Consumer Data shows that today’s young people prefer to travel differently than generations in the past and prefer to spend more on long-lasting experiences. With Millennials and Gen Z’s love for travel, the demand for affordable accommodations has grown. As we return to travel and the need for affordable accommodations grows, it is only reasonable that hostels would be the next logical choice for travelers.
Hostels have been around for many decades and were primarily the accommodation for backpackers and student travelers.
As economical and charming as they can be, hostels had a shabby reputation for being low-maintenance refuges that were overcrowded and out of date. Needless to say, they did not appeal to the stylish traveler.
Over the past few years’ hostels have leveled up, and now many have gone five stars. Shedding the shabby reputation of the past, today’s Hostels have undergone a massive makeover and are now seen as the Ultimate Cool! They are quickly becoming the accommodations of choice for a more creative, cosmopolitan class of travelers, albeit bloggers, digital nomads, and influencers alike. With options such as Design Hostels, Art, and Eco-Friendly, today’s updated brand of hostels are a destination within themselves.
Design hostels have all of the trappings of a five-star contemporary boutique hotel for a fraction of the cost. Many Hostels now feature contemporary rooms with stylish décor, modern architecture, art galleries, farm-to-table dining, live performances, curated tours, and one-of-a-kind excursions. They provide guests with many opportunities for socializing and connecting with the local community. They appeal to digital nomads through co-working spaces and co-living. Here is a list of some of our favorite hostels worldwide leading the way.
Freehand and Generator
The Freehand and Generator take a design-led approach to hostels. A chain with locations throughout many of Europe’s leading cities has extended to the U.S. and now has locations in Miami, New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas.
The concept is to merge design, hospitality, and gastronomy into a unique, yet affordable accommodation experience. By combining the social culture of a hostel with innovative design, and award-winning food and beverage, each space functions as a microcosm of the best things a city has to offer. All locations feature unique restaurants and bars that take inspiration from the surrounding local culture. The secret to the brands’ authenticity is in employing local tastemakers to reflect the gastronomic culture of the area. For example, the Miami location features Latin-influenced cuisine. The Los Angeles location takes inspiration from Israeli food and has a café specializing in Nicaraguan coffee. The chain’s latest opening is New Yorks’s historical flatiron district, an artistic community known for housing creatives. Like many other Hostels, guests can share a room or individual accommodations. Rooms range from the typical dorm-like experience to more upscale, individual options, ranging from $ 160.00 to upwards of $ 2000 a night. There is something to suit all budgets, which is key because today’s hostels appeal to a more diverse class of travelers.
Valencia Lounge Hostel, Valencia Spain
Take in Valencia’s eclectic, colorful surroundings during your next stay. This stylish design hostel is in Valencia’s Barrio Del Carmen, just minutes away from the beach and all the city’s essential attractions.
Valencia Hostel epitomizes everything I love about Design Hostels. The colorful, eclectic vibe makes it stand out. The whole place is a work of art.
Due to its eclectic, artsy design, Valencia Lounge was voted the best design hostel in Valencia and has landed itself on the list of the 25 Best Unique Design Hostels in Europe. Valencia lounge has been featured in Architectural Digest and many other influential design publications.
What sticks out the most about this hostel is its bold geometric prints, designed by Masquespacio, an award-winning Valencia-based design firm known for its innovative concepts.
With the trend of colorful, playful optimism returning to design, the look of Valencia house feels very in the moment.
Masquespacio eye for color and graphics (as seen in his other work, such as the Student Hotel in Berlin and Barcelona) all come together in this playful re-imagined space.
Valencia House represents all the classical architectural elements of the original structure typical of the region in the 19th-century era, such as the original tiling. The concept behind the design was to convert the hostel into a contemporary space with the coziness of home. Items typical of the house, such as communal dining tables and sofas, are strategically placed throughout the space to provide a feeling of comfort. Each room is distinctly designed to appeal to a different type of persona. Various elements are incorporated into the design to appeal to each lifestyle, such as surf and music combined with the ethnic design trend. All lamps, tables, and decorative elements were designed exclusively by Masquespacio. The Bold Graphic patterns of Masquespacio breathe life into this refurbished 19th century Valencian Casa.
Wallyard Concept Hostel in Berlin
Berlin’s first concept hostel, the Wallyard, opened earlier this year and is already trending with travelers due to its Instagrammability. It is a cool, modern contemporary stay founded on providing guests with the opportunity to explore the city through a local lens, all while providing the warmth of a homestay.
As Berlin Natives, the concept was founded on the owners sharing the love of their home city. The idea is to make travelers feel welcome by providing a Home Away From Home”. This is realized through the design, which incorporates shared spaces, exploration of the city, and the many social events where guests have the opportunity to connect with locals. Bikes are available for hotel guests free of charge to explore Berlin like a local. Guests are free to join Mama’s breakfast, which the owner prepares daily.
The Wallyard’s casual interiors provide guests with an at-home feeling. However, when it comes to décor, the Wallyard is anything but boring!! The hotel’s design consists of an eclectic mix of influences. Think adventure meets art, meets urban jungle. The space includes private and dormitory rooms, a lounge, and an art salon that functions as a gallery space.
Guests can go for a cocktail at the Wallyard and have a true, authentic Berlin experience by mingling with the city’s locals.
The Wallyard is located in the Mobait district, an artistic hub that is home to a thriving art scene. The neighborhood provides the perfect location for local exploration of the city’s nightlife and many other must-see areas with trendy happenings. The Wallyard certainly tops our list as one of Berlins’ Trendiest Stays .
