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What makes a hostel great

Travel Forums General Talk What makes a hostel great

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1. Posted by TylerJames (Respected Member, 333 posts) 24 Oct '06 13:57

what are the essential things a hostel must have to be a great hostel.

  • a good chill out room with a tv and some videos and a pool or ping pong tbl
  • Bar is a must
  • Good hot showers
2. Posted by Sander (Moderator, 4392 posts) 24 Oct '06 15:16

Personally I'd say a lounge with comfortable couches without tv (so there'll be actual socializing, rather than everyone sitting hypnotized by the same crappy programs as at home). In warmer climates, replace with hammocks somewhere outside where they're likely to catch a breeze.
Couldn't care less about a bar, but totally agreed on the showers.

All the most awesome hostels I stayed at had one trait in common though - which if not sufficient for it to be a great hostel, I'd at least call essential - namely really involved owners/managers.
These wouldn't be people working an eight hour shift there and then going back home, but people who actually live in the hostel and love running it, who're present nearly fulltime, know half the backpackers there at any given moment by name (especially if you stay for more than two or three days), have great knowledge about the local area and go out of the way to recommend activities to do and sights to see.

During my two years travelling I've stayed at four or five hostels like that, and I loved them all to bits, always staying there far longer than I'd originally planned, or returning as soon as I had the chance.

3. Posted by bentivogli (Travel Guru, 2398 posts) 25 Oct '06 00:56

Couldn't agree more, Sander. Plus, somewhat decent matrasses in the bunks really are a BIG plus in my view; it is amazing what crap you sometimes find.

4. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru, 4567 posts) 25 Oct '06 03:42

Warm enough
Friendly staff
Bathrooms near dorms(as opposed to them being so far, that i am sleepily feeling my way along a chilly corridor, during the night)
Good value for money

Mel

5. Posted by -reece- (Travel Guru, 1368 posts) 25 Oct '06 10:26

A swimming pool and a place where apparently it only rains 5 days a year.Like the Damajuana Hostel in Mendoza,Argentina ive just spent the last 2 weeks in.As well as the awesome people i met there.

Ah Bliss!!!!!!!

6. Posted by tway (Travel Guru, 7274 posts) 26 Oct '06 05:57

I stayed in one hostel that had a tiny private bathroom covered from floor to ceiling in Italian travertine tile. Wow. It was beautiful. My must-have, though, would be the ability to actually sleep. I don't mean it should be a monestery, but rather a place that actively enforces mutual respect. I think that may tie-in with Sander's point about owners actually living there.

7. Posted by philo (Full Member, 107 posts) 26 Oct '06 11:31

Cleanliness. A hirty hostel- especially a dirty bathroom/toilet is horrible, and just makes you want to get out of the hostel ASAP

8. Posted by jindy (Budding Member, 46 posts) 2 Nov '06 13:28

Quoting Sander

Personally I'd say a lounge with comfortable couches without tv (so there'll be actual socializing, rather than everyone sitting hypnotized by the same crappy programs as at home). In warmer climates, replace with hammocks somewhere outside where they're likely to catch a breeze.
Couldn't care less about a bar, but totally agreed on the showers.

All the most awesome hostels I stayed at had one trait in common though - which if not sufficient for it to be a great hostel, I'd at least call essential - namely really involved owners/managers.
These wouldn't be people working an eight hour shift there and then going back home, but people who actually live in the hostel and love running it, who're present nearly fulltime, know half the backpackers there at any given moment by name (especially if you stay for more than two or three days), have great knowledge about the local area and go out of the way to recommend activities to do and sights to see.

During my two years travelling I've stayed at four or five hostels like that, and I loved them all to bits, always staying there far longer than I'd originally planned, or returning as soon as I had the chance.

yep, thats it. the owners, managers and staff are what makes any hostel. i have stayed in dozens and dozens of hostels, and i have worked in 3. all have been a great experience, but the ones where u spend as much time socialising with the people running the place as you do with the other guests are always the best, and have the potential for the craziest parties!! ;)

9. Posted by mim (Travel Guru, 1276 posts) 3 Nov '06 06:09

Music in the chill out place is always great, and a bar, I stayed at this fantastic hostel that had a little room with free internet access little bar/cafe for beers/coffe etc and loads of nice plants,

I also think a nice owner/manager always helps, same hostel the guy that run it was awesome, well accomodating, at his busiest time he found a different room for us every night!!

10. Posted by robjwood (Full Member, 2 posts) 4 Nov '06 03:33

After travelling around the world all of last year I made this top ten list of what I considered every good hostel should have. Some of these have already been mentioned.

1. Hot water - After a long day of sight seeing, it is nice to clean up with a nice hot shower, not warm or cold as we often found.

2. Friendly staff - Staff to answer your questions, but that don't hassle you to go on their tours.

3. quiet evenings - A quiet time in the night that is enforced, say after midnight.

4. individual bed lights - arriving late at night you don't like to turn on the main light and wake everyone to find your bed, and it is also for reading your guidebook in bed preparing for the next day.

5. free breakfast - It can be a cheap thing for the hostel to supply and makes a great start to the day of sightseeing.

6. soap supplied in bathrooms - Too many times there is no soap. Again a simple and cheap thing to do.

7. hooks or other place to hang your own clothesline - being able to hand wash and hang out clothes is essential for budget travelling

8. showers with somewhere to place your clothes/towell - In shared bathrooms, there is often nowhere to put your belongings without getting them wet.

9. kitchen - Being able to cook your own meals saves time and provides a break from the local food.

10. free internet - Convenient for booking next hostel and researching the places you are visiting, without accounting for every second.