7 Chic and Fun Boutique Hostels—Plus, How to Book Them
Hostels get a bad rep sometimes, but in reality, there are tons of safe and chic options for those looking to travel more and spend less, and offer a completely unique experience from booking, say, someone else's apartment.
"Hostels provide a social experience that no other travel accommodation can replicate," Marek Mossakowski, the Global Head of Brand for the booking site Hostelworld.com says. "The socially-conscious features that they offer provide a way for travelers to meet the world and make friends along the way." And the trick to finding that once-in-a-lifetime experience is knowing what to look for.
VIDEO: The 10 Most-Pinned Travel Destinations in the World
Here's what Mossakowski recommends you prioritize to guarantee an adventure like no other.
Cool communal spaces
"The real value in hostel traveling is meeting new people and trying new things," Marek says. A great example is the Tasso Hostel in Florence, Italy, which has lounge areas, a garden, and an in-house theater great for late nights listening to music with other guests/new friends.
Historical hot spots
"Hostels provide culturally-immersive experiences, so use them to go off the beaten track and seek out areas that can provide a unique experience," he says. Find something in city-center like the Lavender Circus in Budapest, Hungary, which is near transit hubs and major museums.
A Friendly and informative staff
Look for places that have quality information desks like The Loft Hostel in Reykjavik, Iceland, which also has bike rentals so you can explore on your own. "These hostels will help you get 'under the skin' of the city to find the most authentic experience," Marek explains.
"Many hostels run a bar or club on location, so definitely find one of those," Marek says. "It's a great place to meet fellow travelers and locals alike." Hostelworld suggests Gilligan's Backpacker Hotel and Resort in Cairns, Australia, which has an always-packed bar and nightclub.
"Hostels today offer all types of amenities. Some feature saunas, yoga studios, and even rock walls." If spa days are your thing, check out YHA Mt. Cook in New Zealand for a free (yes, free) spa, included.
"Look for unconventional accommodations that are a conversation starter in and of themselves, like tree houses and houseboats." The space-themed MET A Space Pod in Singapore gives guests a chance to sleep in a futuristic capsule (complete with charging outlets and TVs, of course).
Thrilling Local Activities
"Hostel owners are some of the best resources for fun, local activities." Take note of the Balmers Hostel in Interlaken, Switzerland, which gives guests the option of booking tons of outdoor activities from paragliding to ice climbing. And if you don't feel like venturing out, take advantage of its on-site hot tub.