While the word “hostel” often conjures up images of dirty rooms, bare flickering bulbs and bed bugs, the truth is there are many comfortable, well-designed hostels out there. The following properties combine the opulence of a luxury hotel with the social, laid-back nature to create an unforgettable hostel experience. In fact, we guarantee these hostels can turn even the biggest hostel skeptics into believers.
The Seven Hostel, Sorrento, Italy
You would never know this property was a hostel if it weren’t for the budget-friendly prices. Located near Sorrento in Sant’Agnello in a restored 18th-century building, the property’s modern yet minimalist decor features bright white couches, abstract artwork and furniture with interesting shapes and textures. The rooftop terrace with outdoor furniture and umbrellas is the highlight of the stay, offering panoramic views of the Gulf of Naples, Sorrento Coast and nearby mountains. Delicious cocktails and live music performed by local artists enhance the atmosphere. Downstairs, their restaurant serves up delicious Neapolitan in a trendy atmosphere. Other amenities of the hostel include the option of private rooms and all-female forms (along with regular dorms), enormous lockers, spacious showers, free high-speed internet, an outdoor solarium and complimentary breakfast. This hostel is the perfect place for budget-travelers looking to immerse themselves in the beauty of Italy’s Amalfi Coast.
The Independent Hostel & Suites, Lisbon, Portugal
Located in the heart of Lisbon, the Independent Hostel & Suites is the epitome of luxury but designed for backpackers. You’ll be able to stay in one of eleven spacious dorms and four private suites with private balconies overlooking the Tagus River in a former Swiss Ambassador’s residence. Nineteenth-century touches combine with modern decor for an ambient experience. Dine in their Decadente Restaurant & Bar (considered one of the top restaurants in the city), which has a warm country-feel to it and where you can enjoy beautifully-presented dishes made with high-quality ingredients. In the bar, generously-poured handcrafted cocktails can be enjoyed while listening to the music of local artists, while a beer garden offers tasty brews. Other amenities include free breakfast, free Wi-Fi, free luggage storage, a comfortable lounge and a game room. The concept behind the Independent Hostel is it is a place where “travellers as well as locals could come together in a multi-cultural story telling exchange,” so along with having an opulent stay you’ll also be able to get to know the local culture.
Design Hostel Goli & Bosi, Split, Croatia
Located in in Split, Design Hostel Goli & Bosi is a cross between a hostel and a hotel offering a mix of dorms, suites and ship cabins (small compartment-style rooms for those just looking for a place to sleep and shower). Travelers who want opulence will love the top-floor suites, which feature balconies offering views of the sea and charming architecture of the Old City as well as free breakfast. The three-story hostel was once a 19th-century warehouse, which the hostel has transformed with a bold color scheme of yellow, black and white, winding staircases, and creative lighting that creates a high-energy throughout the building. Their restaurant, De Belly, serves up dishes like black cuddlefish risotto, octopus salad and brochetas made with fresh ingredients in a space that still retains its warehouse roots with creatively-dangling light bulbs and bare but sleek walls. Amenities include a small movie theater, air conditioning, a bar, numerous lounges, free Wi-Fi, free luggage storage and an al fresco sitting area in front of the property where travelers enjoy socializing over coffee.
Plus Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Travelers headed to Berlin, Germany, can enjoy a luxury stay for a budget price at Plus Berlin. Conveniently situated near the S-Bahn station, guests can choose between dorms (including an all female dorm), suites and apartments. Relax in their indoor pool and sauna, stroll through their expansive courtyard, work off that schnitzel in one of their complimentary yoga classes or imbibe with an al fresco cocktail. Make sure to have a meal in their onsite Opera Restaurant, which features a sumptuous all-you-can-eat buffet breakfast for only 6 Euros (about $7.70 USD) and delicious German and Italian meals paired with unique cocktails at dinner. Other amenities include free Wi-Fi, bike hire, a bathroom in every room, airport shuttle service and a lounge. To put it simply, you’ll feel like you’re in a luxury boutique hotel more than a hostel.
Cocomama, Amsterdam, Netherlands
This boutique hostel is located in the heart of Amsterdam in a restored historical building that was once one of the city’s most frequented brothels. Branded as “Amsterdam’s First Boutique Hostel,” the property features spacious dorms and private rooms done in beautiful Dutch themes like “Tulips,” “Forest” and “Delftware” (the famous Dutch china). Natural daylight floods through wide windows while chandeliers add a historical touch. Relax in their well-manicured gardens, cook a delicious meal in their immaculate self-catering kitchen, enjoy a refreshing 1 Euro beer from the fridge and watch DVDs or play video games on their flatscreen television with other travelers. Additional offerings include free Wi-Fi, washing machines, bicycle hire, a lounge, currency exchange and staff that truly go out of their way for you (yes, they’re so helpful we’ve listed them as an amenity).