Squeaky bunk beds under which you’d rather not dare to look – that hair pin is just lost forever, R.I.P. – shared showers for the entire floor with hygiene checks of questionable frequency, staff that had one (or many) drinks too much last night and simply can’t figure out how to fix your locker either… if all these thoughts go hand in hand with your ideas of hostels, then you are probably one to say, ‘I’m just not the hostel type. I need a little more than the bare basics.’

I want you to think again though – not all hostels are accommodation from a backpackers’ nightmares any more. The current trend definitely leans towards closing the gap between budget hostels and boutique hotels, the era of boutique hostels is going strong. That’s why we have again selected 10 awesome hostels around the world, of which we think they deserve your very special attention! Should you plan a trip to London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Basel, Lisbon, Rome, Cape Town, Ljubljana, Marrakech or New York soon (who are we kidding – of course you are!?) take a note of these hostels now!

Safestay Holland Park

1) Safestay Holland Park, London

Did you always want to stay in a royal-esque ‘palace’ in London and feel like the Queen traveling on a budget? Well with the hostel chain’s newest addition, the Safestay Holland Park located in Holland House in the middle of the famous park, this will finally be possible. It literally just opened this week (Sept 2015), but along with Safestay London Elephant & Castle and Safestay York it joins the league of the top affordable-but-chic hostels in the UK. The hostel comprises a Grade I listed building as well as a 1950s add-on, so considering the historical facade, the retro 50’s furniture and the otherwise modern interior design you get to experience life in London in many different periods.

The hostel offers free WiFi throughout the building, there is a pool room, an outside seating area, a landscaped garden and cool design quirks around every corner – from a mural of the Queen made up of tiny photographs of London in the pool room, to upside down paint pots brightening up the ceiling in the lobby. No better place to start exploring the city!

Dorms from £15; Private double from £75; Book online or call 0044 20 3326 8471

Read more about our stay at both Safestay hostels in London!

safestay holland park

ClinkNOORD Front Edit

2) ClinkNOORD, Amsterdam

Another brand-new hostel in one of Europe’s most popular cities, ClinkNOORD of the ClinkHostels family, opened its doors in August 2015 (the official opening, however, is in September 2015) in the up-and-coming Overhoeks district. The hostel lies just 400m from the main train station, and in convenient walking or cycle distance to all the grachten and canals in the city centre.

The communal areas include a bar, a cafe and a library, but there are also event spaces for concerts, exhibitions and performances. The hostel actively encourages local and international creativity with projects like ‘Stay & Play’, ‘Stay & Scribe’ or ‘Stay & Create’, where performing and creating musicians, artists and writers can stay for free while they fill the hostel with their art. Amidst of it all, are you – in your dorm or private room overlooking the city and the river, while sharing your snapshots via the free WiFi and having a chilled Amstel beer at the ZincBAR.

Dorms from €17; Private double from €70; Book online now!

clinkNOORD 2


3) ONE80° Hostel, Berlin

Berlin can be one massive, confusing challenge; so widespread and so diverse. One of the best locations to base yourself in to explore both the former West and East, is the central Alexanderplatz – and our hostel of choice would be ONE80° Hostel smack bang in the middle of it. You can hop on any of the trains or metros here and reach the bars of Neukölln and Friedrichshain just as quickly as the lush green at Tiergarten or Ku’damm.

It wouldn’t be Berlin, if the hostel wouldn’t offer you rental bikes (€12 a day) and a free (!) photo booth in the lobby – no stay in Berlin is complete without a souvenir photo strip of you and your travel companion! Although the hostel is huge, with space for up to 700 guests, the dorms have a maximum of eight beds, there are free guided city tours starting at the hostel and a very social pub crawl taking you around some of Berlin’s coolest bars.

