STF Jumbo Stay
A one-of-a-kind hostel inside a converted 1976 Boeing 747 jumbo jet, Jumbo Stay is located – appropriately enough – right next to Stockholm Arlanda airport. It’s grounded, of course, and contains everything you’d expect from a hotel, including flat-screen TVs and free WiFi. And in an ingenious move, the cockpit has been transformed into a luxury suite with panoramic views of the airport.
Doubles from £98 at STF Jumbo Stay
Safestay Kensington Holland Park
Luxury hostel brand Safestay opened its west London branch in 2015 in the east wing of the Holland House, a glorious Jacobean Grade I listed building. Yes, it spills over into the slightly less magnificent 1950s extension, but it’s just a few minutes’ walk from swanky Kensington High Street. While the heritage building’s traditional fixtures have been preserved, Safestay has modernised the interiors with its signature stamp, so you can expect all mod cons, such as free WiFi and touch-key room entry.
Doubles from £57 at Safestay Kensington Holland Park
The B.I.G. Backpackers
Cape Town, South Africa
B.I.G. stands for Backpackers in Green Point, a bustling area in Cape Town filled with nightlife and coffee shops. While there are six ensuite dorms for backpackers, the 12 private rooms (also ensuite) give it more of an upmarket B&B feel – as do thoughtful touches, such as the weekly barbecue, spotless swimming pool and three communal kitchens (one of which is pictured at the top of this page).
Doubles from £81 at The B.I.G. Backpackers
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Recognised as one of the Best Extra Large Hostels at the 2018 Hoscars awards, the 336-bed Freehand Chicago is housed in a classic 1920s building in the buzzy River North neighbourhood. Designed by Roman and Williams and inspired by Midwestern culture and Lake Michigan, it doesn’t look like a hostel at all. It’s filled with homely touches, such as warm sapele wood and fabric-based works by local artists and craftsmen. There’s even a gym and all-day café.
Doubles from £48 at Freehand Chicago
Baby Bush Lodge
The east coast of Zanzibar has one of the most dazzling coastlines in the world: white beaches, palm trees and clear ocean waters. Baby Bush Lodge, on the fringes of Kiwengwa Beach, keeps things simple and laid-back but effortlessly beautiful. Guests can choose from shared backpacker accommodation, private rooms in the main lodge or private bungalows looking straight out to sea. There’s a swimming pool, deck bar and chill-out lounge, but with that beach on your doorstep, what else could you need?
Doubles from £24 at Bush Baby Lodge
Once the 16th-century home of Philip II of Spain (and later a storage facility for all the beer in Ghent), the magnificent limestone building housing Hostel Uppelink is the third oldest in this historic city. After a sympathetic renovation, it’s been Best Hostel in Belgium at the Hoscar Awards every year since 2014, thanks to its excellent location, spacious rooms, high ceilings and modern facilities, including key cards, secure lockers and free WiFi. As it’s perched on the bank of the Leie River, you can also hire a kayak right outside to explore Ghent’s pretty waterways.
Doubles from £62 at Hostel Uppelink
Published April 2018. All prices are lowest estimated prices only and are subject to change. Charges may vary if you book through an online travel agent rather than the airline or hotel direct. Always check the terms and conditions applicable to get up to date information.