While few things make me happier than falling asleep in Egyptian-thread sheets and bathing in L’Occitane toiletries, I do appreciate a good hostel as well.
My friend and fellow blogger Kash recently published the Bible of luxury hostels in Europe, which focuses on hostels with high standards, stylish private rooms and affordable prices. I strongly urge budget-strapped-visitors-with-luxurious-taste to check it out. But for now, here is my own selection of stylish hostels in Europe — not necessarily luxury, but all-around awesome.
I like good value, regardless of what price I actually pay. I absolutely love splurging on a 5* hotel room every now and then, and I expect impeccable service, marble floors and 50″ TV screen when I do. Just as I expect trendy decor and welcoming staff in a luxury hostel. I like knowing my money is smartly spent, and these hostels provide exactly that: modern decor, good location, top-notch facilities and competitive prices.
Plus Hostel Berlin
Any hostel that lists “indoor pool” among its facilities is a hit, in my book. And the reasons why Plus Hostel Berlin is awesome doesn’t stop there: aptly categorized as hotel/hostel, this property, which is hands-down my favourite hostel in all of Europe, gives budget-conscious travellers ample bang for their buck by offering private, spacious and tastefully designed en-suite rooms (complete with mini-fridge and TV).
Other freebies include yoga classes, reliable WiFi, sauna, inner courtyard and an relaxed atmosphere in a fun neighbourhood. I particularly liked the Opera Restaurant on site, which in addition to being fairly large by hostel standards, offers a delicious buffet breakfast as well as evening meals for less than €6 per person.
Rates start at €60 for a private en-suite room.
Singer 109 Berlin
My other favourite hostel in Berlin is Singer 109, which is located minutes away from the iconic Fernsehturm and busy Alexanderplatz. One of my favourite things about this apartment-hostel is not only its extensive list of on-site activities, but its strong character; indeed, the hostel is located in a historic red brick building that dates back to the early 1900s and features a massive atrium in the centre, filled with luxuriant plants and archive photos of the building’s previous lives. A feature more often seen in private residences rather than budget hostels! Singer 101 is not as luxurious as Plus Hostel, but is a good option nonetheless.
Rates start €80 for a two-bed apartment that comes fully equipped cable TV, a small kitchenette and en-suite bathroom.
Any Generator, Anywhere
After staying in their Paris, Dublin, Copenhagen and Hamburg properties, I think I’ve fairly assessed that Generator Hostels is the best chain in Europe. All of their hostels are stylish, generous in size, have splendid common areas and more often than not, unbeatable locations.
They have a perfect grasp of what 20-something travellers want for their accommodation: modern and no-frills rooms, a lively yet inviting ambiance, ample power sockets and free WiFi, a good location and fair prices. We don’t need no bellboys and minibars and jacuzzis; we just want a good place to spend the night that won’t break the bank.
Rates start at €50 for a single en-suite room.
St. Christopher’s Paris
I stayed at St. Christopher’s Paris well before I even thought of having a blog, back when I was just a regular backpacker will a small budget and big expectations. I wasn’t as in love with Paris then as I am now, and this hostel, thanks to its fantastic canal-side location, helped soothe my Paris wounds. Purpose-built in 2008, it’s one of the most modern hostels in Paris and comes fully equipped with the latest technology (pod beds, ample charging stations and tasteful decor).
Rates start at €85 for a private en-suite room for two with breakfast included.
Jaeger’s Hostel Munich
I stayed at Jaegers during my Christmas Markets stint last December, and the private room provided exactly what I needed: ample covers, efficient heater and fast wifi! It was a wee bit cold outside during my visit (slight understatement, it was freezing cold) and I couldn’t have been more thankful for my warm abode next to München Hauptbahnhof. The rooms are far more modern than the common areas on the ground floor and come fully equipped with ample storage, cable TV, power shower and hairdryer.
Rates start at €45 for a single room with welcome drinks included.
Smart City Hostel, Edinburgh
One of the main selling points of Smart City Hostel is its location – right off the bustling and historic Royal Mile, therefore within walking distance of pretty much all of Edinburgh’s attractions. While the rooms are quite basic, the bar/restaurant area is the main reason why I keep going back to this hostel. Indie music, large armchairs, free wifi and inexpensive cocktails make for an enjoyable place to spend a couple of hours, or, in my case, to get work done. The breakfasts are also quite legendary: nowhere else in Edinburgh can you get a fully cooked Scottish buffet breakfast (which includes sausages, eggs, potatoes and HAGGIS) for just £5.
Rates start at £87 for a private en-suite room for two with breakfast included.
Best Hostels in Europe: Other Recommendations
Honorable mentions to hostels I’ve never visited but that generally receive good reviews from fellow travelers:
- Gallery Hostel, Porto
- Ecomama, Amsterdam
- Casa Gracia, Barcelona
- U Hostels, Madrid
- Kex Hostel, Reykjavik
- Lavender Circus, Budapest
- Franz Ferdinand Hostel, Sarajevo
- OOPS hostel, Paris
- Dream Hostel, Tempere
- The Independente, Lisbon
Have you got a favorite hostel in Europe?
What makes it so special?
Do you like the concept of luxury hostelling?