No doubt about it, the location of this YHA is unbeatable. The location was the sole reason I booked it, and it didn't disappoint. Easy walk to buses, both local and interstate, Canberra Centre, and everything else I needed.
The shared female bathrooms were clean and the showers were hot. The service I received from an Asian girl at the front desk on Monday afternoon 18/11 was excellent. Free water throughout the hostel was a bonus. Wifi was free, although pretty slow.
And that's where the good stuff ends. Check-in and check-out staff both sub-par, absolutely zero personality. Same with a young guy on the desk one afternoon when I had a legitimate concern and he couldn't have cared less.
The first room I was assigned to, I ended up with an absolute nutter who is living at the hostel long term and thinks she owns the place. That's not the hostel's fault, but this person for some reason became obsessed with me and stalked me to the point of the police almost having to be involved. The room also faced the street and so even though it was a Sunday night, I got to listen to drums shaking the walls and obnoxious singing from the bar downstairs all night along with street sweepers from 5am the following morning. The bed was ok, cleanliness of the room and beds just average. No towels provided (luckily I had brought one with me as the last YHA I stayed at didn't have them either), and there is a locker for each bed that has its own power point (bring your own lock).
After requesting to be put in a different room due to the issues with the room, the lovely girl at reception was very helpful and put me in an empty room on a different floor. I did end up with a roommate later, one who thankfully appeared to understand the concept of shared space and common courtesy. That room was unfortunately also facing the street and again copped a heap of noise from the bar and partygoers on the street. There was also a school group which arrived that afternoon, but this room was still better despite the beds squeaking every time someone moved. Sleep quality generally pretty bad overall.
During my stay, I'd estimate the hostel was half full at best, yet the shared kitchen was constantly packed and there is nowhere near enough space for everyone and all their things. Cleanliness was questionable, though though I suppose it's not the hostel's fault that some people are just filthy.
I had a coffee in the cafe attached to the hostel, and it wasn't a bad coffee, but the woman working in the cafe looked and sounded absolutely miserable. Not even a smile or a greeting of good morning. The whole cafe looked and felt like a dodgy school camp mess hall - not welcoming at all.
Bathrooms were clean and I never had to wait for a toilet or shower, but again, the place was nowhere near full so I'd imagine when it's at capacity that you'd want to be up pretty early in the morning. Unfortunately the small changing space attached to the showers is tiny and water floods the whole area.
I didn't hate the place, but the time I had there just unnerved me and the street noise drove me crazy. It was overpriced for what it offered, but the location kind of justifies that. My hosteling days may well be behind me; would only consider staying here again in a private room and one that's not street facing.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Response from YHA_Backpacker, Guest Relations Manager at Canberra City YHA
Responded 21 Nov 2019
Hi - thanks for the comprehensive review and we'll definitely follow up on issues raised with our team. We are an inner city hostel, so that brings with it some street noise from neighbouring venues etc. Anytime you do have concerns with room mates, please always ask to speak to the manager - they are there to help you work these sort of issues out.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC