Advantages Great location, clean and friendly hostel
Disadvantages Slightly out of your way, but not enough to complain
|Value for Money|
|Quality of Rooms|
|Standard of Service|
|Quality of Food & Drink|
|Quality of Facilities|
About twenty to thirty minutes from Downtown Vancouver is Jericho Beach. On the south shore of English Bay Jericho is supposedly famous for an endless sandy strip and swimming beach. Well as an Australian I have different ideas of what a swimming beach and an endless strip of sand is.. but Jericho Beach is cute and has a spectacular view of the mountains, though they are rather hard to miss in Vancouver.On our first night arrival, time zone confused - I had been in Sydney, Wellington, Hong Kong and London in the preceding three weeks and my friend had done an epic journey from Sydney stopping for one night in Shanghai and one night in London - we had no idea where we were and as we wandered down to the beach we felt we had wandered onto a teenage summer movie set. Logs on the beach, beach volleyball players, guitar sing a longs, Frisbee games, the only thing missing was someone like Lindsay Lohan to make the teen movie complete.
Over the next few days we noticed what an active city Vancouver is, people riding, walking, jogging - so its no surprise to note that Jericho Beach is popular for picnic and barbeque areas, sailing and kayaking, volleyball and tennis, jogging and of course sunbathing. The beach also has concession stands, change rooms, showers and toilets.Jericho Beach is also located near the Vancouver famous beach area, Kitslano (or Kits to us locals!). A laid back (even for Vancouver) area with a great selection of healthy shopping and restaurants. Kits beach has an outdoor heated pool.
Back at Jericho Beach, about 2 minutes walk from the beach, and opposite a big park, is the Jericho Beach hostel. A big white building, with youth hostel markings, it's hard to miss. Unfortunately to get in there's a big set of stairs (about 30) to the main entry door, and then more to get to reception, which is fine when you aren't carrying any heavy bags, but of course on arrival I was.The park opposite can be walked through to get you back onto the main road and is quite large and pretty. There are a few wooden bridges to walk over and some water complete with ducks. The park also has sports playing fields.
When you enter the main doors of the hostel if you look around the entry room you can see some notice boards, these just have a bit of local advertising, work, rooms etc. There is also a board looking for or offering ride shares and a public phone. You are then faced with another door which leads into reception, this one is security locked and you just have to get the attention of hostel staff, who are usually more alert than you anyway, and they will beep you in. Check in is from noon and check out is 11am.To the side of reception is an information desk. While I was there I didn't see anyone manning the desk but there are brochures around the hostel and the hostel staff are very helpful anyway. I have seen the position for hostel tourist help desk advertised, but as a volunteer position so I don't think people are rushing for the role.
The reception desk, as well as answering all your questions - and everyone else who asks the same question, will supply you with linen and a towel if you need it on check in. We had booked in advance on the internet so check in was pretty quick as we just had to pay. Reception will as well as all other things mentioned in this review, sell postcards, rent bicycles ($30CA per day) sell combs, shampoo, loan you a big laminated map of Vancouver and sell a few other essential items. There is also a phone to the side of reception that will call to Yellow cabs (who never show up!) for free. They will also take messages for you and place in a box to the side of reception AND if a call comes for you and you are within shouting distance will transfer it to a phone in reception.The hostel has 286 beds, some of which are private but most are dorm. The dorms are divided into for the most part 4 bed bunk alcoves and at the end of each alcove is a locker for each bed. There are about five of these alcoves all within the one room, so you are sharing - but with an illusion of some privacy. We were even luckier to get the end beds, which meant there was just two, and they were separated into their own little room - even more illusion of privacy! I say illusion because there is no door to our room and several other hostellers seemed to think it was just fine to wander up and check out our little room, but as we had lockers too there was no security issues.
