Saturday, November 11, 2006

Christchurch: Home at The Old Countryhouse

I admit it - I'm choosy about my bathrooms. While I love bunking down in a hostel, I'm always nervous when I make my reservation. What if this hostel's got the bathrooms from hell? You know what I mean - grotty tiles, decades-old shower curtains, awkward communal shower rooms. I even pack a pair of flip-flops in case I can't stand the shower floor. To top it off, John loves his five-star business hotels and is highly skeptical of hostels... so this Christchurch hostel stay was set to be pivotal in deciding our vacation accommodation plans for the next twenty years.

Well, for our stay at The Old Countryhouse in Christchurch, those flip-flops could have stayed home. Ensuite bathrooms and shared shower rooms both featured modern shower enclosures with plexiglass doors and smooth, clean shower trays. The shared shower rooms were real individual rooms, not just shower cubicles in a large common area. Although we enjoyed our spacious double room, we could have skipped the ensuite bathroom and saved ourselves NZ$12.

Hallways and room floors were carpeted, yet another reason to leave my flip-flops snugly packed in my backpack. There's a photo album and journal of sorts in the lounge that follows the hostel's history as the owners restored and renovated the houses. You can see they've put their hearts into fixing up and maintaining the place... with good results.

The hostel was quiet and had lots of garden space. There's a number of food places around the corner; we recommend the pizza at Memphis Belle and the souvlaki place just across it. There's also a supermarket just down the road, which is very convenient. Give Murphy a wave on your way out the door - he's the owners' friendly black lab.

One disadvantage of The Old Countryhouse is that it's about 2 kilometers from Cathedral Square. That's a brisk 10-minute jog or a leisurely 25-minute walk, which can feel like a very long time when there's a cold wind blowing. Buses to the city stop across the street from the hostel. Check the timetable if you're travelling on a schedule, or you might find yourself sprinting downtown like we did. As you can see from the photo of the bus stop, someone had a little too much fun with one of those shopping carts...

Clearly not a party place, the hostel had a friendly home-like feel to it, and catered to a late-20's to 40's crowd while we were there. It has a spacious kitchen, comfortable beds, good water pressure in the showers (my bathroom fixation's showing again) and won John's approval - hostels of the world, here we come!

Information and Contact Details
What other people are saying about The Old Countryhouse...
Read the previous entry or check out the rest of this New Zealand trip series.

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