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HI Ottawa Jail hostel review

September 26, 2015

Ottawa is the capital of Canada and it behaves in that way too.  There is not too much to do activities wise in the city itself, but it does provide a nice little get away from it all.  The city centre is quite small and most of the attractions (mainly museums) are within a 20 minute walk of the city centre.


Location: Ottawa, Canada.

Date of Stay: September, 2015.

Price Range: $32 - $110 CAD


HI is known for using existing buildings to convert into accommodations and this one is no exception.  The HI Ottawa Jail Hostel provides a unique experience you can only do in a handful of locations across the world and the only one in North America.  Set in the 150 year old Carleton Jail, the hostel uses the existing jail cells in the design of the rooms.   



- It is truly a unique experience

- Free breakfast full of bagels, fresh fruit, cereal, toast tea and coffee

- Free tour of the Jail – an informative and eye opening tour which makes you appreciate the place you are staying in.

- Activities on every day

- Located in the city centre



- Only stairs to rooms, so no good for people with lots of luggage

- The rooms are small – but you are staying in a jail cell. 

- You will be woken up by the sunlight and noise.  The rooms have kept their bars on the front.

- Wi-Fi is only available on the 2nd and 3rd floors but is a great way to make sure you are out of your room.


Final Thoughts

The hostel was a great experience but don’t expect to get a solid night’s sleep.  I am glad I stayed here for my time in Ottawa but if I was to visit again, I am not sure if I would stay in the Jail cell room.  The highlight of the stay was jumping on the Jail tour.  It is free to do and leaves at 11am every day.  They will take you to some of the original cells, death row and the area in which they hung people.


Itchy Feet Escapades rates the HI Ottawa Jail Hostel 4 out of 5 Itchy Feet.


If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or get in touch via our Facebook page.


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