We all start somewhere. For hostels, it’s no different. They’ve reimagined the ‘new kid’ experience on a global scale. Working throughout 2021 to win over the entire hostel community. They’ve got guts. Our panel of HOSCARs’ judges chose these five to bag themselves their first award. A shiny new award, for a shiny new hostel… who gets your vote?
YellowSquare – Milan, Italy
Fashion. Finance. FOOD. Take us to Milan darling. We could visit northern Italy’s fabulous fashion capital just to strut through the streets and sip on oversized glasses of Valtellina. But now, there’s a new spot in town. YellowSquare has set up shop in the Porta Romana district. Think Aperol spritz-drinking, up-and-coming, bar-crawling hub for students and young professionals. A cosy mix of dorms and private rooms surrounds countless communal spaces. In no particular order… ‘The Chapel’ (don’t be fooled, it’s a nightclub); a hair Salon; co-working spaces; play Area; an outdoor courtyard and even an aquarium. Chef it up in vegan cooking classes before screeching your heart out in Karaoke. YellowSquare is the queen of inclusive, communal living and a homing beacon for creative professionals, digital nomads, and all you adventure seekers.
Lolo Pass – Portland, United States
Portland has had it rough the past few years. Since the pandemic, they’ve dealt with everything from protests to wildfires. And much more in-between. Lolo Pass opened in May 2021 as a welcome escape. An inclusive community; an art hub; a watering hole; a safe home. Forever easy-going, vibrant, unique and inclusive. Visitors are welcomed by their vibrant commission-free art gallery. Fancy a drink? Flit between buzzy rooftop terrace to trendy neighbourhood coffeeshop. Serving only local products, their restaurant is the spot for sampling Portland’s culinary delights. By hosting events, fundraisers and art shows they’re doing their bit to bring people together and introduce travellers to the wonderful community Portland has to offer.
Bluebird Hostel – Riga, Latvia
You may be fooled into thinking Latvia’s capital is far too reserved for a backpacking adventure. Within each Art Nouveau building lies an up-and-coming bar or bustling restaurant just waiting to be discovered. Hostel Bluebird opened its grand doors in November 2020. While the exterior isn’t short on 20th Century magnificence, its selling point is its rooms. With privacy in mind, it’s easy for guests to feel safe and secure sharing with strangers. Venture into your dorm to find wooden eco-beds with fabric curtains that keep out light (and people.) Once tucked in, it’s time to get comfy. Charge up with personal power outlets, lights and a special pocket for all your possessions. The beds are made of wood which blends in with the design of their Nouveau Jugendstil building while retaining an authentic vintage feel. This, partnered with a buzzy atmosphere reminiscent of your favourite city hostels, makes it easy to see why travellers can’t stop coming back.
Black Llama Hostel – Miraflores, Peru
Miraflores is Lima’s answer to Selling Sunset. A slice of the high life, it’s the place for travellers to splash their cash in the city’s top bars, clubs and restaurants. Black Llama delivers a cultural cocktail in the midst of Peru’s elite. Chefs come weekly to cook authentic Peruvian cuisine for hungry hostellers. They also feature live music from local artists. It’s a unique space built by travellers for travellers. It’s lively. Artistic. Hip and happening. Their rooftop bar features a retractable roof, and in every corner, you’ll spot upcycled objects given a new lease of life. A strong culture of fun and round-the-clock assistance keeps raving reviews rolling in. All who share a desire for adventure and exploration will find a welcoming home at the Black Llama.
Whale Tail Hotel – Costa Rica
The start of Marino Ballena National Park is marked by a rocky formation in the shape of a whale tail. Perched here is Costa Rica’s newest hostel entry. Whale Tail Hotel, Brewery, and Surf Club is the essence of the expression ‘Pura Vida.’ Spread over 6 acres of coastal wilderness, come here to enjoy the nature trails, pools, surf school, brewery, coffee house, and coworking environments. All within the campus. Surf. Music. Yoga. The three pillars of the hostel. This is a place where you can catch waves, jam out and unwind; all in the company of the best backpackers known to Central America.
Have you cast your vote? Once you’re done, head back to explore more EXTRAORDINARY HOSCARs finalists!