Guests at Hayarkon 48 enjoy a summer afternoon on the rooftop. Guests at Hayarkon 48 enjoy a summer afternoon on the rooftop. Guests at Hayarkon 48 in Tel Aviv enjoy a summer afternoon on the rooftop. (Photo: Courtesy Hayarkon 48)

7 boutique hostels worth a visit

These hip, trendy and affordable locales offer a welcome alternative to hostels of yesteryear.

What immediately springs to mind when you think of a hostel? Is it creaky beds, a loose interpretation of the health code and random roommates with no volume control?

This old stereotype is increasingly unjustified. Those in the industry have been striving to create comfortable rooms and cool experiences for hostel visitors in recent years. The result is the boutique hostel, an attractive option for those looking for a fun alternative to hotels and well-located accommodation without the eye-watering price tag. Take a look at some prime examples of boutique hostels from around the globe.


1. New York Loft Hostel

New York Loft HostelThe New York Loft Hostel keeps its guests entertained with movie nights and bands. (Photo: New York Loft Hostel)

An address in Brooklyn is a must-have for any in-the-know New Yorker. It can be yours for a few days with a stay in the New York Loft Hostel, which offers a variety of accommodation options. There is a three-bed mixed dorm that radiates cool with trendy design details such as exposed brickwork, as well as a private en suite twin room – a cozy bolthole in the city with a spacious bunk bed.

The New York Loft Hostel has joined forces with a gym on the same street to offer visitors a membership deal. Other facilities include a sundeck and a garden, where there are free barbecues in the summer months. Live rock ‘n’ roll bands provide entertainment in the hostel bar.


2. Lub’d Bangkok

Lub’d BangkokLub’d Bangkok's yellow donut bar is just one way this hostel stays endearing. (Photo: Lub’d Bangkok)

A chic and quirky place to stay in the Thai capital, Lub’d Bangkok ups the ante with unexpected amenities. In the pink Ladies’ Deluxe Dorm, you will find surprising little extras like body mist, hair straighteners and various toiletries. The Econo Twin and Econo Double have iPod docks, and the Double Deluxe even has an LCD TV, perfect for a night in after a day out. That’s if you can resist the lure of the hostel’s nightly activities, which range from a game night to a club crawl. Its biggest draw, however, is the personal touch – Lub’d offers free hugs as one of its services.


3. Hayarkon 48

Hayarkon 48 in Tel Aviv includes a relaxing lounge and pool table.Hayarkon 48 in Tel Aviv includes a relaxing lounge and pool table. (Photo: Courtesy Hayarkon 48)

Israel's Hayarkon 48 is just a stone’s throw away from the Tel Aviv beach. In addition to dorms, it has private rooms that can sleep between one and five people with shared bathrooms or a suite with its own bathroom, offering a precious piece of privacy on your travels. What’s more, cable television, breakfast and free Wi-Fi, as well as some toiletries and towels, are all included in the private accommodations. There’s also a rooftop terrace, where you can meet other travelers and soak up the sun during your stay.

Yael Rozenfeld, General Manager of Hayarkon 48, explained the hostel’s appeal. “Couples and families will enjoy their shared getaway in our private rooms," she says, "and all of our guests, no matter age, sex or status, will enjoy our large common areas, and our amazing sea view rooftop terrace.”


4. Freehand Miami

Freehand MiamiFreehand Miami helps guests find a variety of things to do while in town, from kiteboarding classes to art walks. (Photo: Freehand Miami)

Just two blocks away from the world-famous Miami Beach, Freehand Miami has a relaxed style that complements its locale. The vibe here is artsy; designers Roman and Williams are responsible for the cool rooms. Stay in the Shared Quad, which contains pieces by local artists and quirky bunk beds or opt for the King Suite, where a sofa, flat-screen TV, more Miami art and a king-size bed are just some of the great features.

Go for a dip in the hostel pool or hang about with fellow travelers in its courtyard. If you need respite from the Miami heat, find shade in the Broken Shaker bar or grab a bite to eat in the hostel’s 27 restaurant and bar. Both use ingredients from Freehand’s very own garden, highlighting the locally minded ethos of the hostel.


5. Gallery Hostel

Gallery HostelPaintings cover the walls of the Gallery Hostel. (Photo: Gallery Hostel)

Located in Porto, Portugal, this hostel takes inspiration from different elements of the city. The double and twin suites pay homage to Porto’s gardens, while the striking modern four-bed dorms have been influenced by leading Porto architects Siza Vieira and Souto Moura.

A unique set of circumstances led to the creation of the hostel. Manager Adriano Maneiro revealed that, alongside the growing number of tourists to the city, “there wasn’t really a hostel with our concept: mixing art with a truly inspiring and genuine sense of hospitality to welcome the world traveler.”


6. One80 Hostel

One80 HostelThe One80 Hostel in Berlin is surrounded by beer gardens, bars, small shops and big malls. (Photo: One80 Hostel)

Visitors flock to Berlin for its nightlife, so it is only fitting that this hostel has its very own nightclub. Guests can dance the night away or just start the evening there before heading out to explore one of the city’s legendary clubs.

The rooms in the hostel are comfortable and well equipped, ranging from a private double room to an eight-bed shared room. All are light and airy, making them welcoming havens from the hustle and bustle of the German capital. Wi-Fi is included, bike rental is available and visitors can order food all day every day – particularly convenient for a midnight snack after a night on the town.


7. Generator Venice

GeneratorAt Generator, guests can relax at lounges, bars and cafes. (Photo: Generator Venice)

A member of the Generator hostel group, this slick Venice establishment has gorgeous rooms that match the lavish aesthetics of this photogenic city. A mosaic floor, a chandelier and stylish curtains by Rubelli set it apart from the bland hostel crowd. There are plenty of events held here too, including Latin music and DJ nights. General manager Fabio Moccia told From the Grapevine what excites people about the hostel: “It’s the ability to bring great design and really cool, fun, sexy events out to the masses. You don’t have to be wealthy, you don’t have to be privileged to experience something truly unique and special.”

If you are in Venice for a romantic getaway, the double en suite with exposed rafters will fit the bill, while groups can opt for a modern shared room with bunk beds.

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