Grab a cuppa, and prepare to dive into the famous Arts Factory Lodge, an internationally known backpackers hostel in Byron Bay, Australia. If you’re looking for information on Byron Bay itself, check out my post on Byron Bay, and then scoot back over here for a chat, if you’re considering booking up here.
Arts Factory Lodge: Important Info
Room: Cube Double – Paid $100 per night
Length of Stay: 4 nights
If you’re new let me say hello to you, my name is Vanessa and I go on the hunt for hotels/hostels with a quirk; something unique and unusual, and then give you the low-down on if it works.
If you’re a backpacker, then you probably know about Arts Factory, if not, go watch the Inbetweeners 2. It gives a…unique interpretation of this hostel as a bit of a hippy sex fest. I can tell you right now, it’s not quite that.
Let’s start with the good…
Arts Factory Lodge is one hell of a site. There’s a field for BYO tents, a range of teepee sizes to get a bed in, permenant tents beside a small lake (which smells but whatever), and indoor forms and double rooms. We stayed in an indoor double room, which turned out to be a wise idea as there was a three day storm, and everyone in tents ended up congregating in the communal areas for shelter, as their stuff was destroyed.
The indoor rooms were OK, the double and triple rooms had a private fridge in, which was handy for being on a budget. Showers and toilets, also spot on.
Being such an established hostel they have their own travel desk, which you can book tours anywhere on the East Coast from, and they can help you book further accommodation. Unlike many hostels, this one is geared up to keeping you entertained, with plenty of things that you can do, like yoga, or making a didgeridoo, as part of their daily activities. Bike rental is also very well priced, and great to do to see how beautiful Byron Bay is beyond the shops.
It’s not only humans that apparently enjoy staying at Arts Factory Lodge, there are plenty of animals that you’ll see running around, including the world’s most laid back cockatoo, which likes to fit on the tables outside with groups of people. You can even stroke it.
Unfortunately, I’m struggling to think of much else to say in terms of Arts Factory Lodge being a good place to stay.
So without further ado, the bad…
Did I have a decent nights sleep while I was here? HA, no. I know it’s a hostel, I know it’ll be loud, but let me just clear something up. If a hostel has put rules into place, such as ‘absolutely no noise after 11pm’, or ‘no smoking’, I’d expect that. If a hostel said ‘okay, this is a party hostel, noise 24/7’, then yeah sure.
Despite having a private room, I was woken up every half an hour or so, and not getting to sleep until after 2pm. The noise, horrendous. One day, I actually ended up napping around 12pm while people had gone out, which isn’t ideal if you want to go out and explore.
One of my major problems was the kitchen. It’s overcrowded, and I can see why rooms have their own fridges as you haven’t got a chance in hell at finding a space in the main fridges. After two days, I stopped using the kitchen all together; I noticed that the staff tended to smoke in the kitchen, and you could never get to a hob because of topless men cooking for hours on end. I felt judged when I cooked myself a plain pasta dish, like how does that happen in a hostel?
I brought this issues to management, who said that they were having a long term problem with getting staff that actually cared about the business, which you can 100% tell. The check in girls were nice however, so I’m not tarnishing everyone with the same brush.
Arts Factory Lodge seems to attract certain types of people; hippy, dread-locked, bongo players who can be very cold towards you. This was the only hostel that I didn’t make a single friend at. Drugs also seemed to play a big problem here, which made me feel a bit uneasy.
Would I recommend my readers to stay at Arts Factory Lodge? No.
Yes, it is unique and you will never have another experience like it. Teepees could be fun with a group of mates, but if it’s just you or if you’re a couple, then look into Aquarius Backpackers or Backpackers Inn on the Beach instead. Don’t just take my word for it, TripAdvisor reviews are much more in favor for those too.