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Your Ultimate Guide to the Best Whistler Hostels

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How to Pick the Best Whistler Hostel?

Since Whistler is so expensive staying at a hostel is a wise choice, especially since all the Whistler hostels are fantastic.

But how to pick the best one? You don’t want to spoil your Whistler trip by staying at the wrong place. You hostel should be one of the highlights of your trip.

That’s why we visited every hostel, analyzed every review, and made you this ultimate guide.

Overview

Read This First

Before reading all you need to know about each of the Whistler hostels, take note of this important general info:

  • There are no hostels in Whistler Village (Whistler’s “downtown”). 
  • Buses are convenient. At least reasonably so. They run regularly from 5am to 3am, cost $2.50 each way, and are equipped for your gear. You can find fares and schedules here.
  • Book early! Hostels in Whistler regularly sell out. So book early to avoid disappointment.
  • Book directly! You’re guaranteed to get the best and most flexible rate, especially if you ask (add link here).
  • There are no party hostels. Socializing and sharing beers with fellow guests is encouraged, but drunken rowdiness is guaranteed to get you booted from every hostel in Whistler.
  • Free parking and WiFi are available at all hostels.

If any of the above is a deal breaker, you can find cheap alternatives to hostels here: 5 Cheap Whistler Accommodation Options Booking.com Doesn’t Want You to See.

Now time to pick your hostel!

Whistler Hostels in 30 Characters Or Less

Map

Side-by-Side Comparison

(Table last updated 2017)

Whistler hostels side-by-side comparison


Hostel Info

Here’s info on each of the six Whistler hostels, why you should (and should not) stay at each, plus tips and links for booking on their websites!


Whistler Lodge Hostel

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Photos from http://whistlerlodgehostel.com/

About:

Previously owned (and under-managed) by the University of British Columbia, in 2015 a local couple rescued this historical chalet from demolition and put major work into fixing it up. Now, while the skeleton keeps its rustic tradition, the guts are pretty much brand new, and the place is run very professionally.

Why Stay There?

  • Great atmosphere: The Whistler Lodge Hostel is the most popular of the Whistler hostels and past guests frequently leave reviews praising the welcoming environment. So if you’re a solo traveler looking to meet others, this is a great bet.
  • Comfy beds: Many reviewers comment on the comfortable beds and linens.
  • Helpful & friendly staff: Many reviewers make a point to thank the exceptionally friendly and helpful staff.
  • Chalet life: Nestled in the trees, with a beautiful lounge area, and a hot tub and sauna (Nov-Apr only), the Whistler Lodge Hostel is an affordable way to experience Whistler chalet life.

Why Not Stay There? 

  • No doors: Dorm “rooms” aren’t actually rooms. The unusual layout is like a hallway with inlets of 2-4 bunks to either side and no doors separating these inlets from the hallway. This can make it difficult to change in privacy, and means noise travels more.
  • It’s a hike: It’s a 6-10 minute uphill walk from the bus stop to the hostel. You’ll be doing this walk a lot.
  • Inconvenient lockers: Lockers for your bag are inconveniently on a separate floor from your bed.
  • No private rooms: There is one private room and it’s overpriced. If you’re looking for a budget private room with shared bath, check out the HI-Whistler, Fireside Lodge, or Squamish Adventure Inn.

Tip

  • Ask for a top bunk. You’ll be able to sit up on the top bunk, but not the bottom bunk, which has quite restricted headroom.

Check Out Whistler Lodge Hostel’s Website


Hostelling International Whistler

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Photos from www.hihostels.ca/westerncanada/331/HI-Whistler

About:

The HI Whistler is by far the biggest hostel in Whistler. It was first used as an athletes’ residence for the 2010 Winter Olympics, then opened as a hostel after the games. This Hostelling International-owned property was built specifically to be a hostel, so it meets every conceivable need for a budget traveler or backpacker.

Why Stay There?

  • Nature access: Unlike the other Whistler hostels it’s at the doorstep of multiple hiking and mountain biking trails.
  • Like a modern hotel: While it is without a doubt a hostel, many reviewers appreciate that if feels like a nice, modern hotel.
  • Spacious: The rooms and common areas are luxuriously spacious. 
  • Activities: The HI-Whistler organizes multiple daily group activities in and around the Whistler area, like group hikes and pub crawls. No other hostel in Whistler does so.
  • Cafe: Breakfast is not included, but many reviewers have good things to say about the cafe downstairs by the reception. They even sell alcoholic drinks (not for breakfast :)).

Why Not Stay There? 

  • Location: The hostel is located outside of town in Function Junction. Most shops and restaurants are 8 km away in the Village. The bus, however, runs regularly at all hours and the stop is conveniently right in front of the hostel, so many past guests report that the location issues are overstated.
  • Bad WiFi: The biggest complaint by reviewers. WiFi in the rooms especially is patchy and unreliable.
  • Hit and miss fellow guests: The HI-Whistler tends to accommodate more long-term guests and large groups, who are generally less friendly and disproportionately occupy the common areas—especially the kitchen. That said, it’s a big hostel and there’ll be plenty of smaller groups and solo travellers too.

Tip

  • Ask for a room facing the back (best views) and further from the stairwell because the walls are thin and sound from the stairwell can be a nuisance for light sleepers.

Check Out HI Whistler’s Website


Fireside Lodge

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Photos from TravisSimmsPhotography.com and Fireside Lodge

About:

The Fireside Lodge isn’t a typical a hostel. It’s a member-owned co-op. This means many people staying there aren’t travellers, but member-owners from the Vancouver area who come up regularly to ski. To support the finances of the operation and fill beds, the Fireside Lodge rents out extra beds to the public.

