It’s peak award season for culture vultures and film lovers which means it’s also time for budget travel lovers to celebrate the very best of the world’s hostel accommodation.
As we eagerly await the much-anticipated Academy Awards, Hostelworld has announced the winners of this year’s HOSCARs (Hostelworld Customer Annual Ratings) to honour the top hostels worldwide.
And just as many of the favourites to win this year’s Oscars will be scooping the accolade for the first time ever if they’re successful, this year’s HOSCARs see an abundance of first-time winners across the board.
This ‘first-time effect’ is apparent in the Most Popular category with multiple cities in Colombia now featuring in the most booked destinations for travellers looking to meet the world.
Hostelworld saw a huge surge in bookings of 46% year-on-year*** in Colombia, so hostel travellers are putting the country on the map.
Latin America has certainly enjoyed a surge in popularity in recent years as it has become safer and more tailored to travellers’ needs.
Reviews from one million customers, made over the past year, determined which of the 35,000 properties in over 170 countries, would scoop a much coveted HOSCAR.
Reviews are based on key criteria; overall customer experience, value for money, security, location, atmosphere, staff, cleanliness and facilities.
The categories are broken down into property size, continent, country and city, as well as a number of special awards including Best Value for Money, Best New Hostel, Best Atmosphere and Best Hostel Chain, so competition was fierce amongst those vying for the number one spot.
Feargal Mooney, CEO of Hostelworld, said: “The annual HOSCARs continue to be the ultimate seal of approval within the travel industry, unveiling the most exciting, sociable and stunning hostels across the globe.
“Not only do the results, based on over one million reviews from the people at the heart of the hostel experience, our customers, allow us to say with authority that these are the best hostels in the world right now, they also uncover interesting travel trends.
“Budget conscious travellers are shown to be more adventurous with destinations than ever before, with Vietnamese and Colombian cities entering the most booked lists for the first time ever.
“This year’s list of firsts is a real reflection of Hostelworld’s ever-growing offering of fantastic accommodation options across 170 countries, all receiving rave reviews from travellers worldwide.”
So without any further ado, here are the biggest winners:
Best Small Hostel Worldwide:
Sungate One, Madrid, wins Best Small Hostel Worldwide for the first time ever, showing that Spain’s capital with its vibrant city life and culture continues to keep its allure. The hostel is conveniently found in a prime, inner city location in the much-loved neighbourhood, Centro, right next to great shopping areas, bars, cafes and museums. The common area is perfect for both chilling out and socialising and the fully equipped kitchen is an ideal spot for rustling up some tasty Spanish tapas.
Colombia features for the first time
New cities have been added to the Most Popular Hostel category this year with Colombia’s Bogota, Medellin, Santa Marta and Cartagena featuring in the list for the first time.
El Rio Hostel wins Most Popular Hostel in Colombia and it’s easy to see why it’s so loved. Set right in the middle of a stunning jungle, with some of Colombia’s best beaches just a 30-minute walk away, the hostel can organise surf board rentals and lessons with their friends down at All Good Surf. Palomino is just up the road, Tayrona National Park is 25 minutes away and the Lost City pickup point only a 10-minute walk.
Best Medium Hostel Worldwide
The much-loved concept hostel, Soul Kitchen’s recent expansion has seen them pocked the Best Medium Hostel Worldwide award this year (having won the Best Small Hostel category in both 2016 and 2017). A new generation hostel, Soul Kitchen, St Petersburg, is fitted out with glamorous ensuite private rooms, bijou custom bunk beds and a super-chic design throughout
Best Large Hostel Worldwide
Taipei debuts as the winner in this category thanks to the Start Hostel Taipei Main Station. The cosy hostel is the perfect place to unwind in after a long day of sight-seeing – travellers can relax in their famous green lounge and enjoy a fabulous night’s sleep in either its private rooms or dormitories. The hostel is just a 5-minute walk from Taipei Main Station and only 7 minutes away from Air Port MRT. It’s walking distance to Ning-xia night market, the much-loved Di-hua old street and Tai-yuan shopping streets, the theatre and the mall.
