What makes a good hostel?

They have the potential to make or break a trip and they can heavily influence how you feel about the city/town you’re staying. Hostels can form the bedrock of your stay wherever you are so what are the key ingredients of a good hostel?

1) Showers

Particularly important when staying in hot, sweat-inducing climates. Water pressure must be good, trickles are unacceptable as is the visibility of any electrical wiring. The ability to choose water temperature is a big plus. Proximity to room also important.

The Prince of Wales in Singapore

2) Dorm sizes

Depending on the experience you’re looking for, six to 12 bed dorms are wholly acceptable. Anything over that tends to lead to unpredictable nocturnal activities. Bunk beds are fine as long as joints are well-oiled to minimise squeakage. If there is space for a communal card game, this is a bonus.

3) Kitchen

Should be proportionate in size to the number of guests at the hostel. Adequate numbers of hobs, microwaves and sinks should be provided as well as surfaces for for food preparation. A sufficient amount of cutlery and crockery should be available including tin openers lest guests are forced to stab tins open with a big knife. Free tea and coffee is a bonus and if the area is well ventilated this is considered a plus.

4) Location

Dorm room in 1770, Australia

Should be in a safe area and within walking distance of nightlife, so as to facilitate not getting lost on the way back after a night out, and public transport so guests may easily find/get to attractions, etc.

6) Communal area

A pool table and/or table football and a book exchange are all good features of a communal area thus providing ample opportunity for increased guest interaction. Also important are comfortable sofas and a TV and DVD player. NB the book exchange must be book for book, not book plus money for book and must contain more seven books to qualify.

What’s crucial in a hostel for you?


3 comments on “What makes a good hostel?

  1. Oh wow, I had not heard of Airbnb, initial look at their website and it looks pretty good. Not all of them (definitely not all of them!) but I actually think hostels have come a long way but it’s the people that can ruin your stay as much as anything. The classic 2am light switch being a top pet peeve!

  2. Certainly as a couple I find airbnb & flipkey affordable in comparison to a hostel, and often you get a nice host too. But as a solo traveller perhaps hostels are still better in terms of meeting people.

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