There is just a long hallway in front of the alcoves, which has a window for each set of beds; these are big windows with light curtains so if sunlight bothers you take an eye mask! The hostel has enforced rules of "Quiet time" though and asks each guest to leave the lights off after 11pm and before 7am, and obviously to keep quiet! There is no lockout, you just have to wander about in the dark (or use your phone as a guiding light) if you come in later.There are a set of showers on each floor, one male one female. I didn't check out the male ones of course, but the first floor female ones had two toilets, two showers and a bath. The second floor bathrooms are much bigger and have a separate sink area, two toilets, three showers and two baths. There is somewhere near each shower to hang your towel and plastic chairs to put your belongings on. The bathrooms, as with the whole hostel, were clean the whole time (one week) I was there, with absolutely no complaints. The showers themselves didn't have any of those annoying hostel timers and you just used them for as long as you needed. The first floor showers have better pressure!
Downstairs in the basement you will find a large kitchen. Its open planned and has many a sink (I think about six), fridges, a few stovetops for cooking and a microwave. There are also a few vending machines, selling snacks, drinks and hot drinks in the corner next to a couch. The hostel supplies all your cutlery, dishes etc and just asks that you wash up after yourself with the cleaning products supplied. Not everyone does this, but I noticed one of the staff cleaning up in the morning so it gets done and is always clean! Around the kitchen are some tables and chairs for you to sit and eat at.Also downstairs is a laundry room, with pay for it washers, dryers and an ironing board. The reception staff upstairs have laundry powder for sale and will loan you the iron - you just need to hand over your ID!
The hostel also has an onsite café located downstairs. There's not a huge variety of food but its pretty tasty and good value, well-portioned sizes! I ate banana pancakes for breakfast one morning and it came with a coffee, which had free refills. I also can recommend the veggie burger and lasagna! There's a small selection of beers at the café too and at the back of the café is a TV set with two couches for guests. The café, as well as the hostel, tends to have daily papers lying around for you to read.There are also four internet terminals located around the hostel, pricey though at $1CA for ten minutes, but occasionally handy! If you are after a longer use of internet terminal, about an hours walk away (or you can get a bus) is the University of British Columbia and its library with free internet.
Each night of the week the hostel organizes social outings in conjunction with the other hostels, these are advertised on a bulletin board behind reception. An example is a bowling night, you would usually meet at the main hostel Downtown for these trips but book them through reception at Jericho Beach.The rooms are less than $20 Canadian for a shared room per night and if you want to splash out on some privacy and a double bed its $60 for a private room. That's the Hostelling International members rate, its a few dollars more each night for non members. They accept Master, Visa and Debit card.
Membership? Its a worldwide thing so you can join in the UK before you leave. Its 16 pounds, and lasts for one year. With membership comes some discounts, nothing special - with my Australian Youth Hostel membership I get discounted travel insurance and in Canada get discounted entry to a few attractions, not much but it all helps. There are also family membership rates and you can even pay for hostel membership with your tesco points. You can also join at the hostel in Canada for $35 Canadian.If you are just emigrating to Canada and stay in the hostel they have a job seekers package. This just means you pay about $40 more for the week but with this you get $20 bus tokens, $20 internet use (at a café downtown) and a map and a few tips to get you started. We considered it a helpful starting point.
The hostel will mind your bags for you for free for a week in their locked storage room. The staff will attach a tag to your bag and give you the other half of the tag - matched tags get your luggage back.How to get there: First fly to Vancouver.
Bus Directions: Take the Skytrain westbound to Granville Station. Walk up to Granville St. and take bus #4 southbound to NW Marine Drive, walk downhill and take the first right turn at Jericho Park.If you are getting a bus prepare yourself, they need exact money for your fare. That's $2.25 CA for any travel within a 90 minute period. Bus drivers in Vancouver are ultra friendly and will tell you where to get off if you need help, sometimes they even guess that you are for the hostel and let you know before you even ask.
The no#4 bus is also the bus that will take you in and back to downtown from the hostel.The website for the hostel advertises a free shuttle bus, but I didn't see any indication of a shuttle bus while staying at the hostel.
Where's there that I'm getting to?
Address: 1515 Discovery Street
Vancouver, BC V6R 4K5
How do I contact the hostel?
Toll Free: 1-888-203-4303
On a final note, one thing to warn of. Hostels are full of "interesting" types. Among other weird guests we had the pleasure to run across a lady who constantly poked my friend in the arm asking "are you leaving tomorrow?", and came into our "room" to poke my arm and ask why i was in bed (it was 10.30pm).
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