HI - YHA Paihia Hostel - Lodge Eleven Hostel is clean, quiet, and well located. What it lacks in character can be easily found down the street if you are so inclined.
Centrally located, this hostel is a hundred meters from the beach, and just down the street from several bars. There is limited on-site and on-the-street parking, and most buses will drop off out front. A ten-minute walk will take you downtown or to the pier. The grocery store is a thirty-minute walk, so it's best to stock up before you arrive. While the street lends itself to the party vibe, you can rest assured that a quiet evening is waiting for you at YHA Paihia.
Rooms and Bathrooms
Rooms are quite small with bunk beds in the dorm rooms. The lack of floor space is more than made up for by the high ceilings and the glass sliding doors opening to a wooden deck. Bedspread is clean and lively. Each dorm room has its own en suite bathroom with a (small) sink, toilet, and shower. Rooms appear tidy and are cleaned daily, with fresh linen provided on check-in. Some guests have experienced bedbugs, but it seems to be hit or miss.
There is a small internet lounge on the ground level with computers and a VHS, but neither gets much use. Internet is free for YHA members, and at about-average prices for everyone else. While the weather is good, most of the focus is on the ample outdoor covered space, and the BBQ area. Most of the hostel is nonsmoking, but there is a small smoking area available outdoors.
The kitchen area is well equipped, with more stove burners then elbow room. There is plenty of fridge space even when the hostel is fully booked. It can become quite crowded during mealtimes with completion for two sinks. Indoor seating is at a premium.
While an address on party street may suggest otherwise, this is not a party hostel. Many of the clientele are of the older variety (think fifty-plus) and even some families with young children in tow. As a result, the place usually shuts down by around 9:30 p.m. There is some street noise which can be distracting on Friday and Saturday nights, from the more rowdy establishments down the street.
The reception desk will book tours for no charge but will not provide advice or support on anything they feel will compete with their business (think campervans for sale, or advice on non-YHA hostels). Please note that this is not an official YHA policy, and seems to be unique to this location. However, this does not detract from the hostel being a well-run establishment fitting of the YHA name.