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“Kitchen Confusion”

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The Arts Factory Backpackers Lodge
Reviewed 22 September 2016

Don’t you hate it when you can find no clean plates, cooking pots or cutlery in the communal kitchen? When the FEW things of use are lying unwashed in the blocked sinks, along with a whole bunch of food scraps? When there is such a lack of space on the food storage shelves and in the communal fridge that you have to jam your stuff into already occupied places, increasing the likelihood of someone interfering with your supplies? (and someone did indeed pilfer my supplies).
Well that was the scene facing me when I went to cook an early dinner on arrival at Arts Factory. I managed to dredge up and wash some plates, a cooking pot and some cutlery, but I never did find a bottle opener or a cup. And both tea towels (only 2 in a very busy kitchen) were so used and wet as to be a health hazard.
When I went down to reception to enquir, they told me I could hire most of those things by surrendering a photo ID or pay a small fee.
Confusion rules trendsetters - why didn’t they tell me that when I checked in about 20 minutes prior? And the longish lines at reception persuade you to hang on to your stuff for the duration of stay – but no bag or container is given to make carting them to and from your dorm easy and less prone to dropping.
More confusion – the hire thing is obviously intended to ensure people wash up their stuff before handing back – but where did the unwashed stuff in the sinks come from?

While I’m in a picky mood I’ll mention A FEW OTHER PROBLEMS:
- the 6 slot bike rack was surrounded with bossy signs forbidding locking of bikes to fence posts or other nearby structures. Only trouble: there were about 30 bikes. For 6 slots.
- the website’s “short walk” from my “WRECK” dorm to the bathrooms didn’t seem all that short in the rain.
- the double bunks in my dorm were pretty comfy but a bit rickety if you had a restless sleeper above or below. Thin pillows but I doubled mine. Soft.
- the Wreck Dorm is close to a boundary, the other side of which is a restaurant/bar with live music. Loud but not EXTREMELY loud llke a Thai full moon party. People wanting an early night who are noise sensitive maybe should pick another sleeping option. Other Arts Factory choices are further from the venue – I don’t think they would suffer adversely.
- Arts factory is not exactly close to town or the beach with 15 and 20 minute walks respectively. A regular shuttle bus makes the run but its timing may not suite your wants. The shuttle picks up from the intercity bus stop.
- reception is not big enough to handle the number of guests a lot of the time.

CAN I SAY SOME NICE THINGS? WELL SURE.
- VARIETY: Arts Factory has a way bigger variety of accommodation than the other 5 Byron Bay backpackers I’ve stayed at. Besides the traditional dorms there are a variety of tepee like tents, some nice cabana type things around the lake, a couple of other big detached dorms like The Wreck, a detached house for women only and a sizable camping area (with its own camp kitchen, thank God because the place was packed on this first weekend of the QL school holidays).
There was also a big variety of guests, not just predominately overseas visitors. Seems this place is big with mature age travelers and plenty of young Aussies. The latter seemed to be weekending surfers from Brisbane and a scattering of new-agers (some retro hippies trying to recapture the good old days, Back in the 80s Byron was a hippie hot-bed with the Arts Factory a ground zero. But apart from one lady offering Card Readings, Massage, Reiki, Theta, Meditation, yada I didn’t see any of the stuff I noted on passes-by in the good ol’ days – what’s happened to the arty stuff, hair braiding, face painting, chakras and reedy music?)
- NICE SETTING. This place is right on the rural fringe of town and has more of a bush than urban setting. Lots of trees, a nice (artificial?) lake, plenty of bird life.
- REASONABLE CONDITION AND CLEANLINESS. This is a very busy hostel but things seemed to be in fairly good repair and not dirty.
- ADJACENT MOVIE JOINT. Right next door is PIGHOUSE MOVIES which shows latest release stuff. Has a section with those old-style lay back canvas seats. Note this seems to now be Byron’s only movie venue – a newer place in the main street has closed down since my last visit.
- ADEQUATE PARKING. My stay coincided with a weekend. Byron is a super popular place on weekends and Arts Factory was just about booked out (I wanted a bed in the big tepee tent but it was fully booked 2 weeks prior – and you could not have squeezed another tent into the big camping area). The type of visitor is more likely to bring a vehicle than be off a tourist coach – yet there were still a few vacant places in the sizable car park.

