The last three years, I’ve been a huge advocate of hostels particularly now that I have stayed in more than a hundred of them around the world. Sure, there have been absolutely fantastic ones, outrageously bad ones and of course the sickeningly ugly ones. But you could give those descriptions to any accommodation anywhere.
But as I enter the winter years of my twenties (due to begin a third life crisis), my aching bones coupled with the desire to stay in with a cup of tea reading a book rather than partying three nights in a row, has me wondering. Maybe it’s time to upgrade from a hostel. Sneakily, for the last couple of months, I’ve been scouting around for ‘Luxury Hostels‘ which seems to have it well sorted for ‘mature travellers’ (I hate that saying) and flash packers. But many people ask me, why not simply a hotel?
With such a wide variety of accessible hotels around the world, the room is my oyster. Why don’t I live it up at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas or book an underwater room in the Maldives? Sure enough they would be more pricier but sometimes it’s argued you would get much better value for money and a much more personalised customer service. Therein lies my issue. Do I get value for money for what I want? Can this tight-fisted Yorkshireman believe spending more would get more value? I could be convinced but only if they meet the criteria below to convince a hostel loving traveller to be converted to stay in a hotel.
This is a big reason why I don’t stay in hotels. As normally a solo traveller, the last thing I want is to be shown to my room and expected to stay there and explore out of the hotel into the city without meeting other travellers. I simply would get lonely and before you know it I would be booking into a hostel nearby. So what can the hotel do? Create a communal room where travellers can relax in comfort. Host activities that can get everyone talking with each other, however daring or cheeky. Many great hostels do this and I’ll always remember being asked to create body contortions with a stranger I met five minutes earlier to become a long life travel friend. Just simply create a community within the travellers and destroy stereotypes and the language barriers. We are harmless, you know, we won’t bite…
Staying in hotels in the past, one of the things I absolutely enjoy doing is taking a tour around the city or area. Only if it’s the RIGHT Tour. Many times I have browsed the selection of tours in dismay to find it’s all very highly priced and far too touristy. Sometimes, you won’t even get out of the tour bus as you whizz by attractions with only a moment to snap a picture and catch up with a bored tour guide spouting well rehearsed scripts. So what can hotels do to convince me to stay with them? Simply put on a variety of tours wether budget, luxury or even free! Yes, free! Free walking tours by enthusiastic locals are proving very popular and a fantastic way to see the sights and hear stories behind them. Many walking tours offer a pick up service from the hostels, why not simply do the same for hotels?
Local and Character
I may be shooting myself in the foot when it comes to hotels, but I would very much prefer to say in locally run hotels by local people rather than corporate hotel chains run by graduates from another country. Don’t get me wrong, they can give absolutely fantastic service but they don’t add to the charm of the place if you’re in a different country. I would like to be challenged, cross the language barrier and share stories with the staff. How would a normal national home be run for example, an Austrian Alp home etc. I don’t mean themed rooms or tacky tourist styles, just a pleasant stay that meets all required standards with paintings of the area and several gadgets thats unique to the country.
Transport Links and Location
Location, Location, Location is definitely how choose where to stay in a city. Ideally, my preferred location is the historical centre of the city that would provide accessibility to various sights and activities. It seems that hostels have really taken advantage of the fact to which I really appreciate. Many hotels seem to think we want to be out of the city and catch expensive public transport to said sights and activities. That’s another thing. Transport. Great transport links within the city such as trams, buses etc that has a stop outside the hotel would be most convenient.
So what should hotels offer me to convert me from a hostel loving traveller?
Community, Local, Character, Tour Variety, fantastic transport links and central location.
There you have it. Now convert me!