As a backpacking couple, hostels and cheap hotels are our playground – whether we’re traipsing around South America or island-hopping in Southeast Asia. We’ve stayed in a variety of accommodation – from upscale resorts to vacation rentals to funky dorms; but casual hostels have always been more of our style. Naturally, we were excited when Hostelbookers announced the results of its Awards for Excellence 2012 today. Now in its third year, the awards recognizes the the top dogs in the budget accommodation industry, judging them based on reviews and feedback of travelers.
Winners have been divided into six different continents and 13 categories – including overall top 3 accommodation, best atmosphere, best newcomers and best value cheap hotel. Properties were required to have a minimum number of 25 reviews and bookings to be eligible for the awards and, with so many quality properties to choose from, each hostel was limited to winning just one award.
Here are some hostels that we think are worth mentioning for their outstanding performance:
Travellers House – Lisbon, Portugal
This eclectic hostel truly lives up to its name as a traveler’s house, with its inviting lounge areas, comfortable giant bean bags, teakwood book shelves and generally fun atmosphere. Earning a spot on the top three properties in Europe, this centrally located hostel in the Baixa district of Lisbon is within walking distance of all Lisbon’s major tourist attractions and has connections to the city’s transport system on its doorstep.In a 250-year-old building, travelers can chill out in their music lounge, read their collection of guidebooks and surf the internet on the iMac.
Clink 78 – London, England
This has to be one of the most attractive hostels in Europe based on the photos alone – clearly the reason why it won a spot on the top 3 most popular hostels, awarded to those that received the highest number of bookings. Set in a former courthouse, Clink78 combines 200 years of history with a quirky and colorful interior in London King’s Cross. Dubbed one of the most original hostels in London, this funky hostel attracts travelers with a unique slogan that says ‘Sleep in an authentic prison cell! Chill out The Clash stood trial!’ Enough said.
Sydney Harbour YHA – Sydney, Australia
This is a hostel with one hell of a view – the Sydney Harbour YHA has an opened roof terrace that reveals a stunning panorama of the iconic Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. One of the top three properties in Oceania, this is YHA’s newest Sydney hostels and its location in the vibrant Harbourside Rocks precinct makes it all the more exciting. I’ve stayed in several YHA properties in Australia and they’ve never let me down, so I’ve got no doubts this hostel deserves to win the award!
NapPark Hostel @ Khao San – Bangkok, Thailand
A new hybrid that borders between a boutique hotel and a design hostel, NapPark Hostel must be a dream come true for flashpackers and design buffs. It’s easy to see why it’s one of the top three properties in Asia – with stylish all-white dorm rooms and slick earth-colored lounge areas, the hostel is designed with the wandering spirit of travelers in mind, providing a real Thai-homestay experience without compromising quality and style. It might be located close to the crowded Khao San Road, but upon entering its doors, you’ll be engulfed by a zen sensation and tranquility.
Dar Hafsa – Fez, Morocco
Awarded as one of the top three properties in Africa and the Middle East, Dar Hafsa received an overall rating of 99.2% from all of its reviews. This atmospheric hotel is a traditional 19th century Moroccan home made up for four rooms, all beautifully decorated with Arabic kilim rugs, Moorish lamps and ornate tile work. . An open floor plan with multiple indoor balconies gives the house a cozy feeling, but not at the expense of privacy. A roof-top terrace offers an expansive view of the Fes Medina and the Riff Mountains. This hostel received over 195 reviews on its Hostelbookers site, with many of them praising owners Karim and his family for their hospitality and warmth.
Krishna Palace – Jaipur, India
Voted as the best property for couples in Asia, Krishna Palace has received over 297 reviews to date, with majority of them giving a 100% rating for atmosphere. This heritage property – with its Rajasthani-style carved arches, gardens and pavilions – has the exterior of a palace rather than a budget hotel. While rooms have a slightly old fashioned touch, they’re very clean and spacious, according to reviews from travelers. Krishna Palace is located in the heart of Jaipur, India, close to the train station and central bus station.
*For the full list of winners worldwide please visit Hostelbookers’ Awards of Excellence 2012 site.
*All photos are courtesy of Hostelbookers and the respective hostels.
Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this post, all opinions above are my own.