Advantages Cheap, friendly
|Value for Money|
|Quality of Rooms|
|Standard of Service|
|Quality of Food & Drink|
|Quality of Facilities|
Calgary city centre has several youth hostels; we stayed at HI Calgary. This is located in 520-7th Avenue, on the outskirts of Downtown Calgary and about a 10-15 minute gentle walk from Calgary Tower and the shopping areas of town. The location is two minutes walk from the nearby C-Train (this is a tram) stop which runs through downtown. This stop is the outermost limit of the centre zone that allows free travel, which is extremely useful because wandering around the city gets tiring after a while!This part of town is rather rough. There is a large park outside the hostel where people would sleep on the benches. We saw several people who were under the influence and acting in a quite belligerent manner, which was a little intimidating. You have to walk quite a long way to get any shopping in as well, which is a nuisance.
The hostel has a big cooking area with fridge and shelf space and pots, pans and crockery that you can use and communal stocks of food that people have left behind when they moved on. There is a limited Internet connection (which you pay for) and a good laundry room.HI is Hostelling International, which the YHA is affiliated with. You can get discounts equivalent to a couple of pounds a person per night if you are a member. Our room cost us about £17 per person per night. We paid for a private room for two, but what you actually get for that money is a spartan dormitory with four beds to yourself. The blankets were very thin and we wouldn't have liked to be there in winter time! It had an air conditioning unit, a chair and a television with about three working channels. We shared a bathroom, which was also very basic.
The people at reception can help you with getting around and provide tips for their favourite local sites. We could use their phone for arranging local events - local calls are free. The reception area has extensive brochures and other local tourist information. I can recommend a visit to Calgary Tower.Overall, we found this hostel a bit spartan for our tastes (and we like camping and hostelling!); it was rather scary to have to brave the rougher areas just to get anywhere, particularly after dusk. But it was cheap and reasonably clean. We probably wouldn't come back here though. Next time, we will stay in a hotel!
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