Not all hostels are rollicking crash pads filled with backpackers and international revelers. We scouted 10 stylish, budget-friendly hostels for adults where sophisticated travelers will feel right at home.
The trendsetting Freehand brand has just two locations (the other is in Chicago), but it's already made a mark in the hotel world. Despite its proximity to South Beach, this quirky hotel-hostel hybrid manages to maintain a laid-back vibe, with retro furniture, vintage art, a leafy courtyard and pool, and spotless rooms (both shared and private) that are surprisingly large for this neck of the woods. Whatever you do, don't miss a visit to the Broken Shaker, Miami's hottest cocktail bar that earned itself a James Beard Award for its artisanal cocktails mixed with flowers and herbs.
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The Blue Hostel, Rome
It may read like a boutique hotel—housed in a 17th-century former convent, overlooking a serene courtyard—but, by definition (and name), the Blue Hostel is anything but. If you can live without a 24-hour reception desk or restaurant (we think you can), this is an incredible find in the heart of one of Europe's most visited cities: each of the six individual rooms has original timber ceilings, parquet floors, and complimentary towels (with cleaning service included), and the Colosseum is a scenic 15-minute walk away. Did we mention free WiFi?
Generator Hostel Amsterdam
The Generator chain transformed the European hostel concept into something with serious design chops, large public spaces, and some of the hottest hangouts in town. The brand's new outpost in Amsterdam comes complete with an airy café featuring stained-glass windows (it also serves a mean avo toast), a basement club with its own dance floor, and an auditorium-turned-bar with upper-level seating and a BloemBloem light installation made of beakers. Bonus: the unrivaled views over Oosterpark make up for the hotel's distance from Amsterdam's Canal Belt.
Casa Gracia, Barcelona
Casa Gracia might charge a little more than your average hostel, but you get what you pay for—all those little extras you never normally get, like hairdryers, shampoo, air-conditioning, and daily turndown. Choose between mixed dorms and private double rooms or rent an entire apartment--either way, you'll be spending more time downstairs, thanks to nightly entertainment in the bar (local guitarists and flamenco shows are popular acts) and a common area that feels more like your neighborhood coffee shop than a hostel lounge.
The Local NYC, Queens
Despite its name, The Local NYC is actually based in Long Island City, Queens—an arguably better spot to bunk down (you'll get to skip the Manhattan crowds and insane hotel prices). The buzz here revolves around the ground-floor café, which serves a mean iced coffee and was an instant hit with locals looking for a place to work. The hostel's funky interiors pay tribute to the surrounding industrial neighborhood—exposed light bulbs and piping, brick walls, eclectic art—while rooms, split between dormitory-style bunks and five Queen rooms for couples—are stylishly spare. Don't miss a peek at the roof deck, which sports incredible views of the Queensboro Bridge and Manhattan skyline.
Gallery Hostel Porto, Portugal
Smack in the city center, Gallery Hostel Porto gives you a taste of Porto's arts heritage (just look to the hotel's art collection, free walking tours, and rooms named after local writers and architects). Younger crowds spring for the communal dorms, but there are multiple twin rooms for older folks wanting a little more privacy, each with their own ensuite bathroom and views of the adjacent garden. Another highlight: the culinary perks include free daily breakfast (with homemade cakes), barbecue Sundays, and a well-stocked wine bar (for filling those later hours).
Independente Hostel & Suites, Lisbon
The artsy Independente, an Art Deco mansion near Lisbon's buzzy Principe Real, looks like it was plucked straight out of a Wes Anderson movie set—all soaring ceilings, vintage art, and mismatched furniture. The highlights are its two notable restaurants: The Decadente, where Portuguese flavors are served on an alfresco patio, and the rooftop Insólito, where couples canoodle over sweeping Atlantic views. If bedding down in triple-bunk beds isn't your speed, book one of the four suites, which come with tiny balconies and ensuite bathrooms.
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#Bunk Taksim, Istanbul
#Bunk's concept, based off social media's ubiquitous hashtag, means rooms and spaces are Instagram-ready. The various accomodations (including private double and twin rooms with luxurious city views) are mostly white on white, but look up to find prints of the city's other incredible ceilings—the Byzantine dome of Hagia Sophia, an ornate mosque, a chandelier. The rooftop has a hot tub overlooking the neighborhood rooftops, where you can catch some sun before it slips below the horizon, but the property's main draw is the bohemian café on the ground floor. Done up in kilim rugs, marble tables, and a smattering of record players, it serves up Turkish coffees by day and DJ performances by night.
We Hostel Design, São Paulo
How a bonafide hotel group didn't scoop up this gorgeous 1926 mansion two blocks from Ibirapuera Park is beyond us. São Paulo's most attractive hostel gives the rest of the city's boutique sleeps a run for their money thanks to the design vision of native architect Felipe Hess: think original parquet floors, vintage lamps, restored midcentury-modern furniture sourced from flea markets, and subway tile backsplashes in rooms flooded with natural light. In addition to free WiFi and an over-18 policy, our favorite features are the glassed-in game room with its low chalkboard ceiling (perfect for writing cheeky notes to fellow guests) and the wraparound porch lined with hammocks from which to soak in the quiet Vila Mariana neighborhood.
City Circus, Athens
When it comes to Athens, you can't get more centrally located than in the hip Psirri district, an up-and-coming neighborhood filled with provacative street art. Here, you'll find this four-story restored mansion, which has all the makings of a stylish boutique stay—frescoed ceilings, tile floors, flea market furnishings, Dada-esque wall collages of acrobats and circus motifs. The rooms themselves are hyper-basic, but its the rooftop bar, with its views of the Acropolis, that has us sold.