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Jailhouse accommodation, Christchurch

4.0 stars


Jailhouse –Lock me up anytime

As an ex-prison-turned-hostel establishment, Jailhouse accommodation in Christchurch just can’t help but stand out from the crowd. Not only because of its outward appearance of a penitentiary institution but also because of what’s on the inside. Jailhouse is all about purging the notoriety of youth hostels.

Of course, it’s perfectly legit to have some reservations about a place like this. It sounds gimmicky even though the idea is definitely not novel. Which is why I was all the more delighted to find a well-kept establishment that isn’t another money-making machine in disguise. (That said, there are some memorabilia for sale on site.)

In jailhouse, there is none of your dopey-looking mumbling receptionist, dinghy kitchen with eternally displaced crockery and cutlery, cave-size room with mouldy mistress. Instead, an impeccably organized kitchen, immaculate bathroom, well-lit atrium, a TV lounge and a movie parlor. Best of all, you are paying for the price of a hostel. The price of a single room is hands down the best deal in town.(45 NZD per night.)

The cell-shaped room itself is bare, but the no-frills décor really adds a touch of authenticity to the place. Wood paneled floor, a comfy single-size bed, a shutter window are pretty much all you get. It is notably cool and chilly in the room, but the room comes equipped with an extra set of duvet.

Clientele is pretty diverse. Ranging from backpackers, retirees, young family, to students on school outing. The atmosphere is reasonably social, but bear in mind, this isn’t one of those party-or-die hostels with inebriated teenagers slurring nonsense or passing out in the corner.

Staffs are knowledgeable and accommodating. While I was there, they really went out of their way to help make my stay enjoyable. There is plenty on site to keep you entertained if you opt to stay in on a rainy day. Apart from the TV, movie, pool table, and internet, I love how they keep history alive in this place. Built in 1874 and renovated into a hostel in 2006, it still retains bits and pieces from its former days. Most of them are on display in a tiny room on the ground floor, there is even a quarantine chamber at the end of the hall. Guests are welcome to take mug-shots with the help of some props on the premise.

The only downside is that it’s a bit far off from the city centre (about 30 minutes walk into town or 10 minutes on bus #7) On the other hand, it’s relatively close to the rail station that connects you to other cities, the multicultural suburb of Riccarton , and last but not the least, the simply majestic South Hagley Park.

Now that I’ve done my time, it’s your turn.
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