MY RATING. I am giving a 2 star (below average) rating, marked down from 4 stars (above average) on account of the kitchen and other problems mentioned. I am discounting the stolen food problem – despite my earlier comments this can happen anywhere (and has happened to me before).

SOME TIPS
- A guy who has had his whole expensive Christmas dinner stolen in another backpacker joint told me he now packs all his stuff in one of those rectangular 10 liter inexpensive Woolis/Coles/Aldi cooler bags and puts a (small) padlock on the twin zip pulls at top. This of course will not stop someone stealing the whole thing – but it will stop small scale pilfering from the bag.
- You can short-cut the walk to town (22mins to 15) by taking the path across the (closed) railway tracks about 8 minutes into the walk. Look for the parked cars and people heading to the right just after a 90 degree left turn in the road.
- It might be a good idea to take your own dining kit. But people who want to travel light won’t want to haul around pots and fry-pans. Maybe a handy sized bag to cart your hired stuff would do the trick. And don’t forget the bottle opener – I got tired of the old rip it off with the back of a big knife-blade trick.
- Not all the booking sites show the variety of accommodation that Arts Factory’s own website contains (with photos).
- Book early for some of the more esoteric accommodation types, particularly for weekends.

Room Tip: Wreck Dorm can get live music noise. Booking.com identifies it as 10 person mixed dorm. There are 2...
See more room tips
  • Stayed: September 2016, travelled solo
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank blackeldo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
artsfactory_13, Manager at The Arts Factory Backpackers Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 4 October 2016

Dear Blackeldo - this is the most extensive review we have ever had, and it is not all bad, I think we definitely rate a three from you though! Two main points back at you;
THE KITCHEN IS BEING REFURBISHED AS WE SPEAK.....HOORAY! Yes a long time coming, but it is extensive and a complete gut-out overhaul - Yew! No one is happier about that than the long term crew. A much needed improvement in operation by this weekend. The second point - there was always a bottle/can opener - it is the big obtrusive thing that is connected to a bench, so it cannot possible be stolen! It looks like a industrial vice! Maybe we should sign post it?

I would like to offer you a free night once the new kitchen has opened to come back and road trst it. I will even shout you a coffee to have a chat over some of the other issues. May I suggest, that would have been a good way to go to give us feedback the first time around - because we are very approachable and we love feedback, such as this, from our wonderful guests!

Please email peggy@nomadsworld.com to organise a complimentary night. I look forward to hearing from you soon. Happy travels :)

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154 - 158 of 577 reviews

Reviewed 14 September 2016

I stayed at The Arts Factory as a solo traveller and was put in a 10 bed dorm, even though I had booked an 8 bed dorm. It was the middle of the night when I arrived, after a long 13+ hour train journey up from Sydney, so I really wanted to find my room and sleep. However, the check in process was an absolute shambles and reception had no idea what they were doing and put me in the wrong size room and then had me come back to pay the next day. They took me to the "Space Room" where everyone was asleep, let me in and left me to it, the room was filthy and almost like a prison. The hostel is also a long walk from any of the shops, nightlife or restaurants. The food from the hostel was okay, but apart from that this place is an absolute shambles. I wouldn't recommend staying here at all, other hostels in town sound a lot better.

  • Stayed: April 2016, travelled solo
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank GC5187PL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
artsfactory_13, Manager at The Arts Factory Backpackers Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 4 October 2016

Sorry to hear your stay was so disappointing. The 10 share dorms are so much better than the 8. I can assure you our rooms are not filthy, maybe messy and untidy, but filthy no. Also a long walk from shops, night life & restaurants is actually 10 to 15 minutes, depending on if you are a slow to medium walker. Our shuttle bus runs from early morning until early evening as well. Plus being out of town you get to enjoy the 5 acres of sub-tropical gardens we offe - which is a unique experience for Byron Bay hostels. It is unusual for us to get a one-star review. If you voiced your discomfort when you were at the hostel, we would have worked towards making it a better experience for you GCPW. We are happy to invite you back again to prove us wrong! Happy travels :)

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A TripAdvisor Member
Stenungsund, Sweden
244
Reviewed 12 September 2016 via mobile

It's a different backpacker place, in the middle of the djungel. With dorms, dubbel rooms and Tents. Big kitchen. But it's nice and cosy. They got a pool as well. We can Warmley recommend this place even if you are as we in the 60+.

