Budget accommodation around the world

Hostels / Britain

YHA London Central

Architecture and interior design company Blacksheep created the public spaces of this new £4.3m hostel, a stone’s throw from Oxford Street in central London. The result is a bright, contemporary and colourful hostel – a world away from the traditional dingy image. There are 294 beds in rooms sleeping between six and eight, with ensuites, a self-catering kitchen, common room, lounge, internet access and cool cafe/bar.

• From £17.95 for adults, under-18s £13.50 (               01629 592 700         01629 592 700 , yha.org.uk).

YHA Hartington

A converted 17th-century manor house in its own grounds in the Peak District, this historic hostel is all oak-panelled rooms and squishy furniture. Highlights include the oak-panelled Bonnie Prince Charlie room, where the hero once spent the night, and the award-winning Eliza’s Restaurant. For ultimate luxury stay in ‘The Roost’, a private apartment which doubles as a bridal suite and includes kitchen/diner and flat-screen TV. The largest dorms sleep eight. It suits families too, with family bunk rooms, adventure playground, pets’ area, games room and outdoor chess. A new cafe/bar opened this year.

• From £17.95 for adults, under-18s £13.50 (               01629 592 700         01629 592 700 , yha.org.uk)


Eastseven, Berlin

This laidback hostel, in a great location between the Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg districts in central Berlin, attracts travellers of all ages. It’s fairly small, which adds to the friendly atmosphere, and staff are happy to share insider tips on the city. Hang out in the homely kitchen, retro-style lounge or pretty garden (complete with picnic tables) or join a free walking tour. There’s a choice of dorms (the largest sleeps eight), as well as private rooms, all brightly decorated, and pluses include complimentary lockers, wi-fi and a modern self-catering kitchen.

• From £15 in an eight-bed dorm, private twins/doubles from £21 (hostelbookers.com)

Oops! Hostel, Paris

Opened last year in the Latin quarter, this little gem is bold and beautiful, with striking murals, patterned wallpaper and ensuite rooms and dorms. The creation of interior architect Philippe Maidenberg and graphic designer Daniela Millas, it offers free wi-fi and internet, and complimentary breakfast.

• From £24 in a six-bed dorm, with hostelworld (hostelworld.com)

Oasis Backpackers’ Mansion, Lisbon

Overlooking the river in the hip Santa Catarina district, the Oasis offers budget chic inside a wonderful historic building. Accommodation is in dorms with floor-to-ceiling French windows and Juliet balconies, with comfy mattresses and sparkling bathrooms. There’s wi-fi and 24-hour internet access, a rooftop bar, full cooking facilities and a garden barbecue for self-catering, or you can tuck into great-value gourmet dinners. Breakfast is included in the price. Free activities include Portuguese classes, a weekly backpackers’ party (held in a local club) and twice-weekly excursions to listen to Fado music. One- to three-day surf safaris with a former world champion surfer cost €50 a day.

• From £16 in a six-bed dorm (no private rooms) including breakfast, booked with hostelbookers.com

St Christopher’s, Amsterdam

Ideally located between Dam Square and the Red Light District, this hostel has funky dorms for six or eight, all with their own bathroom. There’s a chill-out room, private beer garden, the slick Belushi bar serving good value food and booze, and a buzzing nightclub, ‘The Winston Kingdom’.

• From £17, including breakfast (               00 31 206 231380         00 31 206 231380 ; st-christophers.co.uk)

Plus Florence, Italy

This hostel opened in March with terrace bar and restaurant overlooking the Duomo and indoor pool. Rooms range from private twins to mixed or single-sex dorms for eight. A women-only space offers big bathrooms, large mirrors, hairdryers, fluffy towels and complimentary cosmetics bags.

• From £17 in an eight-bed dorm with hostelbookers.com

La Controra, Naples

A converted 17th-century hunting lodge in the heart of Naples, La Controra is an atmospheric, historic hostel with an arty edge. The rooms have recently been refurbished, and you’ll find pieces of contemporary sculpture alongside retro furniture. The lush garden is a great place to relax in a hammock and swap travellers’ tales, while films are shown in the lounge/bar area (which is often used for art exhibitions, too). Choose from mixed dorms, family rooms or doubles.

• From £14 in a 10-bed dorm or £25 for a twin/double, including breakfast with hostelbookers.com

Rooms Deluxe Hostel, Valencia

Billing itself as a ‘deluxe hostel’, this place has many similarities to a boutique hotel. There are 28 rooms (single, doubles and triples), and you can pick the room you fancy – the calming ‘buddha’ room, the sensual flamenco suite or the soothing Mediterranean room. The open-plan, fully equipped kitchen and stylish living room (stick on a DVD of your choice) offer a modern take on the traditional hostel’s communal space. Next to the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, with beach and city centre close by, the location’s great, too.

• From £27 in a three-bed ensuite, with hostelworld.com

Further Afield

Equity Point, Marrakesh

A sanctuary of calm on the edge of the chaotic Djemaa el-Fna, Equity Point is a characterful riad-style hostel, with dorms sleeping up to 10, as well as double and single rooms. It’s decorated in true Moroccan style, with plenty of comfy cushion-strewn sofas, ornate mirrors and paintings and a softly lit inner courtyard. Head to the rooftop bar for amazing views and tuck into great-value traditional fare prepared by chef Rachida in the restaurant.

• From £12 in an eight-bed dorm with hostelbookers.com

Daddy Long Legs, Cape Town

Housed in a spacious Victorian building, this place could be called a hotel – but the self-catering kitchen and common room blur the hostel/hotel line. There’s no queuing for communal bathrooms – the 13 bedrooms are all doubles and each has its own shower and toilet. Rooms were designed by artists, poets and musicians, and there’s a lively bar and a cafe serving breakfast and lunch.

• From £38 for double ensuite with hostelworld.com

Imm Eco Hostel, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Opened this spring in huge tropical gardens not far from the city centre, the Imm Eco hostel is like a boutique hotel with dorms – all contemporary Thai decor, with wooden floors and stylish furniture. There are 71 rooms, ranging from twin rooms with private bathrooms to dormitories sleeping up to 12. Facilities include outdoor pool, chill-out common room, library, gallery, TV and 24-hour shop, as well as a shuttle bus into town.

• From £6 in shared room without ensuite (               0066 53 247 111         0066 53 247 111 ; immhotel.com)

Lub D Hostel, Bangkok

The owners of Lub D wanted to combine the ‘explorative spirit’ of a hostel with the quality of a premium hotel and the resulting sleek, contemporary property in central Bangkok is a haven for hostelling style-seekers. There’s a theatre with flatscreen TV and comfy beanbags, a trendy Yellow Donute cafe, a bar (with free popcorn), a women-only zone and a lobby with 24-hour internet facilities, where guests can show their photographs on a big screen. Air-conditioning and towels are provided in all rooms, from the 12-bed dorms to the doubles with queen-size beds and private bathrooms.

• From £6 in a dorm, special internet rate (               0066 2651 9501         0066 2651 9501 ; bangkok.com/lub-d-hotel)

Base St Kilda, Melbourne

It’s hip, cheap and close to the beach. Housed in a new red glass and polished concrete building, all the dorms and private rooms at Base have ensuite facilities, lockers and air-con – and the girls-only Sanctuary floor offers extra creature comforts (tea in bed, champagne in the evening, Aveda shampoo). Kick off your stay with a free drink at check in, and head to the popular Redeye Bar for happy hour, followed by games and pool competitions.

• From £15 in a dorm room for six with STA Travel (               0871 2300040         0871 2300040 ; statravel.co.uk)

Peking International Youth Hostel, China

In the heart of Beijing, just five minutes from the Forbidden City, this converted old house is set around a peaceful, green courtyard, offering a retreat from the frenetic city. The decor is traditional Chinese, with wood beams, antique furniture and colourful walls. There’s free wi-fi, a well-stocked library and a restaurant serving affordable local cuisine. Private and dorm accommodation available, the largest sleeps 12.

• From £7 in a 12-bed dorm with hostelworld.com

Tango Backpackers, Buenos Aires

In the lively, bohemian district of Palermo, Tango Backpackers is a fun place to stay, with friendly staff and spacious accommodation. Several old houses have been joined together to create a rambling property, with a large terrace for sunbathing, complete with showers. Spacious brightly painted rooms have high ceilings and wooden floors, with single-sex or mixed dorms sleeping up to six and double and single options too. There’s a 24-hour bar, fully equipped kitchen, high-speed internet, wi-fi and reading room, live music every Friday and an Argentinian barbecue each Saturday.

• From £7 in a dorm, through STA Travel (               0871 2300040         0871 2300040 ; statravel.co.uk)

Hostel Inn, Iguazu Falls, Puerto Iguazu, Argentina

There’s a real party atmosphere at this hostel, so if you’re looking for peace and quiet, check in elsewhere. The biggest pool in town is the centre of action, and there are volleyball courts, a football pitch and table tennis to keep you busy. Cook for yourself in the self-catering kitchen, or munch on delights from the restaurant. The weekly barbecue and tango and samba nights guarantee Latino-style fun. There are double and triple rooms with TV and air-conditioning, and dorms for up to eight with private bathrooms – and maid service and breakfast is included.

• From £6 in an eight-bed dorm with hostelworld.com

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