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Travelling on a budget and staying in luxury quarters are no longer mutually exclusive. The negative preconception of a shabby bunk bed with unsettling roommates doesn’t apply to a recent wave of high-end hostels, also known as “poshtels” – these luxe lodgings combine prime locations with affordable prices. Here’s our round up of the best, all for under £50 a night.
This constellation of turquoise tiles, pastel-blue floors and pink sinks sums up heavenly designed 1940s warehouse-turned-hostel Oddsson. Combining local touches with international design, the newly opened spot represents what we love about Nordic countries: offbeat, forward-thinking and ahead of its time. At Oddsson, the luxury is in the details: custom-made furniture (most of which has been locally manufactured), integrated wardrobes, colour compositions à la David Hockney and views over Faxa Bay. Thanks to stripped-back surfaces and exposed pipework, the industrial-chic vibe is channelled throughout the bistro, Italian restaurant and communal lounge, complete with vintage chairs and sofas. For budding singers and cinephiles, you’ll find a movie and karaoke room – why not practice by singing along to the music wafting out of the lift? Don’t miss a trip to the rooftop hot tub.
Bangkok is the unofficial capital of poshtels. From party-central Khao San Road to arty Ekkamai, there are plenty of design-led hostels available, but The Quarter – just a stone’s throw from Siam Square and right next to the skytrain – has got to be our favourite. It stands out thanks to clean, bright design and a penchant for Scandi-inspired touches. While all rooms have plenty of storage space, soundproof windows and privacy curtains, some come with queen-size bunk beds for the ultimate night’s sleep. The cleanliness is second to none and – great news for all creatives on the move – the accommodation offers a spacious co-working space that includes free coffee and snacks. If you’re just here to rest up, make use of the hammocks on the rooftop and enjoy the views over the city. Freshly made breakfast treats are free for all guests, while the neighbourhood has plenty of good street-food options.
Situated in an 1890s railroader hotel and adjoining a mid-century warehouse, this new hostel is a combination of comfortable beds (but late nights), live music and slow-cooked barbecue – exactly what you want from a trip to Austin. Native aims to break the mould of hospitality by offering guests a culture of affordable yet noteworthy travel in the city renowned for its music and craft-beer scene. The design channels a Texan farmhouse with rough-hewn limestone walls and retro-inspired hotel lounge, while the rooms feature wooden, hand-crafted bunkbeds with privacy curtains, Persian rugs and leather stools. Aside from the bar and kitchen serving food from early until late, the accommodation has an on-site coffee shop and parlour with space for co-working.
Located in the heart of the city of gondolas and carnivals, We Crociferi allows you to sleep (and party) in a former monastery. In contrast to its walled courtyard, original frescos and Romanesque columns, the old cells have been turned into contemporary housing units catering to the adventurous traveller. Although only open to guests during the summer months (when it becomes a hangout for locals and tourists alike) the hostel offers an array of activities – think outdoor movie nights, karaoke sessions and art workshops – that are well worth the wait. While the dorms are kept simple, the communal areas are where the experiential design comes to light. Inside the ancient walls, warm lights, vintage maps, open-brick structures and stripped-back wooden tables create an industrial contrast to the original medieval features. Don’t miss out on the traditional Italian dishes served at the restaurant and bar – or having a few Aperol spritzes in honour of your pious predecessors.
This 1926 mansion-turned-design-hostel is one of the first of its kind in the bustling Brazilian city. While the white building is already eye-catching thanks to art deco features and columns, the carefully curated social areas inside also stand out – think high ceilings, carved arches, double doors and wooden floors paired with retro furniture and minimalist accessories. Located right next to Ibirapuera Park in a residential but central neighbourhood, the hostel regularly hosts outdoor parties to bring locals and visitors together over caipirinhas, beer and music. For calmer nights, guests can choose between movie sessions and cooking classes or rest up in the lounge areas, where plenty of magazines and books are available.
Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia
Bali has developed into a hub for digital nomads and conscious travellers and Kosta epitomises the eco-travel movement in the area. Close enough to action-central Canggu but still offering a quiet retreat, the property is recycled from old Balinese houses and comes with a pool nestled in its lush garden. Whether you’re heading to the island to surf, party or relax, this place feels like an Asian version of Alice’s Wonderland, where turquoise-painted walls and frames match rustic stone floors, furniture and contemporary room accessories. The lodge is run by professional surfers who can not only advise on where to hit the best waves, but are happy to show you around the peaceful place they call home.
If contemporary design doesn’t spring to mind when you think about Moscow, think again. The first of its kind, this hostel adds an elegant contrast to the various Soviet-inspired bars and restaurants many tourists come for. Just a stone’s throw from the main attractions such as the Red Square, it is located in an up-and-coming neighbourhood known for backyard bars and cafés, independent galleries and vibrant nightlife. The exposed-brick rooms and common areas come with plenty of attention to detail, such as up-cycled wooden tables, vintage prints and fresh flowers, resulting in a homely feel. Additionally, an open-plan kitchen and reading room are available to guests throughout the day, while it’s worth sticking around for the traditional Russian breakfast.
Prague, Czech Republic
Famous for its design-led showers with autographed glass screens and rainfall shower heads, Miss Sophie’s offers elegant minimalism at a very low price. Housed in a restored historic building, this is where contemporary design details compliment charming original features – think petrol-painted walls meeting parquet flooring and glitzy chandeliers contrasting exposed-beam ceilings. Situated in Prague’s new town and strolling distance from Wenceslas Square, you’ll find plenty of restaurants, bars and shops nearby, as well as a metro station to help you get around the city easily. Every morning, the in-house chefs prepare a hearty breakfast presented in an all-you-can-eat buffet.
The Generator has it all, whether you choose the chain to explore Berlin’s techno scene, seek la dolce vita in Venice or admire fashionable locals in Copenhagen, Located all over Europe, these carefully curated hostels combine what the cultured traveller seeks: affordability, comfort and great design – without the group of gap year teens throwing up and/or shagging next to you. While its northern counterparts’ interiors are rather minimalist, the Rome and Paris offerings are done up with colourful patterns on walls, floors and furnishings, bright lights, vintage sofas and a rustic bar offering.
If you’ve come to the Hungarian capital to fulfil your Grand Budapest Hotel fantasies without spending a fortune, look no further than the Maverick. It doesn’t get more luxurious than this hostel housed within a renovated mansion house built by the Habsburg Dynasty. Centrally located, close to the River Danube and a 15-minute walk from main tourist attractions, the surrounding neighbourhood boasts a number of cool coffee shops and places to find traditional Langos (salty fried dough served with cheese). Contrary to the usual hostel experience, there’s not a bunk bed in sight; expect spacious and clean dormitories featuring antique furnishing, many of which even have fireplaces. This is accommodation fit for royalty, but without the price tag to match.
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