HI Hostel - Calgary, Canada
The HI hostel in Calgary is quite possibly the worst hostel I have ever stayed in. This review does not come from one bad night either. I spent a number of weeks there over a 3 month period while I was travelling here and there, and it was a consistent bad performer.
Firstly, the staff are a real hit and miss affair. Of all the staff I dealt with, there was one nice dude, a few that were ok, and the rest were just complete assholes. One guy really let me have it for not booking ahead....when they were almost empty. Another dude said I couldn't change which bed I was sleeping in...when there were 6 empty beds in my dorm! People got reprimanded for causing smoke in the kitchen...when the exhaust fans didn't work. The list could go on and on.
Next, the building is located in the homeless quarters of Calgary - ie. the ghetto. While it's not particularly dangerous, it's not exactly pleasant to see people using the garden beside the hostel as a bathroom.
Lastly, the majority of the people staying at the hostel are either long term locals that think they own the place, or homeless dudes treating themselves to a night in a bed. This gives the place a depressing atmosphere, and an unpleasant odour to boot. It's certainly not the young, happy, enthusiastic, fun type of hostel that you'd find in Europe or South America.
But, as it's the only hostel in Calgary, you have no choice but to stay there. I would suggest skipping Calgary all together and heading straight to the Rockies.