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Joe & Flo's Olde Candelight Hostel

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Description & Photos

Hostelz.com's Review
Joe & Flo's Olde Candelight Hostel is the closest hostel to Bourbon Street, only half a mile north of the Big Easy's most (in)famous strip. This quiet headquarters still provides friendly service, despite low prices. And they will pick you up or drop you off at Louis Armstrong Airport, provided you arrange the trip with them in advance, during business hours.

The Location

Joe & Flo's is also within a mile of Frenchman Street, where numerous establishments uphold New Orleans' reputation as a world food capital. Two short blocks east of the hostel is Lil Dizzy's Cafe, which runs a buffet brunch on Sundays that will make you plan a return later in the week.

Public transportation is not a strong suit of the French Quarter, but buses do run on Rampart Street. The five blocks separating the hostel from Rampart Street can be eerily quiet at night, since many of the houses are still unoccupied. Cabs are recommended, but you'll have to call them to you, as Robertson Street at the hostel's front steps doesn't get much night traffic. Try to get North of Bourbon Street before taking a cab back to your room, to save yourself the hours it takes to cross this street at night.

Rooms and Bathrooms

The hostel has electronic padlocks for the front door and hallway, before you can access the rooms. The rooms have key locks and two dorm-style bunk beds (accommodating up to four, when full). Private lockers are available out in the hall, as are private rooms.

The rooms have cable TV, phone, a mini-fridge, and sweet life-giving air conditioning. The bathrooms are community, with a shower, toiletries, space to change, hooks, and towel rack. The attention to detail keeps it from seeming like bare bones accommodation, as the price implies.

Common Spaces

A back patio area with tables and chairs outside makes the hostel's no-smoking policy part of the accommodation, instead of a burdensome chore for smokers. The kitchen has everything a home would -- microwave, gas ranges and frying pans, full size fridge/freezer, oven, cups, dishes, utensils, sink, dish soap and sponges, even community spices. This allows long-term guests to procure and store ingredients, instead of buying tourist food for survival. With so many culinary gems close at hand, it's nice to not have to make dining decisions on an empty stomach or wallet.

If you need to read up on where the locals go, the front living room has dial-up internet, ample seating, and magazines. Or, just ask the staff -- they're friendly, local, and happy to bring you in the know.

Summary

Unlike the bottom-dollar simplicity of most hostels, the experience at Joe & Flo's is more like staying with a kind old aunt and uncle who have a large extended family, and love to host. The place wasn't too crowded (during our off-season stay in June), so we couldn't get a read on their regular clientele.

The only possible drawback is the location -- for the record, we walked back to the hostel each night without incident. We recommend cabs because the entire area is still rebuilding and people inexperienced in diverse neighborhoods wouldn't be at ease. We trust people far more than empty buildings and met a lot of nice folks in the area during the day. At night, you have the streets and your thoughts completely to yourself, so gauge that against the cost of a cab ride back from Bourbon Street.

