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As frequent readers know, we love to talk accommodation options – from 4/5 star hotels to guest houses, hostels and of course, housesitting. As far as paid-for accommodation goes, price is not the determining factor of the quality of your stay – customer service, cleanliness, style and accountability are. That’s why we were excited to pick up on a trend taking over Europe – the fact that city hostels across the continent have seriously upgraded. No longer are budget travelers relegated to average, run-of-the-mill accommodation Instead, hostels are emerging as a quirky, alternative place to stay for both pleasure and even business.
2013 is expected to be a breakthrough year for the hostel industry, with 21st century firms accelerating their redevelopments and refits across to meet growing demand. Super-styled hostels, in the current economic climate, are proving a big hit with travelers seeking a ‘hotel within a hostel’ that offers all the amenities you come to expect from an affordable hotel.
Hostel owners are increasingly choosing to re-style their accommodation with a vibrant, welcoming look and urban social spaces and trendy bars that challenge even the swankiest hotels for customer satisfaction; causing a stir among budding backpackers.
In order to obtain that boutique look, many hostels have hired the creative brains of interior designers to demonstrate that cheap chic is possible. Dutch and Canadian designers, Edward van Vliet and Anwar Mekhayech, have had their hand in recent hostel redesigns.
Van Vliet’s work with the Dutch Stayokay chain and Mekhayech’s handiwork on the new Barcelona hostel from Generator is in line with their belief that style-savvy explorers should no longer feel obliged to compromise on a city escape.
New-age hostels are also attracting exciting new demographics. No longer are hostels simply a place for students and backpackers to party; recent surveys suggest a significant increase in the number of families and senior citizens reserving beds and private rooms in hostels.This new generation of hostel accommodation caters to those wishing to sample the vibrant and eclectic atmosphere whilst enjoying the ability to take time out with personal living space and bathroom facilities to freshen up at your own convenience.
The ability to interact with people from a diverse range of backgrounds, sharing experiences and gaining recommendations on the coolest things to see and do and make new friends in the process, creates a rather unique social scene that only a hostel provides.
Despite making new friends, privacy and security are always going to be an issue, and these super-styled hostels have also successfully addressed the issue of security for their guests. The vast majority now boast private lockers to store luggage safely when sharing dormitories with strangers. Location is also key when choosing a place to stay on your travels and the beauty of new-age hostels is their centrality. They allow you to get under the skin of your destination city and experience its cultural heartbeat.