Dorm from €12; Private double from €75

one80 hostel berlin travelettes

atlantic 2

4) Atlantic Point Backpackers, Cape Town

If you have kicked Cape Town off your bucket list because of potential shark attacks or street crime, we have clear message for you: you’d miss out on a hell-of-a city, some of the best food in the world and a hostel that puts you just a 10-minute-walk from the beautiful South African coastline: Atlantic Point Backpackers.

With dorms located in a three story mansion and privates nestled into a tranquil garden all in trendy Green Point, and equipped with mini-golf course and swimming pool, it is a great starting point to venture further into Cape Town – or hang out and chill with the sun tickling your nose.  Thanks to a generous BBQ area you can experience an authentic Braai night, the traditional South African BBQs with all things meat and a bit of African music.

Particularly noteworthy is that the hostel is trying to go green – with recycling, energy efficiency and reduced water flow in the shower heads. Or would you rather hear about the shark diving specials? Or maybe the free breakfast is a good thing to end on – for you, of course, not the sharks…

Dorm from R195 (~€13); Private double from R880 (~€57); Book online and receive a 10% discount with the code travelettes15!

atlantic backpacker hostel cape town travelettes

Basel Youth Hostel 2

5) Basel Youth Hostel, Basel

The Basel Youth Hostel is one of 52 Swiss Youth Hostels, of which most of them could be featured in this list as well – design and extraordinary buildings are kind of their thing. The building was designed by the same architects who created the Swiss Pavillion at the World Expo in Shanghai – speak of top-notch design, hah?! Everything is very sleek and modern (exposed concrete, white bricks, grey paint) but the soft wooden furniture and green trees add a comfy warmth to it.

The hostel places great emphasis on the nature it is surrounded by. Large windows, big trees rustling in front of them; all electricity comes from Swiss hydroelectric power plants. Breakfast is included in the price, but if you feel like a splurge, you can even go for a 4-course dinner menu. There is a large terrace with outdoor seating, a bar and of course free WiFi to make your loved ones at home jealous. Now, add Basel to your Europe bucket list quickly!

Dorm from CHF 42.80; Private double from CHF 135.60
Prices for YHA members – non-members pay a daily sur-charge of CHF 6,-

Basel Youth Hostel 5

B.H. 048

6) The Blue Hostel, Rome

Finding decent accommodation in Rome (or quite frankly in any other Italian city) is quite hard – and by decent, we mean affordable, stylish and modern. Enter, stage right: The Blue Hostel. With no dorms, but only six rooms, which can be booked as single, double or triple, and one suite for up to four guests, this is not your average kind of hostel. It is a low-budget accommodation, with a cool hostel vibe but all the comforts of a 4-star hotel.

The historical building housing the hostel is located right between the main train station Termini and the Colosseum - ideal if you want to explore the ancient Rome on foot. There is free WiFi, coffee makers and fridges in every room. They all face out towards the internal courtyard, so you won’t be disturbed by any street noise; only the church bells of nearby Santa Maria Maggiore. Every guest also receives the hostel’s customised city map with hand-selected recommendations for gelato, pizza and pasta – guaranteed no tourist traps!

Single/double/triple from €49; Suite (sleeps 4) from €150; Book online and receive a 5% discount with the code 899182!

the blue hostel rome travelettes 1

lisbon poets hostel 3

7) Lisbon Poets Hostel, Lisbon

Lisbon is the place to be – more exactly, the arts district Chiado. This is were you will find an eclectic mix of beautiful buildings, small art galleries and street art, and amidst it all, the Lisbon Poets Hostel. As you can see, not only the streets are filled with art and poetry, but also the interior  of the hostel. It is located directly above the famous cafe A Brasileira and just a stone’s throw away from the nightlife district of Bairro Alto.

The hostel offers free breakfast, free lockers, free WiFi and free guided tours – and we love free things! The dorms have a maximum of six beds, which were custom-designed for the hostel. The walking tours all have different themes, like the best view points, coolest flea markets or cosiest cafes; a Cafe Crawl – say what?! The hostel’s cafe offers a four-course dinner every night including unlimited Sangria – cheers!

