i can´t really put my finger on the reason i perfer n ot to stay in HI hostels. maybe most just lack personality or unique charecter. in my experence all HI hostels have been bacicly the same, rules stirict at times, a feel like your just a number rather than a person. and a feel like its a big corpration like burger king or kfc of the hostels.
It might be helpful if you specify which part(s) of the world harbor(s) the hostels that have spawned that opinion.
Personally I absolutely loved nearly every single YHA (aka HI) hostel I stayed at in both Australia and New Zealand. The flagship ones in both Sydney, Auckland and Melbourne were somewhat on the impersonal side, but the smaller YHA hostels in each of those cities more than made up for that lack, and many hostels in small(er) villages like Lake Tekapo, Picton or Mackay were just overflowing with charm, character and awesome atmosphere, often directly attributable to their awesome owners/managers.
The one YHA I stayed at in Germany wasn't much to write home about though. No decent lounge area whatsoever, no communal kitchen (convenient though cheap prepared meals might be, I really like having a kitchen I can walk into at midnight to prepare a late-night snack, and fridges in which I can keep a couple of liters of drinks cool in), and it did indeed feel like a large impersonal institution.
[ Edit: Edited at Sep 15, 2006 6:17 PM by Sander ]
My thoughts exactly.Unless im desperate for somewhere to stay i never use Hostelling International now.
Either they are huge and strangely you never get to meet many people especially in the Wellington,NZ and Seattle,USA ones,thats off the top of my head but im sure theres more or they just seem boring and dull to me.
Plus they annoyed the hell out of me when i accumulated lots of points that could go towards free nights and then they decide to cancel it.
Luckily while in New Zealand i joined BBH and they put all the YHA Hostels to shame.
I think maybe it's the South American version of the HI hostels that suck a bit. They tend to have a LOT of rules and a really sterile atmosphere. That said, I ended up living in one for a few months...but that had more to do with the ppl I met there than anything else.
In NZ, the HI's or YHA's are generally really good and have quite a good atmosphere. Not as many rules as the SA ones.
One of the things I disliked the most about HI hostels on my trip so far is the feeling that they want to get as much money out of you as possible.
Ive been known to go on quite a few HI related rants!
I might acutally be biased on that. Because I have some friends working for the HI Hostel in Basel and Berne.
My experience on this is, that I normally got with HI a decent clean room for a good price. Some independent hostels might be cheaper but the risk ending up in a really dirty place is bigger.
theres nothing wrong so far asi can see.
i stayed at a HI in montreal that was amazing. and one in boston that was so-so. i think its all just hearsay. hit or miss.
I stayed in HI hostels in New Zealand as well, and liked them. I had a great trip. After that i only spend some time in hostels in lebanon, because of the big price difference with hotels. But nowadays, I prefer some mid range hotels with some athmosphere. Hostels I would only use in case of a lack of money or if i am desperate to meet people. But I perfectly understand why people go there, the atmosphere is great in general, although sometimes there are some types that i really do not like.
The smell, crowdedness, mess, lack of safety standards, noise and unpredictable quality of Independent Backpackers make me lovingly yearn for the good ol' days of YHI's !
I agree the few that lack character and are a bit strict stay in the memory, but to know that at the end of the day you have a safe refuge to go to and get some sleep makes it all worthwhile.
And in some countries they are by far the best.
As long as they are cheap and cheerful, i tolerate the rules. But i would prefer,if there were not curfews.