Yeah, everyone is all mixed in together. It really reminds me a lot of the college dorms. Hotel Cal is a good social/party dorm. I liked for my first “freshman” year. I know they say you can’t request certain rooms, but I’m not sure about requesting certain buildings. If you have a choice, Hotel Cal is nice than MMI. They’re both on the “other” side of town, but in Hotel Cal, there’s a sauna, the rooms are bigger & the lounge is nice and big – always with people in it to socialize with.
As for staying in Christchurch. You’re usually there for just a couple of days, more if your flight gets delayed. I always like to stay at the YMCA. As far as hostels go, it’s the nicest, and most like a hotel, but still with hostel rates. And there’s lots of Ice people staying there. It’s set up well with a Raytheon message board, and getting to the airport and whatnot. I usually put Thomas’s down as my second choice… not that it’s anything fancy, but it’s right next door to the Y, and I love the neighborhood. Right by the botanical gardens, across from the Art Center, and not far from downtown.