Criterion Art Deco Backpackers, Napier

Hawke's Bay
306 Reviews
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Criterion Art Deco Backpackers Reviews

Last resort

Giving 1 star as cant go lower. Family room was tiny. My wife refused to get in the mattress on the ground as she read all the reviews about bedbugs. kitchen was average and the atmosphere was ordinary. We couldnt wait to get out. unfortunately ruined our stay in Napier. Only positives were location and water was hot.

Age 59 | Australia

4 Bed Family Unit.

We checked in on Saturday to the 4 bed family unit and were shown to our room. There was a hair on the pillow case, the sheets were crinkled, missing tap to cold water faucet, mould around hand basin in bathroom, room smelt, very old and tired, could definitely use some TLC, quite run down. This is not what we would class as a 4 bedroom family unit, very cramped. This accommodation is not suitable for anyone who has difficulty getting up two flights of stairs. When we explained why we would be moving, the owner was very understanding. The Manager happily refunded our money, all except the deposit and was very pleasant about this.

Age 40 | New Zealand

Criterion Art Deco Backpackers Inn is a party hostel. The whole ground floor is a bar, and -- at least on Saturday nights -- the very loud party doesn't stop until 5:15 a.m.

The Location

The Criterion is an original Art Deco building, part of Napier's historic district. As such, there's very little traffic noise (the street is largely a pedestrian mall). It's a four-block walk over flat ground from the bus station. If you're driving, there is a per-night parking charge.

Rooms and Bathrooms

The rooms and bathrooms have art deco trim, windows, and fittings. Private rooms have a washbasin and heater. Rooms are a reasonable size. One of the showers is a seated shower, though it is not fully accessible.

Common Spaces

There are two large, loud lounges in the center of the hostel. One is a TV lounge with a dining area behind it and the other has a pool table and two fireplaces. The kitchen, which connects the two lounges, is small, crowded, and poorly equipped. The owner keeps the gas off in the oven unless someone wants to use it -- and to use it, you must relight the burner inside the oven, with matches. Free continental breakfast is provided in the kitchen -- when we were there it included cereal and canned peaches. Few hostelers speak English, so there isn't much conversation or sociability. Wi-Fi internet access is adequate -- it worked in our room.


If you're drinking your way across New Zealand, you'll probably like the Criterion, as its bar seems very popular. If you're there for the Art Deco, try to stay on Sunday and Monday nights only, when the bar is closed.

Meredith Dixon

When staying in Napier, you must stay in style -- no better place than the Criterion Art Deco Backpackers Inn! As the name suggests, the hostel is housed in an Art Deco (or to be more precise, "Spanish Mission") building right in the heart of Napier (Emerson Street). Its central location is superb for those on foot (only a few minutes stroll to the Marine Parade and all shops and restaurants you might need just down the road). The Ocean Spa, Marineland, Aquarium, Visitor Centre, Art Deco Shop, and several of the important Art Deco buildings are within walking distance. As there is little traffic, there is hardly any noise either.

The hostel, transformed from a former posh hotel, is spacious and clean and has very comfortable lounges with inviting sofas, pool tables, secluded TV room, and dining room. The kitchen is large and well equipped, also well ventilated. The main lounge also has a narrow, long terrace overlooking the main street below -- the place to be to watch the parades at the annual Art Deco Weekend in February. The dormitories are large (usually six or eight beds in one room) with few other furnishings, except one chair and mirror. Bathroom and toilet facilities are clean and functional -- nothing special.

The hostel has a pay phone (also for incoming calls) and Internet access -- get a card from the reception, which is not always staffed, at least during the Art Deco Weekend. The Cri caf on the ground floor is a stylish bar/caf with good food and drink -- hostel guests get a 10% discount. It has a great atmosphere, especially in the evenings (there's often live music). All in all we can recommend this place enormously, for its charm, style, history, and superb location! For a big hostel, it is astonishingly cosy!

Angharad Gabriel

This hostel is located in the town centre and has a bar downstairs, which offers meal deals. The facilities are fine, with several large communal areas, although I found a lack of atmosphere.


This is definitely one of the best hostels in the world. This art deco style hostel is immaculately furnished, and has a really authentic 30's feel. The rooms are great, the people are nice, and Napier has to be one of the coolest places in New Zealand.


Seriously, this is one of the nicest hostels in the world. I especially like the little touches, like the fact that they give you earplugs if you're in a noisy room.



Location and Contact




Address: 48 Emerson Street, The Criterion Art Deco Backapckers, Hawke's Bay, Napier, New Zealand

Criterion Art Deco Backpackers is listed on the following booking sites:

Hostelworld Not listed at Not listed at HostelsClub


Website Criterion Art Deco Backpackers Napier (if you know the URL of their website, let us know and we'll add it)
Phone Number: +6468352370
To add or correct information for this listing, please use the Listing Correction Form.

Facilities and Amenities

Family-Friendly Hostel

Solo Traveller



Wi-Fi in Lobby/Commons

Lockers in Lobby

Luggage Storage


24 Hour Security

Air Conditioning

BBQ Grill


Cable TV

Credit Card Payments

Entirely Non-Smoking

Evening Entertainment



Gym/Fitness Room

Hot Showers



Lounge Area

Movie Library/Rental

Pool Table

Table Tennis

Curfew: No Curfew

Reception Hours: 24 Hours


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