I spent my first night in Cairns at a caravan park with my sister, but it was raining quite heavily so we decided that a hostel would be a better option. We called the Girls Hostel in the morning and booked for 2 nights into a double room.
Upon arrival, early afternoon, we were advised that in addition to a AUD20/person key deposit (fairly standard) we had to pay the 2 nights in cash only up front. We didn't have that much cash so we agreed to pay later that night. Then we were taken to our room--a small, dusty "storage closet" behind reception, essentially in the owner's house. We opened the cupboard to put our bags and they were crammed with linens and suitcases. We were surprised and disappointed and decided that we would stay the night and then move to a hostel where one of our friends was staying. When we advised Dawn, the owner, she refused and insisted that we would have to pay the full 2 nights, that there were no exceptions to the 48 hour cancellation policy and that she had turned away other travellers to accomodate us. We decided to let it go and set out for the day to explore.
Upon reflecting during the day, we decided that there was no reason to stay the second night under those conditions, we had never been advised of the cancellation policy and we had only reserved the same day so couldn't possibly have cancelled any sooner. When we advised Dawn of this that evening upon our return, her husband Alan overheard and wandered over to jump in. He was rude, loud and aggressive. He accused of us trying to take advantage of them, of leaving without paying, which we were not--we agreed to pay for the one night that we were planning to stay. He swore at us, called us "cheap backpackers" that were trying to swindle him. I really cannot stress enough how unacceptable this was to us, to be verbally abused by a man in a Girls hostel. We remained calm and tried to rationalize with them to no avail. We stayed the night, payed for the night and left first thing the next morning.
Besides that, the rest of the hostel was fairly clean and the kitchens were well-equiped. It was quiet, but the atmosphere was more morose than peaceful.
I am a travel professional and certainly understand the importance of respecting reservations and booking conditions but there was no reason for the owners to alienate us and mistreat us, and nowhere else in Australia did we encounter such a rigid policy. As travellers, we deserve to be treated as visitors and clients and not rats preying on our hosts
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- Also Known As:
- Girls Hotel
- Girls Hostel