Stayed: August 2016, travelled as a couple
Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
artsfactory_13, Manager at The Arts Factory Backpackers Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 4 October 2016

Thank you so much for your review. We are very pleased to hear you enjoyed your experience, no matter what your age is! We hope to see you again some time. Happy travels :)

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Reviewed 5 September 2016 via mobile

After being recommended this place by a number of friends as encompassing all Byron had to offer, we were left disappointed and wondering what the hype was about. No value for money when you consider the location and cleanliness of the amenities. In trying so hard to be the hippy destination in Byron, it woefully misses the mark, and instead provides a smelly, unclean and widely unwelcoming environment. If you're not gluten free, don't bother. Ps: don't plan any trips through their tour desk, who managed to overcharge us for a trip to Fraser Island. They not only overcharged us, but also outright lied about aspects of the trip. Do your research before thinking Nomads will be a good deal!!!!

Stayed: August 2016, travelled with friends
Thank Adam C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
artsfactory_13, Manager at The Arts Factory Backpackers Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 4 October 2016

Hi Adam,

Thanks for taking the time to write a review. It is odd to me that most of our reviews are 3 - 4 stars, but yours is one. I am really concerned with your comments about over charging you for Fraser Island and being lied to about it. Most of our guests really enjoy their Fraser experience, so this is baffling. Could you please contact me, and hopefully we can work through the issues and come up with a solution, email;
peggy@ nomadsworld.com Thanks Adam

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Reviewed 26 August 2016 via mobile

You're between 18 and 28 (some are 40) and you want to have a good time? The arts factory is the place to go to. Camping in the jungle is the hippy life! Everyone is happy, barefoot and smiling. Living in the dorms is great as well. Staff is on top, you quickly become part of the family. I know some people who rented 2 nights in a dorm and ended up staying 7 months in a tent in the jungle! This guy has been there for 7 years hahah. There's everything you need, from drum sessions, 1h survival course, make your own didgeridoo, a good fresh smoothie or coffee from the coffee shop, to party nights at the Buddha bar or rainy day cinema day. We enjoyed having a cinema literally right next to the hostel. There's a bunch of comfy cushions at the front to lay down, we'd bring our blankets, cook good food and bring a good wine and laze all day hungover to watch movie after movie. There's the bus to town that travels every hour. It's a 15 min walk to the beach. You can also rent a surf board at the hostel for cheaper than in town. If you are traveling in a van you can sleep in the van camp for 15$/night.

I could go on and on on how I'm in love with this place, everyone accepts everyone it's such a beautiful vibe. Check it out yourself! You can't pass by Byron bay and not stay at the arts!

Stayed: July 2016, travelled solo
Thank Naila R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
artsfactory_13, Manager at The Arts Factory Backpackers Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 7 September 2016

Wow Naila, thanks so much, this is a very extensive review and absolutely awesome! So glad you have such a good time and really enjoyed the property. We hope to see you visit us again some time. Happy travels :)

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Additional Information about The Arts Factory Backpackers Lodge

Address: Skinners Shoot Rd | Arts Factory Village, Byron Bay, New South Wales 2481, Australia
Region: Australia > New South Wales > Byron Shire > Byron Bay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Kitchenette Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #15 of 65 Speciality Lodging in Byron Bay
Price Range: $38 - $104 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2 star — The Arts Factory Backpackers Lodge 2*
Number of rooms: 41
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Also Known As:
The Arts Factory Backpackers Hotel Byron Bay
The Arts Factory Backpackers Lodge Byron Bay

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