Kiwi International Queen Street Hotel & Hostel is a huge maze of a building, which doubles as a hostel and hotel and is on the airport bus's route so is incredibly convenient for new arrivals
The hostel is at the top end of Queen Street, very close to the corner of K'Rd. K'Rd used to be the happening place but it's now the Viaduct, which is at the opposite end of Queen Street -- about a twenty-minute walk. And regardless of the night life, going into town is a breeze but coming back is a pain, as you have to climb a long, steep hill to reach the hostel. The location for bus routes is excellent.
Rooms and Bathrooms
There's only two dorm rooms -- one for girls and one for guys (both with eight people). There are no mixed dorms. They're kept clean and aren't too squashed. The beds are comfy and the linen seems new. There aren't lockers for each person but communal cupboards, which could work on a first come, first serve basis or all share basis, depending who you're sharing with. If your roommates are untidy creatures whose bags explode open on arrival, then this will make the room a little squashy. The other rooms they offer are singles and doubles, which have plenty of cupboard space. The security is great -- you can't get into any room without a key and to enter the building you need to pass reception and they're quite astute as to who belongs.
The girls' dorm has an ensuite bathroom so eight girls share this -- it's spacious and clean and very convenient. The boys' and the private rooms without ensuite share the communal bathrooms, which are average (just a stall with some hooks).
The large kitchen has all the necessary equipment and there are enough fridges for everyone's food. This is on the first floor and isn't really a socialising area as it's closed at 11 p.m. in consideration to the bedrooms nearby. There's also a laundry with washer, dryer, and iron, which is very handy as laundromats aren't very common. Downstairs is a very large, open-plan socialising area which encompasses the lounge/TV room, a bar, a dining room, and the hostel's travel desk, which also has a large book exchange. Just off here is a games room with a pool table and dart board. This area has a lot of potential, but in winter it's rather quiet and the area seems a bit too big.
As the hostel is also a hotel, it's run rather strictly and doesn't quite have the relaxed, party hostel atmosphere. As it's cheaper than most of the others (and probably quieter), a lot of people live here long-term so if you stay for a while and get to know the long-timers it can begin to feel like a home.
A free luggage storage is offered and this is in a locked room, not just a pile of bags around the corner. They also offer the use of a safe for valuables where special tamper-proof bags are used, so you know that your valuables are 100% safe, which is a nice change.
The hostel is clean, secure, and run efficiently. It lacks a vibey hostel atmosphere but is good for a long stay, especially if you're working and looking for a permanent place to live.
Update: We have been informed by the owner that this is no longer a hostel and now just operates as a hotel with only private rooms.