The Cube opened its doors in this rising south-central British Columbia town last January, its Mondrian-patterned exterior hinting that this wasn’t a traditional backpacker’s hostel like the one that sits just two blocks away, with its warren of rooms housed in a big, creaky Victorian.
The Cube fancies itself a newer, hybrid take on lodging, offering fewer comforts than a regular hotel, but more amenities than a hostel. The goal? To target those who want some of a hotel’s comforts and privacy, but who also like a hostel’s conviviality and pricing.
The hostel is in a great location near downtown Revelstoke, a one-time railroad community with a mountaineering addiction. The town is changing rapidly, thanks to the 2007 opening of Revelstoke Mountain Resort, which has huge snowfalls and the biggest vertical drop in North America. But the area also has a thriving heli-skiing, snowcat skiing and backcountry skiing scene, too, so it’s a great base for a week or more of outdoor winter adventure. Downtown “Revy” is tiny; a walker can get almost everywhere except to the ski hill, five miles up the road.
The Cube has 17 private rooms that can sleep two to four people, and four other dorm-style rooms that have multiple bunks. On a ski trip late last March, we stayed in an upstairs corner room for three, which was spotless and bright, lit by two windows and painted a sanitarium mint.
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Surprisingly, the Cube’s rooms have modern electronic card-key locks, air-conditioning and even a modest flat-screen TV that shows nearly 50 channels. Our three beds each had a reading lamp. There was even art on the walls.
Most important, our room was quiet — though there were nearly no other guests in the place. The Cube seems to be a concept more at home in Europe than in North America, and might take some time to catch on.
All the rooms are half-bath (sink and separate toilet), which is fine for most needs. Individual shower rooms are down the hall. The showers I used during a two-night stay were spotless (always a wild card in a hostel stay). Hot water was plentiful after a hard day’s skiing. Soap and towel are provided.
The Cube has free Wi-Fi, and a full kitchen with two stoves and (rare for a hostel) a full complement of matching dishes, cups, cutlery (Ikea!).
Since my stay, the Cube has added a daily continental breakfast, included with the room charge, with hot waffles, muffins, bagels, fruit, cereals, juice and fresh coffee and tea.
The rooms ring a two-story, atriumlike commons area with couches and tables (more Ikea!) that’s illuminated by enormous skylights that scare off Revelstoke’s winter gloom and where, during my visit, tired 20-somethings drank beer and swapped ski stories in the evening.
Ask for free vouchers to ride the bus to and from the ski area, which otherwise is about $4.20 round-trip. (The bus stops about two blocks away.) Also ask for a voucher for free entry to the newer and quite nice Revelstoke Aquatic Center, less than two blocks away, which has a pool, sauna and steam room.
▪ The Cube, 311 Campbell Ave., Revelstoke, British Columbia; 250-837-4086; cubehostel.ca. Double rooms start around $78; a bed in a dorm room is about $31.