When I arrived in Byron Bay, it was already dark. The bus driver gave us a quick tour of town and dropped us off at our accommodations. I checked in to Holiday Village Backpackers, one of the Oz Experience-recommended hostels, and paid for three nights to get a discount on the daily rate. I should’ve known that there would be a catch.
Upon check in, I was asked to give them a $20 key deposit and a $20 top sheet deposit. They also required a $1 deposit for every dish or utensil you wanted to use. This was the first time I’d heard of any hostel being so stingy. Usually all the dishes and utensils are in the kitchen for anyone to use and all the linen is included. I decided to use my sleeping bag as a top sheet/blanket and my own containers for dishes rather than pay the deposits.
Another issue I had with Holiday Village was the noise. While it is located right across from a backpackers’ pub called Cheeky Monkey’s, the bar is not what keeps you up at night. It’s the ruckus coming from right outside your room! Loud music, drinking games and just general rowdiness goes on till late in the night. Most of the time, the staff can be found right in the mix. They are also backpackers and usually work for accommodation rather than being paid staff.
In addition to the noisiness, the rooms and bathrooms are filthy. I believe I had my first encounter with bed bugs at this establishment. After one night here, I woke to find that I had three small bites on my right calf. My first thought was that they were from mosquitoes, because I had seen a few flying about. However, after leaving Byron Bay I learned that bed bugs bite you in a line and mosquitoes bite you in random places. I didn’t check the bedding while I was at Holiday Village, but I’m pretty sure those little buggers were living there. Luckily, I didn’t get any more bites.
I would not recommend staying at Holiday Village, even if you are the type of person who likes a good party. There are many other places in Byron Bay that probably offer cleaner and quieter rooms. You can always come over to Cheeky Monkey’s or Holiday Village to have a good time. If you stay elsewhere, at least you’ll know that you’ll be able to have a clean, quiet place to sleep your hangover away.