Blackcurrant Backpackers is a friendly and pleasant hostel. The building's design encourages guests to sit outside together and socialize.
Blackcurrant is only a few blocks from the Intercity bus stop, though it's easy to get turned around and walk the wrong way. By car, it's an equally easy turn off Spa Road. Look for the Pak 'N' Save and a "The Warehouse" store -- Blackcurrant is across the street from "The Warehouse" and one block from the Pak 'N' Save. The bad part of all this accessibility is that the traffic noise is terrible. Cars, trucks, and motorcycles are always roaring by.
Rooms and Bathrooms
Unusually, Blackcurrant Backpackers has the design of a motor court motel -- think Motel 6 or Econo-Lodge. All the rooms have two entrances, a front entrance from the parking lot and a back entrance with sliding glass door. Only the back entrances are in general use, though, because the traffic noise is so bad near the front. Some people with cars put up with the noise long enough to bring their luggage in by the front door.
All rooms are ensuite, with a full-sized bathroom and a nice, large shower. Each main room is large enough for two double beds; in the dorms, this space is filled by four non-bunked twin beds. Private rooms (single and doubles) have their own refrigerators. The rooms have many electrical outlets, and the Global Gossip Wi-Fi works in most if not all rooms. Three kiosked computers are also available.
The downside of the sliding glass doors is that room temperature fluctuates widely. Rooms can be cold at night, but hot in mid-afternoon when the sun shines in. All rooms have heated mattress pads, and a space heater is available. There's no air-conditioning, so most guests leave their windows and even their doors open during the day in summer.
Rooms are in two buildings separated by a garden, with trees and picnic tables. During daylight hours, at least while we were there (in February), most guests preferred to sit in the garden or on the deck outside the kitchen. There is quite a lot of chatter and noise from suppertime until 10 or 11 p.m., but after that things quiet down.
Besides the garden, there is a small lounge next to the kitchen and a larger lounge (the DVD lounge) downstairs. The DVD lounge has a large television, though it apparently does not receive broadcasts. People who want to talk and make noise after 11 p.m. are asked to go inside to the DVD lounge.
The kitchen is well-equipped and has herbs and spices, but one of the gas burners is acting up and the oven door has to be held shut. The kitchen closes at 10 but those who want to use it at other times can request a key from reception.
Blackcurrant Backpackers is an excellent value for money, and if the traffic noise weren't so bad it would be truly exceptional. We enjoyed our stay.