We did a fourteen night driving tour around New Zealand in 2010, staying in 10 hostels (we'd bought a book of vouchers along with 14 days car hire in a YHA package).
This hostel was without doubt the best of those ten. (By the way Rotorua YHA, although fairly new was dreadful).
Hostels are best when they have character, and this one was oozing with it. The rooms meandered along a rabbit warren of corridors, and that was a tour in itself worthy of note. There were two of us, and a quite night, but rather than cram people into rooms at capacity to reduce housekeeping costs, they gave us a four-bed room with just the two of us in it. THAT was very much appreciated.
The kitchen was old, but very serviceable. The facilities were so well laid out, and you weren't getting run into by other guests.
There were little things travellers want, but tend to get forgotten by some hostel owners. There was a quiet separate telephone room, a reading room with free books, there were handy things that you only notice when you're missing them, that I'm finding it difficult to specifically remember, but really appreciated them when on the stay. Things like sewing kits, and bathroom items that you'd miss if you didn't have them, but the hostel owners had had the foresight to provide.
I suppose they'd been making a list of things travellers were asking for over the years, and went out of their way to ensure they were simply there.
It was right on the beachfront just up from the National Aquarium, and not far from the town centre. We returned to Napier a couple of years later, but this time we were on a cruise ship, and missing some of the provisions we'd had a couple of years before.
Again, best hostel out of the ten YHAs we stayed in in New Zealand, and can't recommend it enough.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located on the beachfront close to Napier city centre, the YHA Napier hostel has character, fantastic sea views (all the way to South America!), spacious rooms, cheerful staff and a convivial atmosphere. Originally a waterfront hotel this rambling survivor of the 1931 Napier earthquake is now a top rated backpacker hostel by Hostelworld.com customers. Backpacker accommodation at YHA Napier includes comfortable twin, double, shared and single rooms. ... more less
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