Dorm from €16; Private double from €45. Book online and receive a 10% discount with the code TRAVELETTES (also applicable in the sister hostel The Poets Inn in Porto).

lisbon poest hostel travelettes 2


8) Tresor Hostel, Ljubljana

If you thought, spending all day in a bank in a faraway place from home is the worse case scenario for any traveler (wouldn’t that mean there is something terribly wrong with your finances?), think again! It is in fact even one of the best places you could end up; at least if your destination is Ljubljana and your hostel is called Tresor Hostel. Smack-bang in the middle of the city center, the hostel is located in a former bank, which makes for very unique and unusual architecture and layout. From the rigid lifestyle of early 20th century bankers to the modern flash packing vibe of today.

There are three common areas: a high atrium which is particularly spectacular by daylight, the former vault in the basement, now breakfast area and, since the beginning of summer, a bar just next to the reception – how cool is that? Throughout the year the hostel hosts many concerts, parties, exhibitions and other events (like fashion shows) and forms the ideal bridge between young local people and international visitors. Meeting locals is pretty much guaranteed here!

Dorm from €18; Private double from €27; Reserve your room via email and receive a 10% discount with the code 10 awesome hostels.

tresor hostel ljubljana 5

equity point marrakech 1

9) Equity Point, Marrakech

Morocco is certainly a dream destination for many; but like with so many other exotic countries, the life in and off the streets can be quite demanding. You will be pleased to hear, that Equity Point in Marrakech is like a super-central sanctuary, the perfect counter pole to the busy alleys of the Medina!

The hostel lies in one of the tallest buildings of the old town, and from its rooftop terrace you can get great views over the city and the Atlas mountains in the distance. Every room and common area is a true Moroccan dream – gorgeous cushions, sofas, lounges, mirrors and beautiful mosaics and tiles everywhere. Out of the speakers comes traditional music, there is a bar serving authentic meals and if it gets too hot, you can cool down in the outdoor swimming pool (open usually from April to October).

For a very special experience you can book a traditional Moroccan dinner accompanied by live music, or a Hamam body scrub at the hostel’s spa – yes, you heard right, the SPA!

Dorm from €9.40; Private double from €55

equity point marrakech 5

ny loft hostel 4

10) New York Loft Hostel, New York

Staying in a former loft when going to New York, AND doing do on a budget – you think that sounds too good to be true? Let us tell you, that you are wrong. Just try New York Loft Hostel!

It is one of NYC’s most popular hostels, as located in so-trensy-it-almost-hurts Williamsburg. There is a TV loft lounge, a beautiful outdoor hangout area, ping pong tables and of course a downstairs bar with parties, open mic nights and all kinds of other events.

Because we like to stay healthy (and keep up our normal day-to-day life) when we travel, they won us over with their special offer gym membership, where you can become a member at their partner gym for a week or two. That way, you can work off all those pizza slices, New York is so famous for!

Dorm from $40; Private double from $130

ny loft hostel 8

For more cool hostels, check out our list of ten awesome hostels from last December. With all those places, the accommodation for your next city trip is hopefully covered? Know of any other stylish hostels around the world? Let us know in the comment section!

Happy travels!

* This post is brought to you in collaboration with the featured hostels.

This is a post by Kathi Kamleitner.

Kathi Kamleitner was a regular contributor at Travelettes from 2013 to 2019. Originally from Vienna, Austria, she packed her backpack to travel the world and lived in Denmark, Iceland and Berlin, before settling in Glasgow, Scotland. Kathi is always preparing her next trip – documenting her every step with her camera, pen and phone.

In 2016, Kathi founded Scotland travel blog WatchMeSee.com to share her love for her new home, hiking in the Scottish Highlands, island hopping and vegan food. Follow her adventures on Instagram @watchmesee!