HI Ottawa Jail Hostel

75 Nicholas St, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
#31 of 101 hotels in Ottawa
Very Good (3.5 out of 5.0) 12 reviews
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GrumpyDiver's Profile Photo

Hostel downtown Ottawa

by written on August 25, 2012

Unique Quality: The hostel is located in the old county jail and the rooms are the old cells. ArtsCourt, located next door is the former court house. Both are reputedly haunted....

The last public execution in Canada occured here in 1869.

Directions: Downtown right across the street from the Rideau Centre and around the corner from the Market

thejumpingcorw's Profile Photo

Very unique hostel in a great location

Great (4.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on February 24, 2011

The staff was very friendly. We stayed in a private room at the top floor and had a very nice shared bathroom. I looked in on the dorm floor and it did not look very nice and that bathroom was disgusting. I would recommened this hostel for it's private room. It has a great location and they change their security code everyday - very safe.

Unique Quality: They had a spooky very interesting jail tour. A bit pricey but very interesting. They have kept a lot of the building with it's original bars and such which made it very interesting.

oceania26's Profile Photo

Jail house hostel

by written on January 24, 2007

I didn't stay here but I took the jail house tour and I would definitely come stay here. It seemed clean, safe and friendly with lots of value added service and activities. It's at a very good location, directly behind the Rideau Centre (huge shopping complex) and not too far from the other sightseeing areas.

Directions: Right behind the Sears in Rideau Centre

bicycle_girl's Profile Photo

Cheap, unusual and fun!

Great (4.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on July 9, 2006

Yup, you sleep in a cell! Thhe good news is even though it's hot outside, it's not that hot in because of the thick walls and the concrete. I had a good time over there, and all the amenities were great. Friendly staff too!

Directions: http://www.hihostels.ca/OntarioEast/en/index.aspx?sortcode=2.0.1

Blatherwick's Profile Photo

Atmosphere abound in the former jail

Great (4.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on September 4, 2005

You mostly stay here for the atmosphere but it doesn't hurt that it's right in the centre of town. For $22 Cdn you can stay in a cell within the old Ottawa jail. Formerly a prison and the site of Canada's last public hanging, this historical landmark retains much of its original character. You can visit death row and the gallows during a Jail Tour. As for security...it was a jail man!

Directions: Right beside the Rideau Centre

pirategirl's Profile Photo

A Hell Hole

Terrible (1.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on August 4, 2004

We should have known that staying in a jail would be a bad idea.

We were both assigned top bunks (no choice), and in our room there were 3 bunks to sleep 6 people. They do provide a pillow and sheets, but I would definitely advise bringing your own. The bunks are the squeakiest, noisiest, most uncomfortable beds you will likely ever sleep in. When I climbed into my top bunk, I honestly thought that the bed was going to tip over because they're not secured to the ground, and are very unstable. When my bunkmate came in during the middle of the night, although she was trying to be as quiet as possible, I awoke to what felt like a person catapulting herself into the bed below. The bedframes are metal, and (for the top bunk), there's only a small piece of metal (part of the ladder) to keep you in, in case of rolling. It doesn't even stretch the length of the bed! I also had the joy of a heating vent right above me, so my bunk felt even narrower than it actually was.
If you're claustrophobic I definitely do not recommend this hostel! Since it used to be a jail, they still have the metal bars above the doors, and even the metal bar doors for each "cell". The walls are brick, the floors are concrete, and there is no ventilation in the rooms. There is no A/C in the summer, but they do keep the hall windows open. It's also very damp, and for someone like me with breathing problems, this poses a problem. It honestly feels like a dungeon.
There are only two redeeming qualities that I can think of for this hostel. The first is the security - it's actually quite good. They change the security code on the downstairs door every morning at 11am. You also get a key for your floor door. We had no problem with leaving our bags on our bunks (we had no valuables), but others may want to make use of lockers. The second redeeming quality is that the showers actually had hot water and that there were no waiting lines to use them.

I will end off by saying "stay at your own risk", and save your money for a real hotel!!!

Unique Quality: - security
- interesting atmosphere

Directions: approximately a 10 minute walk to the University of Ottawa

janika's Profile Photo

Jail-House inn or Out?!

