Forget dirty dorms, bed bugs and cramped bathrooms – these gorgeous, unique hostels are clean, comfortable and a huge bargain. Most of them come with private rooms, cool on-site bars and restaurants, and even a private terrace for sophisticated travellers.
Reel in the hearts with snaps of yourself sleeping in a bookshelf or capture the sunset from your Art Deco-themed bedroom – these design-centric lodgings are definitely worth travelling to for the Instagram shot. #NoFilterNeeded
1: Pretend you’re an interior decorator
If you dream of living in the pages of an interior magazine, book a stay at The Freehand in Chicago now. Located in the artsy River North neighbourhood, this wallet-friendly “hostel-hotel” hybrid is furnished with original art in every room – including painterly murals, totemic carvings and traditional embroidered textiles.
Prices start from $48 per night.
2: Sleep in a library
Want to curl up with a good book and fall asleep… in a bookshelf? Book and Bed Tokyo is a bookstore-themed hostel in the bustling Ikebukuro neighbourhood of Tokyo with beds built into bookshelves. With over 1,700 English and Japanese books for avid page-turners to cosy up to, leave your Kindle at home for this trip.
Prices start from $42 per night.
3: Sip champagne on a private terrace
Once occupied by the Swiss ambassador, The Independente is housed in a historic building right opposite the São Pedro de Alcântara viewpoint in Lisbon. With high ceilings, tall shuttered windows, art deco furniture and a private terrace for you to take in the scenery, you’ll hardly believe that you’re in a hostel at all.
Prices start from $160 per night.
4: Go green in a tipi
Camping will never be the same again after a stay at the tipi retreat at YHA Raglan. Situated in Raglan, which is on the beautiful west coast of New Zealand (a two-hour drive from Auckland), the hostel offers unique accommodation in the form of a conical tent nestled within the native bush. Nature lovers will also appreciate the sustainable model here, which includes solar-powered LED lighting and heated showers, composting toilets and gravity-fed fresh mountain stream water.
Prices start from $74 per night. Tipi Retreat is only available from December to April.
5: Wake up in a former biscuit factory
The three-storey Kex Hostel in Reykjavik used to be home to a biscuit factory that manufactured the iconic Icelandic biscuit, Mjólkurkex. Today, it is one of the most stylish hostels we’ve ever seen. The eclectic furniture is handpicked by a set designer who went on a transatlantic scavenger hunt (think Bauhaus lamps, East German school desks and Amish church benches). Other photogenic spots include the resident restaurant (which evokes serious Brooklyn vibes), an old-school gym, a barbershop and a Shoreditch-type bar that serves craft beer.
Prices start from $43 per night.
6: Dwell in a Beijing hutong
One of the most authentic experiences you can get in Beijing is living in a hutong, an alley lined with traditional courtyard houses. Peking International Youth Hostel is located in Nan Luo Gu Xiang, one of the capital’s most known hutongs. Every corner of the shabby-chic hostel is Instagram-worthy, thanks to an abundance of communal spaces brimming with vintage furniture, potted plants and homely touches.
Prices start from $30 per night.
7: Dance the night away in a treehouse
Those with a fear of heights may want to skip this one: Kadir’s Treehouses in Olympos, Turkey lives up to its name as a hostel made up of treehouses where your wildest childhood fantasies can come true. With an on-site dance club and two bars, this rustic charmer is a top choice for adventurous party-goers.
Prices start from $15 per night.
8: Experience Danish design at its best
Generator Hostels are known for their design-fronted accommodation, and this Copenhagen outpost is one of their most outstanding works. Housed in a luxury apartment complex designed by Philippe Starck, this hostel showcases the best of Danish design with custom furniture and an expert mix of bold colours and patterns that will inspire major #apartmentenvy.
Prices start from $30 per night.
9: Go deep in thought in a subterranean world
Built 10 metres below ground level, Radeka’s Downunder is a family-run hostel that resides in a former opal mine in Coober Pedy, South Australia, where 60 percent of local residents live underground. Take the 34-step climb to the surface for endless desert views, guided mine tour, or a stroll in one of the neighbouring historic town sites.
Prices start from $36 per night.
10: Stay in a 200-year-old Israeli mansion
Every place has a story to tell, and we bet the Fauzi Azar Inn has plenty to share. Once home to the Azars, one of the richest and most powerful families in the Galilee region of Israel, this two-century-old stone house is tucked away in the heart of the Old City in Nazareth. The beautiful arched windows, marble floors and 5m-high frescoed ceiling are just some of the spectacular backdrops waiting for you here.
Prices start from $27 per night.
For more travel stories, check out Armchair Travel To Beautiful Landmarks Of The World or These Are The Best Times To Travel Anywhere. Or for more on Living, head here.