Best Extra Large Hostel Worldwide
Phuket, Thailand takes number one spot for first time ever thanks to the Lub D Phuket Patong which is a 3-minute walk to the beach and in the heart of the Patong entertainment district. The hostel boasts a large see-through swimming pool and a huge terrace which is ideal for sunbathing and enjoying a few beers and cocktails with fellow travellers. With an ultra-modern and cool design, the hostel has a huge lobby/common area with everything you need including a games area, a pool table and a unique Thai boxing ring.
Best Hostel in Australia
From Sydney’s Harbour Bridge to Melbourne’s iconic MCG, Australia is full of sights to see and heading up north to Cairns is where travellers will find the Best Hostel in Australia, Travellers Oasis. The relaxed, home-like hostel is a great base for exploring the Great Barrier Reef and features a swimming pool and an outdoor terrace for a true Australian BBQ. The hostel is ideally located next to Cairns Central station and is only around a 15 minute walk from the lagoon.
Best Hostel in New Zealand
Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of New Zealand and find the Best Hostel in New Zealand at Adventure Q2 Hostel. The small and cosy hostel is close to the all the wonders Queenstown has to offer including the idyllic Queenstown Gardens and the stunning view that can be seen from the Skyline.
Best Hostel in England
The YHA in Liverpool wins the Best Hostel in England category thanks to its excellent location and facilities. Right at the heart of everything Liverpool has to offer, this backpackers’ hostel is just a stone’s throw away from the historic Albert Docks, not far from the Tate and the International Slavery Museum, Maritime Museum and the famous Beatles Story. Don’t miss out on the ferry across the Mersey – the terminal is just a short walk away.
Best Hostel in Scotland
Castle Rock Hostel, just beside Edinburgh Castle, bags the number one spot in the Best Hostel in Scotland category. The palatial hostel is oozing with character, with a great mix of grandeur and a backpacker vibe. There’s plenty of space to meet others or find a quiet corner, and it offers spacious, themed rooms which are often described as ‘lovely and warm’.
Best Hostel in Wales
First in the Best Hostel in Wales category, the River House, is right in the centre of Cardiff and is family owned and run by a brother and sister team giving it a very warm feel. The breakfast is second to none and included in the cost of your stay and the full communal kitchen is perfect for keeping healthy meals (and your wallet) in check. Just a five-minute walk from buses, trains and attractions, it’s an ideal base for those wanting to explore the city and further afield in Wales.
Best Hostel in Ireland
The Galway City Hostel leads the Best Hostel in Ireland category and is the perfect starting point to explore all the attractions that Galway has to offer with its ideal location right beside the bus and train station next to Eyre Square. For those looking to explore further afield, you can book a tour to the Cliffs of Moher, Connemara and the Aran Islands at unbeatable prices directly from the reception area. Guests can enjoy free Wi-Fi, printing, breakfast, maps, event guides and luggage storage.
Best New Hostel
The Faloe Hostel in Malaysia wins the Best New Hostel category with its super cosy and relaxing atmosphere, spotless interior and fantastic location, just a stone’s throw from Kota Kinabalu city centre. There are three peaceful and extremely comfortable mixed gender and female only dorms, all with air conditioning and each bed has a private space with a locker, cupboard, international power plugs and reading light – ideal for getting a good night’s sleep or cosying up with a great book.
Best Hostel for Groups
Taking poll position in our new category for 2018 is the ClinkNOORD. Located in the culturally vibrant area of Amsterdam Noord, just 10 minutes from the back of Amsterdam Centraal Station, it’s the ideal option for groups of people looking for an adventure. With modern Dutch-style interiors and a friendly, laid back atmosphere, the hostel offers dormitory accommodation, private rooms, free Wi-Fi throughout the building and a great-value buffet breakfast for EUR 6,90.
For the full list of winners click here.