Painted Turtle Guesthouse

Painted Turtle GuesthouseNanaimo's only Hostelling International affiliate is the Painted Turtle Guesthouse, 121 Bastion St. in the very heart of the city. This 20-room heritage building erected in 1913 was once known as the Commercial Hotel. It offers safe, clean accommodations to backpackers and budget-minded couples alike.

The 10 double rooms with queen-size beds go for $71 plus 12 percent tax. The two family rooms with two bunks and a queen-size bed are priced $82 plus tax and children are welcome. Backpackers and those traveling alone can get a bed in one of the eight four-bed dormitories at $26 plus tax per person. Females-only dorms are available and small groups of friends can organize a whole dorm for themselves. Anyone carrying a Hostelling International membership card gets a discount of $2 per night.

Although pleasant and convenient, the Painted Turtle isn't for everyone. None of the rooms have a private bathroom, although eight individual shared bathrooms are centrally located on the floors. The rooms also lack telephones, televisions, and minibars. After all, this is a hostel. What Painted Turtle does have that most other Nanaimo hotels do not is a fully equipped kitchen where you can cook your own meals, coin-operated laundry machines, and a comfortable common room. It's the best place in Nanaimo to meet other independent travellers.

Wireless internet access is free, or pay $3 to use one of their computers for 20 minutes. Pets are not allowed at the Painted Turtle and smoking is prohibited in the building. You must pay to park your car in a nearby municipal lot (the bus, train, and seaplane terminals are only a 10-15-minute walk away). The hostel will hold your bags all day for free. For more information, have a look at the attractive Painted Turtle website, or call (250) 753-4432 or (866) 309-4432. Highly recommended.

Updated on 24 August 2010.

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