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The Urban Retreat Hostel - Big White

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Hostelz.com's Review
The Urban Retreat Hostel - Big White is perfect for anyone looking to stay in the heart of the Big White Mountain Village on a budget during the winter season.

The Location

The hostel is located just a couple of minutes' walk from the main Big White Village, where you can find restaurants, bars, and shops. The accommodation is also just a few minutes’ walk away from access to the chairlifts and you can ski back to the hostel. There are a couple of overnight parking spots in front of the hostel and a minutes’ walk up from the hostel -- these will cost you, but the price is apparently the same throughout the whole resort, according to the hostel (according to Big White, parking is free). There is a shuttle that runs daily from Kelowna Airport right to the door of the hostel and there is shuttle from Kelowna that leaves only on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and on holidays.

Rooms and Bathrooms

You have the option of staying in dorm or private rooms -- the four- to eight-bed dorm rooms are divided into girls only, mixed, weekly-stay, and season-long stay. All of the dorms come with lockers in the room to store your belongings and boot trays to place those snowy boots. The dorm rooms are brightly painted and some have also been painted by local artists; all the windows also have different flags for curtains, which add a great international feel but don’t really function well. The private rooms come with a bunk that has a double on the bottom and single bed on top and has a small kitchenette, but the room only has one power point, which is not near the kitchenette. The rooms also have no way to control the heat so it was freezing during our stay as the heater seems to be off in the room in the middle of winter.

There are single-sex bathrooms with a few showers and toilets on each floor. The showers do not really have anywhere to change or hang your clothes, though, and one of the toilets doesn’t lock. As the hostel is set up on a long, straight corridor and toilets are at opposite ends, it feels like a long walk to the other end.

Common Spaces

The hostel gives you access to a big kitchen with several different cooking stations as well as a large TV room that can fit thirty people. There is a free computer station (it was out of action during our stay) and free Wi-Fi throughout the hostel. There is a ski locker to store your skis and snowboards as well as a waxing station. A coin-operated laundry is also provided. The hostel does have some long-term stayers, so it can get a little noisy and rowdy at night, but the decorating is well thought out.


This is the only hostel on the mountain, so if you are on a budget, this is the place to be -- you couldn’t find a more central location at such a great price.

by keppers
Hostelz.com Staff Reviewer
January 2013

Photos taken by the Hostelz.com reviewer — Genuine photos you can trust.
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Hostelz.com Guest Reviews
4   Would stay again, great location. If you're going to ski seriously then I'd recommend a private room or you're going to be regularly woken up by drunk kook snowboarders in the wee hours. Location is great and facilities adequate for the price tag. Regular loud foul language is a feature in the common areas from both staff and guests so if you're precious or traveling with kids you might want to go elsewhere. All in all good but falls short of great by a fair stretch.  , age 39, Australia ()
3   Would stay again Stayed in a 10 share. Really laid-back. Good atmosphere, good location, good people. Probably could be cleaner, and the showers were awkward.  , age 19, Australia ()
3   Not that great -- but where else are you going to go? The hostel itself resembles a concrete barracks inside, the hot tub is kinda skanky, and the common room is more like the staffs own party zone but you're not here for the atmosphere. You're here for the snowboarding, and for this the location can't be beat. The staff are indifferent at best; they act like this place is their own private clubhouse and the guests are a nuisance to be put up with. Expect a lot of exasperated sighs, groans, and glares (unless you're Australian). I've stayed here a few times over various name and/or management changes, and I'll probably stay here again. Each time it gets a little worse, but where else are you going to go? A good place to hit the slopes from, but that's about it.  , Canada ()
4  I stayed in this hostel last March. At the time, they were combining the two hostels into one. I shared a dorm room with my friend. The location can't be beat! It's a ski in/ski out hostel, literally. The room we stayed in had a TV and bunk beds. It was clean and reasonably comfortable. During our visit, one of the two computers were not working. The hot tub was non-existant (I believe it was still at the other hostel.) The pancake breakfast was also not an option, unless we hiked back up to the old hostel that was being torn down. We made the mistake of doing that the first day, only to find a box of pancake mix on the counter. No syrup or any other food or beverage product anywhere in the kitchen! We got smart after that and stocked up on our own food supplies, which we were able to keep in our room, which featured a mini-kitchen. All in all, not bad. I'm going to assume that things have improved since our stay, as both hostels are now one. The staff was friendly and helpful, which I find to be almost as important as cleanliness and a good mattress!  ()
5  The rooms are newly rennovated: hardwood floors, new bunks, mini fridges. It almost felt like home. Very large building. And you can actually ski right in!!  ()
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