Great (4.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on May 13, 2004

The Ottawa Jail Hostel or officially called Ottawa International Hostel. This building is located in Ottawa downtown, not oo far from the Ridea Canal and a walking distance from the Rideau Center shopping Mall. The prices are cheaper than those in a hotel environment. The most interesting part of this place is it's historical purpose. This building was a prison long time ago.

Prices start at only $21.00/Dorm This hostel has 154 beds and also offers corrency exchange with many other convenient commodities. It has it's own parking and bicycle locker for your bikers. Check-in:
May - Sep.: 24 hours. Oct. - April: 7:00 a.m. - 1:00 a.m. This place never closes and offers family rooms for larger groups or families. They conveniently accept the following cards as payment:

Credit Cards: AMEX, JCB, Mastercard, Visa, Debit Card and ofcourse cash .

Unique Quality: It's a prison building. This is what makes this place so unique and museum like experience while obtaining an affordable accomodation at the middle of the city.

Directions: Right across from Sears

woooahh this is scary man!!

Best (5.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on September 13, 2003

this is an unused jail that has been converted to a hostel (in 1972 it shut down and in 1973 converted and opened).

it still retains many of its original features from the gates outside, the stocks near the entrance and death row on the top floor.

you enter from the streets on the thrid level, are given a key to the main door and go through a massive 2ft thick original wooden door to the stairs. floor 1 is storage, floor 2 is the kitchens, lounge and washing machines and a corridor to the shooting gallery out the back where you can also see the hanging area where the last hanging took place only 60 years ago. the rest of the floors are bedrooms and the 10th top floor is an all accessible death row.

the bedrooms are the original cells with no changed doors or features - the beds are still bunks and are very cramped to give a realistic feel to the place.

once a day the staff will give a tour of the place for $10 each which ends with a bbq in the shooting gallery. this takes you round every floor with each one having its own very scary and true story of the jails original residents 100's of years ago and also a visit to death row and the noose chamber - try it out if you want!!!

Unique Quality: its a converted jail for gods sake how many unique qualities do you want it to have!

Directions: near the entrance to the rideau centre

Rice_Paper's Profile Photo

A lil spooky but all around cheap!

by written on July 7, 2003

Nice and cheap! And talk about LOCATION! LOCATION! LOCATION! Just a hop, skip, and a jump and you're in Rideau Centre (biggest shopping complex in Ottawa)...and a few more steps Northbound is Byward Market.

Unique Quality: This used to be a jailhouse until the 70s. The 4th floor is closed off for the Ottawa Haunted Tour (aka it's still retain its "shape" as a jail...).

Directions: Underneath Mackenzie King Bridge.

Hostelling Internationl

by written on August 26, 2002

Unique Quality: This place used to be a former jail and it's interior is much as it was before the jail closed in the 1970's. The hostel dorms are what used to be the prison cells, complete with cell doors,a nd you can even go on a tour of the hostel and see the hanging quarter and solitary confinement cells. It's a bit scarey but at least you know you can leave when you want to!

shotgunsally's Profile Photo

International Youth Hostel

by written on August 26, 2002

Unique Quality: was the jail back in the day... the site of the last Canadian public hanging from the back door. They used to let one stay for free if they stayed in the spookiest cell. A while back, someone got freaked out while staying in there and couldn't get out of the cell. I am not sure what happened but they don't let people stay in that room anymore. Tours are also available of the facility for a couple dollars. Very spooky, very haunted, very cool.

Directions: Nicholas and uhh....something. It's Near the Rideau Centre and any Blue Line taxi can get you there

Ottawwa International Hostel.

by written on August 25, 2002

approx $16 (Canadian) per night for hostelling international members.

Unique Quality: This hostel used to be a jail. The dorms are actually cells. If you get creeped out easily don't take the jail tour of the hostel. Book early, especially around Canada Day.

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Nearby HI Ottawa Jail Hostel

HI Ottawa Jail Hostel

We've found that other people looking for this hotel also know it by these names:

  • Hi Ottawa Jail Hotel Ottawa

Address: 75 Nicholas St, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

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Amenities at HI Ottawa Jail Hostel

  • Suites
  • Continental Breakfast
  • Bar / Lounge
  • Free High Speed Internet

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