Swanky Hostels From $11/Night (Really!)

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Lounge poolside at Freehand Miami with an artisanal cocktail made from the on-site hydroponic garden's herbs.
— Adrian Gaut
Lounge poolside at Freehand Miami with an artisanal cocktail made from the on-site hydroponic garden's herbs.
— Generator Hostels
FREEHAND MIAMI: The shared Super 8 room is the most affordable way to crash at the Freehand Miami. Complimentary social activities like beachside yoga and night swims are organized by the hostel's activities concierge, along with bike rentals for pedaling up and down Miami Beach's famous boardwalk (thefreehand.com).
— Adrian Gaut
GENERATOR AMSTERDAM (and other cities): In step with the university theme, bright-orange books line the Library at Generator Amsterdam. Head to the basement's boiler room to find a secret bar. Other Generator hostels are located in Paris, London, Venice, Berlin, Barcelona, Hamburg, Copenhagen, and Dublin. Coming this summer: Stockholm and Rome (generatorhostels.com).
— Generator Hostels
CIRCUS HOSTEL BERLIN: Smack dab in the middle of Berlin's trendy Mitte district, Circus Hostel provides easy access to the area's café culture, shops, and nightlife—and an on-site restaurant with a 5-euro all-you-can-eat buffet breakfast (from about $22 per night for a shared room, from about $64 for a private room, circus-berlin.de). With a focus on social spaces and varied programming like live DJs and storytellers who recount Berlin's unique history, the hostel stays true to the city's roots—even making its own beer in the microbrewery downstairs.
— Zoë Noble
CIRCUS HOSTEL BERLIN: A bed in an eight- to 10-bed dorm-style room (above) will run you less than 25 bucks. Walking tours and bicycle rentals are free; if you want a ride with more power, electric motorbikes and Segways are available for rent from about $14 (circus-hostel.de). Or upgrade your stay at Circus Hotel across the street, which offers private rooms and apartments from about $64 per night (circus-berlin.de). Read all about the hotel here: Three-Day Weekend: Berlin.
— Zoë Noble
FREEHAND CHICAGO: A 1920s building in Chicago's art- and shopping-centric River North neighborhood is home to the Freehand Chicago (including its opulent lobby, above) (from $33 per night for a shared room, from $143 for a private room, thefreehand.com). Like its sister property in Miami, it has its own Broken Shaker bar, plus Café Integral, which serves Midwest-inspired "Mesoamerican comfort food" like Nicaraguan shakshuka—eggs poached in salsa ranchera ($10).
— Adrian Gaut
FREEHAND CHICAGO: A shared quad room at Freehand Chicago (above). Organized activities include free walking tours of the Windy City and discounted Cocktails + Crochet sessions. The next U.S. city that the hostel brand plans to conquer? Downtown Los Angeles (thefreehand.com).
— Adrian Gaut
KEX HOSTEL, REYKJAVÍK, ICELAND: A repurposed biscuit factory houses the Downtown Reykjavík KEX Hostel—"kex" is the Icelandic word for biscuit (from about $32 per night for a shared room, from about $181 for a private room with bathroom, kexhostel.is). Weekly jazz concerts are part of the property's repertoire, as are Cozy Sundays, a schedule of family-focused events like acting classes and children's yoga.
— Börkur Sigthorsson
KEX HOSTEL, REYKJAVÍK, ICELAND: Make new friends on the heated outdoor patio or in the hostel's gastropub, Saemundur í Sparifötunum, which emphasizes locally produced and foraged cuisine with a focus on Icelandic heritage, like local salted cod and smörrebröd (buttered rye bread) topped with shredded pork (entrées from about $19, kexhotel.is).
— Börkur Sigthorsson
THE WAYFARER, SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA: Soak up California cool at The Wayfarer hostel in Santa Barbara, situated in the city's Funk Zone art district (from $54 per night for a shared room, from $149 for a private room, pacificahotels.com). 
— The Wayfarer
THE WAYFARER, SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA: A house-made craft soda station awaits travelers in The Wayfarer's lobby, and breakfast is complimentary. Morning yoga by the heated pool, winery tours, and local pub crawls are on the schedule every week, along with Sunday afternoon DJ'd Splash Bashes and pop-up shops featuring handmade goods (pacificahotels.com).
— The Wayfarer
DOWNTOWN BEDS, MEXICO CITY: Previously a 17th-century palace, Downtown Beds Mexico City offers amenities including a rooftop pool terrace and jacuzzi with city views (from about $11 per night for a shared room, from about $31 for a private room with a shared bathroom, downtownbeds.com).
— Undine Pröhl
DOWNTOWN BEDS, MEXICO CITY: Downtown Beds is right in the middle of Mexico City's colonial district, the UNESCO World Heritage site Centro Histórico (downtownbeds.com), and adjacent to the historic, affordable four-star hotel Downtown México (from $147 per night, downtownmexico.com).
— Undine Pröhl
CLINK 261, LONDON: One of two Clink London locations (one more just opened in Amsterdam), Clink 261 is a small property near King’s Cross Station bursting with whimsical Big Ben– and queen–themed art. Booking a bunk in one of its 18-bed rooms is an incredible value (from about $15 per night for a shared room, from about $57 for a private room with sink but no WC or shower, clinkhostels.com).
— Clink Hostels
CLINK 261, LONDON: A book exchange, Wii, a free all-you-can-eat breakfast, and access to sister property Clink 78's ClashBar are perks of staying at the hostel. Clink 261 especially touts its women-only dorms, with either four or eight beds (clinkhostels.com).
— Clink Hostels
SAFESTAY EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND: Billed as a luxury "poshtel," the brand-new Safestay Edinburgh, in the building that held Scotland's first printing press, joins Safestay's three other properties in London and York (from about $26 per night for a shared room, from about $85 for a private room, safestay.com). 
— Safestay Edinburgh
SAFESTAY EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND: Within walking distance of must-sees like the National Museum of Scotland, Safestay Edinburgh has cheeky decor that incorporates Scottish heritage, from tartan-plaid chairs to locally made prints adorning the walls (safestay.com).
— Safestay Edinburgh
HONORABLE MENTION: MICHELBERGER HOTEL, BERLIN: An uber-modern riverside hotel a stone's throw from the Berlin Wall's East Side Gallery, the Michelberger isn't technically a hostel but does have dorm-style lodgings with up to six single beds per room (from about $84 for a king-bed "cosy" room, from about $274 for a six-bed room, michelbergerhotel.com). It's an ideal setup for a bachelor/bachelorette party home base, a place to house a band, or a family stay.
— James Pfaff
MICHELBERGER HOTEL, BERLIN: Named "the Big One," these rooms (above) at the Michelberger sleep six and are available in different configurations for privacy or group gatherings, such as work retreats. The property has a full-service restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner—with vegan and raw options—and hawks its own brand of herbal schnapps, inspired by traditional German recipes (from about $36 for a bottle, shop.michelbergerhotel.com).
— James Pfaff

You'll never think of the word "hostel" the same way again. These upscale, design-forward properties in fashionable locales from Amsterdam to Miami offer stylish (and comfy!) shared accommodations and affordable private rooms too.

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