Exclusive Hostelz.com Review
July 2009

Photos taken by the Hostelz.com reviewer — Genuine photos you can trust.
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How is Joe & Flo's Olde Candelight Hostel rated on other websites?
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Not listed on Hostelworld.
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Not listed on HostelBookers.
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Not listed on HostelsClub.
Hostelz.com Guest Reviews
1   I look diseased because of this place I have bedbug bites all over my body. I work in food service so i will have to miss out on pay until they heal because they are all over my hands and up my arms. The staff is shifty, the place is full of grime and we got ripped off by the shuttle driver who caimed he could not make change for us when we gave him $40 for a $25 ride. This place is disgusting!  , Usa ()
1   BEDBUGS -- everywhere My daughter went to New Orleans for two weeks as a volunteer to help rebuild homes destroyed by Katrina. She was at Joe & Flo's until yesterday when bed bugs infiltrated her belongings and she woke up with bites marks & welts all over her body. The owner of the Hostel didn't seem that bothered and offered no help. She has since left the Hostel and the project. As she was leaving, 8 new people were checking in. This place should be shut down! They need to be reported to the Board of Health.  , USA ()
1   Do not go to this hostel i've stayed 2 nights there, booked for 4 nights. i coulnd't stay any longer at this hostel. I HAD BEDBUG BITES ALL OVER MY BODY. it was disgusting. those animals are very hard to get rid off. besides, everything was very dirty and old, i felt disgusting eating in that kitchen or even sleeping in those beds. please do not go there!!!! It destroyed my last traveling days.  , germany ()
1   Most disgusting accomodation ever I have never taken the time to write a review about a hostel/hotel, but my experience was so infuriating that I have to warn others! My husband and I checked in and checked out within eight hours. We did not even stay the night. The bathrooms were disgusting and my husband discovered that the sheets were filthy as we were getting ready for bed. It looked as though there were crumbs and dirt on the sheets. It was hard to miss. As soon as we saw that we decided to leave. In addition, we heard two prostitutes fighting mere inches from our window about who was the bigger "ho." The man who checked us in first gave us the key to someone else's room. We walked in and could have just stolen their belongings. Instead of putting up with these inconveniences, we chose to pay double to stay somewhere outside of New Orleans. It was that bad. Do not stay here!  , usa ()
1  This location does not have license and is operating illegally. It has not been reviewed or inspected for Fire and Life Safety Codes. It pays no taxes. Beware of illegal accommodations.  ()
1  As a rough estimate, I have spent nine months of my life in different hostels during various travels. This hostel is the worst place I have ever stayed. It is also the only hostel I know to charge money for toilet paper. In addition, the toilets are absolutely disgusting and there is, of course, no soap. There are huge cockroaches in the dorms, the staff is unfriendly, and it is relatively expensive to stay there. All of the above-mentioned would not normally trigger me to give a hostel the lowest rating possible. What makes the difference in the present case, however, is the fact that the beds are infested with bedbugs. If you are not familiar with this terrible pest, I can tell you that a bedbug is an apple seed-size insect that resides in the mattress or elsewhere in the bed and feeds on the blood of humans sleping in the bed. There may be hundreds or even thousands living in and by a bed, depending on whether or not measures are taken to reduce or eradicate the population. By staying in an infested bed, you furthermore run the risk of bringing the insects home to your own place. Bedbugs are apparently a big problem in North America at the moment and may be found in cheap hostels as well as more expensive hotels. It is possible to have a professional exterminator eradicate a colony, but it requires both money and much effort. I seriously doubt that this hostel is willing to spend neither of the two to solve the problem. Thus, the bedbugs are likely to stay at the hostel for a very long time. I left the hostel two days earlier than expected after discovering the bedbugs. I tried to get some money back for the two days, which, of course, was a fruitless effort. But I gladly paid the $50 just to get away from there. Do not stay at this hostel!  ()
4  I stayed in the hostel a few months ago for Mardi Gras, I thought it was very good value for money and clean enough. The neighborhood has a reputation for being scary but I thought it was one of the friendliest places I'd ever been to (I thought some other areas were worse, like certain places near the Garden District), and everyone greets you on the street with a "How you doin'?" It's just like being in a book, or even a video clip, since there seems to be music all around, especially during Mardi Gras.  ()
1  Upon arrival at this hostel we were so close to turning around and finding somewhere else. It is in a dodgy black neighborhood, and everyone we spoke to throughout our 8-day stay in New Orleans said that this hostel was in a "dicey" area (two different people used that exact word!). Basically, it's dodgy and if you are going to stay here you absolutely have to have the money for a cab unless of course you are gifted in Kung-fu or some other defensive art. As for the hostel itself, the employees made us feel fairly welcome and were fairly friendly, but that's about it. The room was disgusting, and there was a dead cockroach in the corridor. The bathrooms were gross (men's and women's—I was with my girlfriend so I can verify that) and in general this hostel SUCKED. You have to pay for toilet paper (what the hell?!). We have been travelling the US for one and a half months staying in many different hostels. This was by FAR the worst (not to mention the only one that charged for a bit of bog-roll). Also the springs in the mattress stab you in the back, so this was also my most physically uncomfortable nights sleep. Luckily we had only booked 2 nights so we got up at 7 a.m. to get out ASAP and find somewhere else. Don't stay here. It is expensive for what it is. The hostel slogan is "Hotel Comfort at Hostel Prices." Emma cleverly pointed out that this is the wrong way around.  ()

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