So far, I haven’t made a habit of writing about the hostels I’ve stayed at here in New Zealand. For the most part, they’re all about the same. However, I’m staying at Bazils Hostel today in Westport and it’s a much more pleasant experience than anything I’ve had for the last couple weeks since I’ve been here. It’s an actual, genuine hostel, not a chain like Base with mediocre rooms, cheap squeaky bunk beds, dirty bathrooms, and two power outlets for a dorm room of six people.
Bazils is run by Steve and Ray, two friendly surfer dudes livin’ the good life on the beaches of Westport. In fact, Bazils is a certified surfing school and as part of the accommodation, you can get surfing lessons or rent surf gear. They’ve got a van (called Bazils Bus) that can shuttle you back and forth from the hostel to the beach just about anytime.
I think what’s different about Bazils is that it feels like a home away from home and not a dirty hotel, as most backpacker hostels do. Sure, it’s still a hostel, so you have all the things (good and bad) that go along with that, but the place feels warm and welcoming. From the front, it looks like a house on a typical residential street across from a park. Once you go inside (around the back — don’t use the front door), the place seems to quadruple in size. It’s actually quite large, with 15+ rooms, enough to sleep up to 70+ people. There are two full size kitchens, one large courtyard with several hammocks, several picnic tables, and clothes lines if you want to do laundry while you’re here.
After two weeks on the road and sleeping in crowded dorm rooms, I sprung for a single room tonight, which set me back $50 NZD instead of the typical $28 NZD for a 6-person dorm room. I don’t remember what it’s like to spread out in a queen size bed, but I’m sure as hell going to enjoy it tonight!
Bazils is part of the BBH network, so if you’re a cardholder, you’ll get your discount here. They also honor all other backpacking discount cards. You can reserve a bunk or a room in advance, although their site looks like it was built in 1999 (Comic Sans, aghhh!), at www.Bazils.com.
There are a few more photos from around the hostel below.