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HI-Ottawa Jail Hostel Reviews

75 Nicholas Street, Ontario, Ottawa, Canada

Reviews & Ratings Explained


1177 Total Reviews
  • 78%Value For Money
  • 88%Security
  • 94%Location
  • 84%Staff
  • 77%Atmosphere
  • 77%Cleanliness
  • 74%Facilities

The rating percentage is calculated from customers who booked within the last 12 months.

All ratings and reviews are based on the feedback and opinions of the customers who submitted them and do not express the opinions of Hostelworld.com. This way, you get an up-to-the-minute opinion of just how good a hostel really is.
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Wifi works only in common room. It's at best slow. Breakfast is ok. Rooms very averages. Top floors have limited bathrooms.

Owner Comment (Hide)
Thanks for your feedback. We have been working hard on improving our wi-fi signal in the building. It can be challenging sometimes as the building itself is all stone and brick. We are planning on improving the bathrooms on the top floors, but there are plenty of showers and bathrooms on the 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th floors, so there is only a short walk from the 9th floor to appropriate bathrooms.


What this hostel really needs is a warning on their single rooms about claustrophobia!! The single rooms are old -style drum cells and are NOT designed for anything other than sleeping in! The people at the front desk were civil but not particularly friendly. I didn't get to breakfast so can't comment but a little more interaction from the staff would have been nice. All in all, location good, sleep good provided you're not claustrophobic, and staff ok but not great.

Owner Comment (Hide)
Hello Kerry: Thanks for your feedback. Yes, the authentic single Jail cells are small and they re not for everyone. We do identify the size of the rooms in all booking engines that they are 3' by 9', but they provide a great jail experience for people who want to know what the former prisoners would've felt like. It's too bad you were unable to eat the breakfast, it is delicious and would've been a great start to your day. The Manager


Pretty Awesome getting to spend a couple of nights in Jail. Good Social Hostel easy to meet people. Conveniently located - close to pretty much everything you need, most of the things to see and do! Great Atmosphere - little bit creepy as well being in a Jail Cell. Walking tour was kool. Bar downstairs was a bit pricey. Staff are really Friendly!


One of the more fun hostels to stay in. If you get a bit nervous in confined spaces then maybe not for you. They do cram a few bunks in and when the door closes it is a bit stifling. And I can only imagine it would be worse in summer. But showers, brekky and wifi all good.


Staying in a jail cell is an experience but as a result rooms and the building in general are very cramped, would stay for the experience but wouldn't stay again. Had a free walking tour of the city and tour of the jail. Complementary breakfast of bagels, fruit and cereal. Booked into a female only dorm but ended up with a man in the room. Good location in an easy walk to the main attractions. Wifi signal was not good and not accessible from cells.

  • 1st Sep 2014
  • Novice Nomad
  • cshroff
  • Wales
  • All Female Group, 18-24
  • (1 review)


I've been just one day in one of these small individual rooms. What can I say, the price that u are paying fits in the room that you have. So, no complaints because I knew it was spaceless. If I wanted more space it would have me cost a lot of more money. All it has a price. Anyway, if you dont have problem of claustrofobia and you want to go in a not luxurious way, that is a good solution. Found in a 2-5 min from Wellingon St ( the main st).The breakfast was ok, and customer service perfect.


It was awsome! Kindness of staff, they do have lock at door, everything was nice! It is reasonable!


Except one the staff was not very helpfull. We had booked a private room that in the pictures online seemed to be nice but it was very small, had NO windows and the door had still the bars so that it was partly open out to the hall. Bath and toilet are not clean. The jail hostel sure feels like being in prison.


I had a great time staying here, the staff are fantastic! the mugshot bar was a great way to meet other people, the atmosphere is friendly and welcoming. however i found the location somewhat difficult to find


Aweesome experience! Great location! Stayed at a private room but went through the cell halls for the complete experience. Good breakfast included! Room felt dusty, but I understand it is an old building. Overall, we enjoyed our stay!


The Jail Hostel was great. Everyone who worked there was really nice and even showed some of us around the city. The Bar "Mug Shots" in the court yard was probably the best night time club/bar spot in Ottawa. The DJ's where spinning awesome music that got everyone in the mood. I went to this hostel by my self and by the end of the first night I had met a lot of great people. I'm glad I stayed there.

  • 22nd Aug 2014
  • Novice Nomad
  • Anonymous
  • USA
  • Male, 31-40
  • (1 review)


Was a nice experience sleep in a jail but just for 1 night. Very good location.


Just three minutes away from Byward Market and about 10 minutes from Parliament Hill, this hostel is really well located, but before you go here, make sure you really want to sleep in a jail. In the beginning it was a bit strange for me, but the dorms are quite spacious and the beds are really big. Unfortunately, there are no lockers in some of the dorms and as far as I know there are only two showers for each gender. Breakfast is okay and concerning the fresh fruits very diversified.


Very good location and so cool to stay in a jail cell!! Original.


Absolutely loved this hostel!!! Stayed two nights in a room with 4 beds. Plenty of space, room had a kitchenette with coffee maker, kettle, and microwave which was excellent for having late night snack after a long day out in the city. Location is excellent - close to the Parliament hill, Nepean point, and many-many other great places in Ottawa!!! Also, great breakfast in the morning!!! Special thanks to the staff for keeping this place clean and being so well-organized!

  • 11th Aug 2014
  • Novice Nomad
  • Anonymous
  • Ukraine
  • Female, 25-30
  • (1 review)


Loved the place and its understated atmosphere

  • 8th Aug 2014
  • Novice Nomad
  • Anonymous
  • Canada
  • Male, 41+
  • (1 review)


Very interesting hostel in old jail. Location is very good, atmosphere in the hostel is OK, breakfast is good, kitchen is well equiped. Tricky was only one thing. On my reservation was written that amount for pay is total (with taxes) but hostel demanded that I pay tax. It was strange because in other hostels in Canada taxes where included.


very friendly staff, jail tour was excellent and interesting.

  • 6th Aug 2014
  • Novice Nomad
  • Anonymous
  • England
  • Mixed Group, 18-24
  • (1 review)

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