When you think of hostels, images of dirty, insect-ridden bunk beds in a tiny dorm room may come to mind.
But thanks to technology and social media, dodgy operators can’t get away with mediocre listings anymore if they want to succeed in the competitive hostel market.
Here are 14 of the best they found.
The hostels ranked using criteria such as value for money, facilities, atmosphere, location and staff.
Toc Hostel Barcelona –- Barcelona, Spain
Not just a pretty face, Toc hostel uses technology to improve security for guests. Instead of a normal key or card, fingerprints of each guest are taken and used to access rooms. If you’re looking for a romantic trip, there’s a special couple room that has stunning views over the city.
There’s free wi-fi, a communal games room, bar, kitchen, and pool.
Kex Hostel –- Reykjavik, Iceland
“Kex” means “biscuit” in Icelandic, and this hostel is so named as it’s housed in an old biscuit factory.
It’s steps away from Reykjavik’s bar and club precinct, as well as cafes, tourist attractions and those all-important late-night restaurants.
There’s a heated outdoor patio, as well as a cosy library to chill out in during cold weather.
Generator Venice –- Venice, Italy
Located just off the main island on Giudecca, Generator has spectacular views across the canal, and is only a short boat ride away from the city centre.
There’s an outdoor bar and chillout area, and the rooms have USB charging ports and LED reading lights.
Casa Gracia Hostel –- Barcelona, Spain
All of the rooms in Casa Gracia have ensuites, so there’s no need to fear the late-night trip down a dark hallway to a smelly cubicle in a shared bathroom.
Staff regularly put on exhibitions, concerts, dinners, and movie screenings. They offer a delicious continental breakfast for about $AU10.
ClinkNOORD –- Amsterdam, Netherlands
There’s a spectacular stained glass window at the entrance to this former 1920’s laboratory which spans its four floors. It’s only ten minutes walk from the Amsterdam Central.
If you’re on a working holiday, there’s a library and dedicated work space, and a cafe in a sunny and spacious atrium for chilling out.
Calle 11 Hostel Santa Marta Rodadero –- Santa Marta, Colombia
Only a three-minute walk from the beach, this hostel warns it is not a “party” hostel, but does play great music at the pool during the day if you want to relax with a drink outside.
If you’re looking for something a little more upbeat of a night, they’re partners with what they call “the best nightclub in town”, and can take you there.
The Salty Pelican –- Cascais, Portugal
The Salty Pelican sits between the sun-dappled shores of Cascais Bay on one side and the and Sintras mountain ranges on the other.
Although the interior is beautifully designed as you can see, with over 300 days of sunshine per year, you won’t be spending much time indoors.
The Independente Hostel –- Lisbon, Portugal
The Indepedente has a restaurant, bar, exclusive guest lounge and secluded beer garden where locals and travellers alike congregate for a drink outdoors.
There are only 90 beds, and female-only dorms.
Happynest Inspiring Hostel –- Chiang Rai, Thailand
Happynest is only 15 minutes walk from the tourist centre of Chiangrai, which has such attractions as the big clock tower, the night bazaar and weekend walking street market.
There’s only 10 guest rooms, with free Wi-Fi, free toast and coffee/tea, several choices of breakfast, air-con, in-room lockers, staff available 24 hours, communal kitchenette and a lot of common spaces.
Sputnik Hostel and Personal Space -– Moscow, Russia
At Sputnik, they’re not “bunks”, they’re “sleepboxes”. This hostel offers accomodation ranging in size from a Japanese-style capsule to a queensize room.
It’s super close to the Bolshoi theater, Kuznetsky Most street, department stores, small craft beer bars, hipster coffee shops and cool hole-in-the-wall food venues.
Lub D Cambodia –- Siem Reap, Cambodia
Lub D is a 5 minute walk to the famous Pub Street, and even less time to walk to the Siem Reap River, old market and night market. It’s on the larger side, with 222 beds and features a pool with a swim-up bar, games area including pool table and old school Pacman arcade game.
When the weather gets too hot to handle, chill out in the dedicated cool room in the lobby.
Onas Hostel and Suites – Cordoba, Argentina
The neighbourhood of Cordoba is famous for its restored old houses and bustling nightlife area full of bars, restaurants and night clubs.
Onas has 44 beds in 3 suites and 6 dorms, all of which have private bathrooms, cable TV, air conditioning, reading lamps and lockers.
There’s a fully-equipped kitchen, front yard with a bar, living room, a grill room, swimming pool with DJ booth, reading lounge, movie room and a pub.
Wallyard Concept Hostel – Berlin, Germany
Staff tell travellers lots of things come for free when you stay at the Wallyard — Wi-Fi in the lounge and rooms, luggage storage, bed linen, daily cleaning, and what they say is the most important — great local insider travel tips.
Chill out in their cafe, sunny backyard or at the swanky black, white and yellow bar.
Freehand Chicago -– Chicago, US
You wouldn’t think this opulent hostel is really a hostel. It’s a 1927 bulding in Chicago’s vibrant River North neighborhood just two blocks from busy Michigan Avenue in the centre of town.
For fitness buffs, there’s a gym onsite, and for beverage connoisseurs, there’s a cocktail bar called Broken Shaker.
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