Why Stay There?

  • Quiet: The Fireside Lodge is super low-key. It is your best bet if you want to seize the day, get outside, then come back, make a meal and then rest up for the next day.
  • Value private rooms: You won’t find a better deal for private rooms in Whistler.
  • The kitchen: It’s huge, newly updated, and well equipped. Past guests rave about it.
  • Games room: The games room has pool, ping pong, foosball and darts. Especially if you’re travelling with others, this is good fun.

Why Not Stay There?

  • Quiet: Don’t expect to have a typical, social hostel experience and meet many other travellers.
  • It’s a hike: It’s a 6-10 minute uphill walk from the bus stop to the hostel. You’ll be doing this walk a lot.
  • Thin walls: A few past guests mention that the walls are so thin you can hear conversations going on in adjacent rooms.

Check Out Fireside Lodge’s Website


Alpine Lodge Hostel

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Photos from www.alpinelodge.com

About:

The Alpine Lodge Hostel is a Whistler institution. Its very knowledgable owner, Geoff, has been running it for over 25 years. Similar to the Fireside Lodge and Whistler Lodge hostels, it is a large chalet-style building with a beautiful common area that has a log cabin feel.

Why Stay There?

  • Social atmosphere: The beautiful main room, highlighted by its massive oak dining table, creates a friendly environment and eases interaction with other guests.
  • Knowledgable owner: Geoff knows Whistler better than anyone at any other hostel and is happy to share his wisdom.
  • Breakfast: The breakfast is very basic (an egg, some juice, and toast), but it’s definitely better than nothing, which is what the other Whistler hostels offer.

Why Not Stay There? 

  • Tiny kitchen: It’s the size of the kitchen in a small apartment.
  • Old-style dorms: The beds are solid and comfortable, but they aren’t as well equipped with individual plugs and lights as the more modern hostels are. Lockers are small too.

Southside Lodge Hostel

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Photos from www.snowboardwhistler.com/southside/

About:

The Southside Lodge Hostel, in Whistler’s Creekside, is the only Whistler hostel located within easy walking distance of the ski hill. It’s also the smallest and has the most basic amenities of all Whistler hostels.

Why Stay There?

  • Location: It’s only a few hundred meters from Whistler Mountain’s Creekside Gondola, and across the highway from a supermarket, gas station, restaurants, and bars. It’s also right across the street from the Greyhound bus stop.
  • Intimate: There is no common area aside from the kitchen, where guests congregate. And since it is a small property, this makes it easy to get to know your fellow guests.
  • The Southside Diner: Conveniently downstairs, this is Whistler’s best diner. Southside Lodge guests get discounts.

Why Not Stay There? 

  • Basic: As already mentioned, there is no common area, and in general the place is more basic and dated than other Whistler hostels.
  • Lacking amenities: Many past guests comment that they wish there were lockers for their skis and boards (instead of having to bring them into their rooms) and no place to dry their wet clothes.

Tip

  • For less noise, ask for rooms furthest from the kitchen

Squamish Adventure Inn

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About:

The Adventure Inn is a friendly, well-run hostel that opened in 2016. It’s in “Whistler’s Little Sister”, the outdoor adventure mecca of Squamish, which is 40 minutes away by shuttle (which the hostel runs daily), bus, or carshare.

Why Stay There?

  • Price: Squamish is significantly cheaper than Whistler. Here’s proof: Side-by-Side Squamish vs Whistler Travel Costs
  • Atmosphere: The Squamish Adventure Inn puts in a lot of effort to create a friendly community, with lots of volunteer staff organizing regular hostel activities like pizza night, movie nights, potlucks, hikes, and other outings.
  • Helpful & friendly staff: Many reviewers make a point to thank the exceptionally friendly and helpful staff.
  • Unique experiences: Squamish is less touristy than Whistler and offers unlimited off-the-beaten path adventures, from sea to sky.
  • Whistler’s full: Often when there’s a big event in Whistler everything in town is sold out. Squamish is close enough to be a good backup plan.

Why Not Stay There? 

  • It’s not Whistler: It’s much farther from the mountain and town centre, so if you’re dead-set on staying in Whistler and partying in the Village, this is not the best choice for you.
  • Highway noise: Half of the rooms are on the highway side of the building. Light-sleeping past guests have complained about the resulting noise.
  • Less chalet-like: The Adventure Inn’s small fireplace lounge is tiny in comparison to those of the Alpine Lodge, Whistler Lodge Hostel, and Fireside Lodge.
  • Stinky climbers: In the summer the hostel is full of climbers, and past guests have complained on reviews that their gear leaves a less-than-desirable odour in the dorm rooms. Other than that, climbers are nice though.
  • Unreliable WiFi: In the corner rooms it is spotty and in general it is not great for streaming movies, especially during peak periods.
  • Hot: In the (rare) hot days of summer, past guests report the rooms can get uncomfortably hot because there is no air conditioning.

Tip

  • Discount: When you check in, tell the receptionist you found out about the hostel through this post, and they’ll give you a 10% discount.

Enjoy Whistler!

Whichever of the Whistler hostels you choose, please help future travelers and share your experience in the comments. Also, let us know what we can add to this “Ultimate Guide to Whistler Hostels”.

And if none of the Whistler hostels here tickle your fancy, check our guide to other cheap accommodation options in Whistler.

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