These Boutique Hostels Will Make You Want to Ditch Hotels

Hostels: You either love them, or you’re terrified of them. These warm, welcoming, and sometimes extravagant hostels will make you question everything you think you know about them.

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Photo By: Courtesy of Hostel Fish

Photo By: Courtesy of The Crash Pad Chattanooga

Photo By: Townsend Bessent

Photo By: Courtesy of Sweet Pea's

Photo By: Courtesy of The Morty Rich Hostel

Photo By: Adrian Gaut

Photo By: Jeff Freeman courtesy of Travelers' House

Photo By: Courtesy of The Bivvi Hostel

Photo By: Adrian Gaut

Hostel Fish, Denver

With an eye for design and attention to even the smallest details, Hostel Fish in downtown Denver, Colorado, offers some of the swankiest dorm accommodations you’ll find. Its private rooms are especially full of character. Every bed has easy access to charging stations, and guests can go on hostel-hosted pub crawls. 

The Crash Pad, Chattanooga

The LEED-certified Crash Pad in Chattanooga, Tennessee, was inspired by Camp 4 in Yosemite National Park, known for being a climbers’ community. The Crash Pad’s co-founders moved to Chattanooga for its incredible rock climbing, and founded the hostel when they realized the community was lacking an outdoor recreation base camp, says co-founder Max Poppel. So they took the best of a community hostel, he says, and paired it with the the cleanliness and amenities you’ll find at a hotel. Boutique hostels like The Crash Pad are a growing trend, says Poppel, who visited hostels around the U.S. before opening his own. "It’s the experience, it’s the communal nature," he says. "It’s the guests you’ll meet and become friends with forever." Bonus: The Crash Pad has a sister bar and restaurant next door, and supplies fresh, free ingredients for you to make your own breakfast in its kitchen.

The Bunkhouse, Vail

The Bunkhouse, in Minturn, Colorado, just opened in 2016. Instead of using wide curtains for privacy in its bunk room, it built pods with walls. Crawl into your bunk like it’s a cocoon, and sleep tight: each pod has a fan for white noise, so your neighbors can snore away without bothering you one bit. Couples or families staying at The Bunkhouse can rent a private quad room, where you can push two twin beds together to form a king.

Sweet Pea's, Asheville

At Sweet Pea’s in downtown Asheville, North Carolina, dorm dwellers can make themselves at home after a long day in the mountains. The large and open kitchen is fully-equipped and ready for guests to cook up a storm together.

HI Houston, The Morty Rich Hostel

At HI Houston, The Morty Rich Hostel, guests stay in a historic mansion complete with an in-ground pool. "The bar for hostels has definitely been raised over the past 20, if not 10, years," says Netanya Trimboli, director of PR and communications for Hostelling International USA, which runs more than 50 hostels. "You’ll start to see more amenities and nicer linens, and a more thoughtful approach to design."

Freehand Miami

Freehand Miami bills itself as the United States’ "first upscale hostel." With amenities like bocce ball courts, a large in-ground pool, a bar that serves cocktails made with herbs and spices grown in an on-site garden, and richly decorated bunk rooms and common areas, they’re certainly not joking about being high-end.

Travelers' House, Portland

Hostels are quickly becoming a safe, affordable way for people to travel within the U.S.—vital for millennials looking to stretch their dollars. "Post-recession, the hotel market significantly suffered," says Grant Williams, founder of the Travelers’ House in Portland, Oregon. "Not to say that hostels are 'recession-proof,' but we had to move toward community more. We had to look at [different] ways of traveling." At Travelers’ House, guests can choose between bunks and private rooms with shared bathrooms, all under $90. 

The Bivouac, Breckenridge

The Bivvi in Breckenridge, Colorado, may be the pinnacle of high-end when it comes to hostels. Guests can soak in the communal hot tub—or stay in a private room with its own—eat a home-cooked breakfast every morning, play board games with other guests in front of a roaring fire in the fancy lounge, and, in the winter, have rental skis delivered right to the hostel. 

Freehand Chicago

You can score a bunk bed for less than $30 at the Freehand Chicago. But if you’ve got money to burn, you can rent a lavish penthouse for $850. A bar and cafe in the hotel serve specialty cocktails and light fare. The chain is run by hotel developer Sydell Group, which is building new Freehand locations in Los Angeles and New York City.

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