We chose Rotorua Treks YHA, based on the good reviews we had read. Treks is very centrally located, about a 5 minute walk from the main downtown area. There is parking across the street in a fenced in area, although it was never locked. The area seemed very safe. There is a mix of rooms, from shared rooms with bunkbeds, to where we stayed, a private room with a double bed and bathroom. There is similarly a wide range of ages of people staying there – and we were certainly very welcomed as a family.The room was very clean, very small and functional. There was no decoration to speak of. The bathroom was also very cramped, but clean. There is no air conditioning or fan, but we got a good breeze through the window (and hung our laundry to dry out the window!). Our room was next to the lobby, and we did get quite a bit of noise from late night arrivals and departures.
There is a large common room with a kitchen, TV, and there is facilities for doing laundry, but we didn’t really take advantage of any of these.
The hostel staff helped us to book tickets to Wai o Tapu geothermal reserve (by booking the tickets through them, we got a small discount), and also booked a trip to a Maori Hangi (cultural evening) at the Tamaki Village, again, for a small discount over the normal price.They also arrange all sorts of other trips with different ways to almost kill yourself that Rotorua is famous for.
Note that if you’re looking for a private room, and won’t be taking advantage of the facilities that a hostel offers, it might be worth checking out the different discount travel websites (kayak.com, expedia.com, etc.) to see if you can get a price that is close to the price that the hostels offer. Off-season, there are often steep discounts at the big hotel chains, and if you don’t need the common kitchen area or other facilities that a hostel provides, they might provide a more comfortable room – with just as good a location – for the same price.