Hostels – yes, we said hostels – are making a comeback: Here are 6 you should try

These days, not every hostel sleeping area resembles a military barrack. (Photo: Generator Venice)

If you swore off staying in hostels after your college trip to Europe, it might be time to reconsider. Modern-day hostels come with concierge service, Wi-Fi, restaurants, bars and more. Some are so swanky, in fact, you’d swear you were in a boutique hotel. In addition to the shared rooms you may associate with hostels, many offer private rooms as well.

“The great thing is, travelers don’t need to break the budget to experience luxe hostels,” says Marian Slevin, voice of customer lead at Hostelworld. “The benefit of booking a hostel is beyond a room – the community and social aspects that hostels generate are priceless.”

Freehand LA
Los Angeles

The social areas at Freehand LA include a lobby bar, specialty coffee bar, full-service restaurant, and a James Beard Award finalist rooftop bar with 360-degree views of L.A. (Photo: Freehand LA)

This super stylish gem of a hostel in downtown L.A. is in the repurposed Commerical Exchange building. Here, it’s easy to get to know fellow travelers at the rooftop pool, fitness center or at the four dining locations, including a lobby bar, specialty coffee bar, full-service restaurant, and a James Beard Award finalist rooftop bar with 360-degree views of L.A.

It's not every day you see a pool at a hostel. But Freehand LA has one on the roof, along with a bar. (Photo: Freehand LA)

The unique hostel, designed by Roman & Williams interior design, offers room service, valet, a retail shop, curated events, daily housekeeping and a bellman. As if that wasn’t enough, the location is a quick walk to the metro, LA’s fashion and financial district, LA Live and loads of nightlife.

More information: FreehandHotels.com

Generator Venice
Venice, Italy

The stylish bar at Generator Venice will generate memories even if you don't have a drop to drink. (Photo: Generator Venice)

This high-style hostel located on an enclosed bay of the Adriatic Sea is inside a 19th-century grain house on the island of Giudecca. Inside, the decor is welcoming with exposed, original wooden beams, worn metals, mosaic floors, blown glass chandeliers, a stone fireplace and comfortable seating.

The common room at Generator Venice is the perfect spot to share a glass of Venetian wine. (Photo: Generator Venice)

With custom decor elements blending contemporary touches with traditional Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance architecture, it’s clear that this place hasn’t skimped on design.

More information: 

HI Whistler
Whistler, British Columbia

If your back is young and spry enough, you can stay in dorms that once housed Olympic athletes during the 2010 Vancouver Games. If not, there are larger, more comfortable beds in the private rooms. (Photo: HI Whistler)

This ultra-modern hostel was created as a way to house athletes during the 2010 Winter Olympics. So, it’s pretty snazzy. The rooms come with flat-screen TVs. Not to mention, some pretty dreamy vistas of the Coast Mountains.

More information: HiHostels.ca

The game room at HI Whistler in British Columbia. (Photo: HI Whistler)

There’s a game room with a fireplace, comfy sofas and internet terminals. Plus, a cinema-style TV room, with a 52-inch high-definition television. Grab a meal before you hit the slopes at the in-house cafe.

The Wayfarer DTLA
Los Angeles

The Wayfarer DTLA will open in December 2019 in Downtown L.A.’s historic Broadway Corridor and will feature 156 guest rooms. Some rooms will be equipped with bunk beds for four and an in-suite bathroom; the rest are private rooms with king-sized beds and are even pet-friendly (though a fee applies). 

The newest Wayfarer will have the feel of an intimate boutique hotel. Think: rooftop bar, communal kitchen, cafe and basement social club. And the location is close to microbreweries, art walks and the historic downtown neighborhood.

If Santa Barbara is more your style, the Wayfarer has a hostel there, too. Located smack-dab in the artsy Funk Zone and Urban Wine Trail, home to more than 20 wine-tasting rooms, it features complimentary Sunday sunrise yoga lessons and sunset bike tours.

Note that the Santa Barbara location charges a daily amenity fee of $20 per private room and $10 per person for shared rooms that includes parking, breakfast, kitchen and pool access as well as a 2-hour bike rental.

More information: Wayfarerdtla.com

The Bivvi
Breckenridge, Colorado

This stunning in-lodge hostel is an adventurer’s paradise. Nestled in the heart of the Rockies, the hostel is a quick walk to downtown Breckenridge. You can opt for a shared room with four or six bunk beds or a private room with a king-sized bed, private bathroom and balcony.

When you’re ready to venture out, head to the bike and adventure gear storage area in the summer or the ski and snowboard storage in the winter. Conveniently, the cabin-like hostel is a stop on the Breckenridge Free Ride bus route, so there are no worries if you don’t rent a car. 

In the morning, there’s a free hot breakfast (including homemade granola) and in the evening, guests can chill out in the lounge or library. When you’re truly wiped out, make a beeline to the hot tub or fire pit for views of the Tenmile Moutain Range.

More information:  TheBivvi.com

Kex Hostel
Reykjavik, Iceland

This stylish hostel is the brainchild of several buddies ranging from filmmakers to former soccer players. Their goal was to create a space where locals and travelers could hang out together, have a beer and listen to some music.

It’s common to catch a band playing in the bar area or at Gym & Tonic, a small venue within Kex equipped with old-school punching bags. The space also doubles as an art gallery and movie theater, so it’s impossible to be bored.

More information:   KexHostel.is

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