Interviewing Canadas Hostels: HI Penticton

Number five Com Padres! I’m excited to still be working on this series of posts. Surprised it’s come this far. Once again, HI Canada pulled through with this interview. This time we’re taking a sneak peak at HI Penticton Hostel, which is located in the beautiful city of Penticton, British Columbia. Lisa Grey-Dreaper was kind enough to answer some questions, so let’s get started!

Q: How long have you been operating your hostel?

A: I started working at the front desk in 1995, became Manager in 2004. In my 15th year at HI-Penticton. (wow)

Q: Tell us about your hostel?

A: The hostel sleeps 52 people in total. There are fourteen rooms – three of the rooms are larger dorms and sleep six people, one room, ideal for families, sleeps five, three of the rooms sleep four people, three rooms sleep three people and four of our rooms sleep two. There is a large self-catering kitchen for guests, dining room, coin-operated laundry facilities, a quiet living room and separate TV area. The backyard features a covered patio with a barbecue – a great place to unwind each day. There is also free on-site parking.

Q: Does your hostel offer any activities or help book tours for it’s guests?

A: Yes. We work closely with local tour operators and can book a tour at a moment’s notice for our guests. Most of the time the tour operators will pick up guests at our front door.

Q: What is your favourite activity / tour that your hostel offers, and why?

A: Hard to nail it down to one favourite. Our Hockey Night In Penticton runs October – March and has always been a huge success, despite the fact that is traditionally our off season. The Kettle Valley Railway / Trans Canada Trail clean-ups in the Spring are very successful. Wine tours (April-October) are always a hit; wine, beautiful scenery and sunshine! How can it not be?!

Q: Tell us about the area your hostel resides in?

A: Penticton is located in the heart of the Okanagan Valley in a semi-arid desert setting and is nestled between two lakes. The shores of Okanagan Lake line the north end of the city, while Skaha Lake borders the south end.  One side of the valley is lush and lined with orchards full of fresh fruit during the summer months. The opposite side is dryer and perfect for vineyards that produce the grapes to supply the vast number of wineries in the area with the necessary product needed to produce award-winning and world-renowned wines. We are fortunate to experience all four seasons in Penticton. In the winter Apex Mountain is the place to be. A 30-minute drive west will take you to the mountain with 1112 skiable acres, a high-speed quad chair taking you to 7200ft, and 58 runs to pamper and challenge all levels. Apex is a world class mountain without the pretentious attitude or outrageous costs of most ski areas. In the Spring and Fall the Skaha Climbing Bluffs (this area was recently designated as a Provincial Park) offers world class climbing and breathtaking views. I am only scraping the surface mentioning this stuff; the opportunities, terrain and scenery surrounding Penticton are vast and varied.

Q: Do you offer work for backpackers?

A: No. BUT we can assist those looking for work in orchards and vineyards in connecting with the right people.

Q: Are there any special promotions you’re currently running or have run in the past?

A: We offer multi-day discounted rates year round, free BBQs in the summer and fantastic service all the time!

Q: How much does it cost for:

A: Dorm: from $20.00/night
Double: from $52.50/night
Other: Multi-day discounts are available in shared (dorm) rooms.

Your hostels website: HI-Penticton
Your hostels Twitter page: @hostelscanada

I’ve been to Penticton several times, this part of Canada is one of those unique places where you have to see it to believe it. When most people think of deserts, the last place they think is Canada. Warm weather, wine, and some beautiful beaches and water… can’t get much better than that. Penticton’s a superb place to hangout in the summer, be sure to check out the Penticton River Channel for some serious floating tube action. Big thanks to Lisa for taking the time to tell us about HI-Penticton. Don’t forget to subscribe to i Backpack Canada for more interviews and sneak peaks into life in Canada’s hostels.

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