day (or rather, not installed properly) There was no camera or headset for Skyping (because the computer was from the neanderthal era - so no expense spared there. If I had had an iPhone or similar I did have the option of wireless.
I was in a small single room out the back (and I do mean small). The sheets while clean were worn and burred. The TV did work which was one of the few good things abut my stay. The bathroom was undergoing repairs so the shower didn't work (there were more showers inside). The security doors were left open by the other guests all night despite the code system.
I went out for awhile and visited the Botanical Gardens and 'red zone' (which made me quite upset for the people of Christchurch - you don't really appreciate the magnitude of earthquake damage until you see it for yourself). There were few places open and nowhere to eat. Eventually I joined some mates who were staying at Pomeroys on Kilfoyle, a pub with B and B style accommodation attached - and it was great to find life, and beer after wandering around the streets which are pretty much empty and devoid of any places to eat, except for fast food outlets. We ate in the pub's restaurant (excellent pub fare) and the NZ wines available were both gorgeous. I wished I had done more research and spent $30-$40 more and stayed at Pomeroys too, or at one of the motels on Bealey St.
I am not a fussy traveller and I don't mind a backpackers - if it's well done. The woman on reception (staffed 8.00-5.30pm) was helpful. However I found Dorset House depressing. The final instalment was not management's fault but was an unwelcome addition to the experience - I returned back after dinner the foyer area outside my room (no. 17) smelt of urine and there was a patch of wetness outside the bathroom door. Someone obviously hadn't quite made it to the toilet. I gingerly made my way around the damp area, brushed my teeth and went to bed, keen for the next day to come so I could go home.
Sorry Dorset House, try harder!!!
- 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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