Viajero Hostel, Miami
Book a stay at this candy-colored South Beach Hostel to explore Latin Vibes. Viajero translates to traveler in Spanish, and the name really says it all. The international chain of Lifestyle Hostels and Co-Living spaces was founded in 2005 by two friends, Lucho, a Columbian, and Fede, an Uruguayan, who met in a hostel while backpacking abroad. The concept was created to bring like-minded travelers and digital nomads together in unique spaces where they can work, relax, and socialize. Viajero has fourteen locales throughout Latin America, each with its own unique vibe.
All are strategically located in distinct settings. Visitors can explore many unique things about a place, such as the culinary culture of Mexico City, surfing in Uruguay, exploring the sea of seven colors in Sant Andres, or a magical mountainous stay at a colonial guest house in Columbias coffee producing region of Salento.
The South Beach location is the first in the United States. It is two-thirds hotel and one-third hostel. Room options include a penthouse with 360 views, single rooms with king and queen-sized beds, dormitories where sleeping accommodations range from 8 to 4, bunk beds, doubles, and singles. There are also options available for family rooms.
It sits in a historical building reimagined with colorful Columbian Vibes. Things to explore are the cool Art inspired pool, surrounded by colorful cabanas, and Delirio’s, Viajero’s Caribbean-inspired poolside bar!!! There is even a super cool Game Room!!! The best part of all is that stays can run as low as 11 dollars a night!!!
The Independent Hostel & Suites, Lisbon
It is no secret that Lisbon has the highest number of award-winning Hostels. The city has it all when it comes to unique experiences rolled into affordable stays. Enter the Independent, a Boho-Inspired Hostel set inside two renovated 19th-century palaces between two of the hippest neighborhoods Lisbon has to offer.
The Independent has been around for quite some time now. However, the hostel recently revamped its image during the pandemic with a new re-opening to appeal to a new class of travelers, who expect a more localized experience and a sense of community when exploring their wanderlust.
The Independent’s new slogan is Eat, Drink, Explore, Have Fun, Sleep & Rest, A model that characterizes the new wave of hostels and how travelers’ taste is shifting.
New additions to the Independent include; a unique gastronomic experience where guests can partake in communal dining, live shows by local musicians, social gatherings, private film screenings, lively parties with local DJs, and most of all, the opportunity to experience the authenticity of the city and connect with locals.
Oostel Tulum, Smart Hostel
With a model like Nomads, Art, and Chill, Oostel Tulum is the perfect place for digital nomads. When one thinks of Tulum, hostels don’t usually come to mind. People usually think of luxurious stays. However, with a new wave of hostels such as Oostel underway, that is quickly changing. Oostel has all of the things one loves about Tulum such as a boutique bohemian vibe mixed with eco-jungle all rolled into one stay. The hip eclectic hostel is conveniently located on Tulum’s beach, and to top it off. It even has its very own Cenote Pool!
Selena, Hostels & Co-living
Half Boutique Hostel, Half Co-Living space, Selena, is a one-of-a-kind concept that combines beautifully designed accommodations, co-working, recreation, and local experiences. With 145 locations globally, spanning from Tulum and Cartagena to Porto and NYC, Selena is quickly becoming one of the fastest-growing hospitality start-ups worldwide. From centrally located urban settings to beachfront and remote Amazonian jungle, Selena has quite an impressive range of options when it comes to stays.,
All locations are uniquely designed using upcycling, a process which calls on local artists to revive existing buildings. Each location functions as a microcosm of its surroundings by bringing out the best a city has to offer in terms of design, cuisine, and one-of-a-kind experiences that make a destination unique. For example, all of the brand’s outposts feature on-site restaurants offering Farm to Table cuisine derived from locally sourced ingredients. There are also many options to unwind with group activities such as meditation and rooftop yoga to promote wellness, along with culturally immersive experiences and one-of-a-kind excursions such as live music and dancing, surfing, and skiing, hikes in the jungle and locally curated tours to unlock all of the best hotspots a city has to offer.
Selena’s model provides its guests with a global infrastructure to travel and work seamlessly. All locations are equipped with High-Speed wi-fi and a co-working space that offer opportunities for creativity and networking to support the digital nomad lifestyle. Accommodations range from rooms to suit high-end travelers to backpackers and groups. Options include luxury rooms, comfortable suites, micro-rooms, and some locations even offer stays in beachfront hammocks. The co-living arrangement is key and is an excellent deal for digital nomads or those who want to try out a new location but aren’t sure. Selena offers multi-city packages where travelers can pay a monthly fee of $450.00 to bounce around 3 times a month, or a Co-live Flex, where guests can stay 30 nights in up to 10 of Selina’s different locations.
Tent Hotels was created with the adventurous traveler in mind—one who enjoys an eco-friendly lifestyle without giving up the conveniences of a modern stay. The concept takes inspiration from a blend between the camping lifestyle and that of a hostel. Instead of a traditional room, guests sleep in a tent outdoors to get closer to nature. A stay at the Tent Hotel does not mean guests must sacrifice modernity. Each hotel features a full-service lobby, up-to-date social areas, a swimming pool, 24 hr wi-fi, a gym, a bar, and a bottomless brunch daily from 8:00 a.m. to 1:30. Tent hotels are also centrally located so that guests can explore the best parts of the city.