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Forget about the traditional hostel concept. Now they are luxury, and cheap. Here is a complete guide to know which to pick.
You walk in a room, carrying your bags and are standing by the bed where you will be sleeping for a few days, weeks or, perhaps a whole season. There are a few other beds and sitting on one of them a young guy looking relaxed reads a magazine, smiles and says Hi!. An unexpected experience which is nice and shocking at the same time, but it will always be the first impression.
Hostels are one of the main alternatives when it comes to travel: they combine incredibly low prices (sleep in Prague for the laughable price of €4.20 per night), comfort, hygiene or extras such free breakfast (in most cases), free internet, big living room areas with books and films for travellers to use, free city tours or free drinks 24HR, and even a whole kitchen for you to prepare your own lunch and therefore keep your travel expenses at minimum.
Perhaps the premium of staying in a hostel is that when sharing a room and the common areas offers the opportunity to meet people from around the world (literally). The dorms vary in size depending on the number of beds: from compact singles to immense rooms where 32 people share the same roof. It’s a lottery where you will always come as a winner: comfort, cleanliness, good prices (visit the beautiful Rome for less than €10 per night) but above all, multicultural. All in one place.
Hostels allow for socialising, getting to learn about different cultures, a chance to gain a new travel companion or even the beginning of a friendship. “Some people are under the erroneous impression that hostels consist of cheap and low quality accommodation. We want travellers to see for themselves that’s not the case. For the hotelier, running a hostel should be about providing an ideal atmosphere for socialising without losing sight of the quality in the service. While for guests, it’s about meeting people on-the-go, about having a pint at the bar with someone you never met before, with whom the next day you will happen to be discovering a great city.” Says Agustin Favano, Manager at Palmers Lodge Swiss Cottage, one of the most highly regarded (by guests) hostels in London. Housed in Victorian listed mansion (where you can sleep for €15 per night) built in 1883 in Swiss Cottage, close to Hampstead.
Perhaps that’s the biggest difference with a conventional hostel: the fact that sharing a room, because the quality of the service is (or should be) just as good or, even better, than at a traditional hotel. “If one chooses a hotel it’s because we only need a place to sleep. But if you are in the mood to meet other travellers, gather tips about places to visit and having a more relaxing and informal experience, it’s definitely better to stay in a hostel” adds Favano.
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