Over the years I’ve stayed in hostels all over the world. I remember my first experience well. I’d decided to go on a city trip to New York by myself and chose the cheapest accommodation in Manhattan, which happened to be in Harlem. The hostel looked alright and was situated in an old building which I thought was charming. I arrived super late and in the room I couldn’t find an empty bed. The other girls assured me that one of them was empty and removed the bags that were on top. In the middle of the night I woke up because another girl tried to climb into the same bed as me. The hostel had overbooked the room…
Since then I’ve stayed in hostels all over the world, including Paris, Berlin, Los Angeles, Windhoek, Taipei and Christchurch. Some are good, some are bad. Some are ordinary and some are really special. Here are some hostels that I remember well and had something special going for them
YHA Santa Cruz – the carmelita cottages unique
This is one of the cutest hostels I have ever stayed in. The hostel’s rooms are divided over several cottages that date from the 1870s. This is a small hostel close to the beach and it doesn’t have the massive kitchens, 24H reception and anonimity of the large hostels. In return you get the feeling you are staying in a dolls house, the prettiest thing. The building has charm and character and makes you feel welcome. This hostel is especially pretty when all the flowers are blooming.
Jailhouse hostel Christchurch unique and outstanding
Ever wondered what it’s like to spend the night in jail? In Christchurch they changed an old jail into a youth hostel. The inside is still like it used to be, only with a fresh layer of paint. Ceilings are high and the original heavy doors still in place. The jail has a lot of private rooms that are quite small. The prisoner didn’t have much room and neither will you. For the big dorm room they broke some walls and this actually makes it feel quite spacious. Apart from the cool venue, the hostel has friendly staff and excellent facilities.
Friendly Fun Franks, Riga outstanding
I had a great stay in this very laid back hostel. At Friendly Fun Franks they organised a walking tour and bar crawl for its guests which was really amazing. Even though I was the only one on the walking tour, they still went and showed me all the cool places around old town. I loved hanging out in this place, meeting people and sharing thought over a drink. I felt welcome and very much at home.
YHA Sydney Central outstanding
This is the backpackers accommodation for flashpackers. If you’re sick and tired of dirty showers and crowded kitchen, try this slightly more expensive hostel. It is stretched out over several floors and designed for the masses. There is huge kitchen with everything you need and there is even a movie theater playing a different film every night. Being in this hostel was just a relief after spending several nights in Sydney’s most disgusting hostels.
Radeka down under in Coober Pedy unique
Coober Pedy is a town that is largely built underground. The climate is absolutely killing with temperatures rising to the 50 degrees celcius in summer. To get around aircon bills, the inhabitants of Coober Pedy carved their houses like they carved the tunnels for opal mining. The majority of the population lives underground where there is a nice temperature all year round. In Coober Pedy you can sleep underground as well in a big hostel with a thick steel door. It looks like you’re entering a bunker and I can’t really call it charming, but it definitely is an experience. The dorm room is gigantic and has small alcoves that are separated by curtains and house two bunkbeds. This is perfect place for a sleep in since there are no windows and once the doors close it is ever night!
St. Christopher’s Inn Canal, Paris outstanding
Another hostel in the category luxurious is this one in an unexpected area of Paris. I came here not long after it had opened and was very impressed with the facilities. The beds all have curtains for privacy and your own reading light and power points. This is so luxurious after spending time in hostels with one plug for a room of eight. Besides this every bed has a convenient locker underneath the bed. Attached to the hostel is also a very nice café where even the locals come to have their coffee and croissants.