10 luxury hostels from around the world

While many people think of hostels as run down hotels with cramped rooms and few amenities, there are many properties that can actually make you feel as if you’re staying at a resort. For those who want comfort on a budget, here are 10 excellent luxury hostels from around the world.

Gilligan’s Backpackers Hotel and Resort Cairns
Cairns, Australia

Gilligan’s Backpackers Hotel and Resort in Cairns is without a doubt one of the best hostels I have ever stayed in. And if you’re looking for something a little more luxurious than your average youth hostel, this is an excellent choice. Rooms offered include 4,6,8,10-bed dorms, 4 & 6-bed deluxe dorms, 6-bed all female dorms, and private rooms. The accommodation has a resort-type feel, with balconies, a lagoon-style pool with a waterfall and palm trees, a makeshift beach with volleyball nets, and even gym access. They also have swanky nightclub that often hosts theme parties and hot DJ’s.StayON Beverly
Los Angeles, California

The StayON Beverly is definitely a step up from your average hostel experience. While there are no chefs or personal butlers, the accommodation is lot more like a hotel stay at a hostel price ($50 per night). First of all, they only offer private rooms with full sized beds and memory foam mattresses, free Wi-Fi, a desk, mini fridge, iPod-compatible music player, and even a flat screen television. Free waterbottles and spacious and clean minimalist design will leave you comfortable on a budget.

Broadway Hotel and Hostel
New York, NY

As soon as you walk through the front doors of The Broadway Hotel and Hostel, you will be enveloped in a contemporary design. The ambiance in the lobby is created using rich browns, dim candle light, and a fireplace, with the atmosphere continuing into both the 2-bedroom dorms and private rooms with modern wall art, European bed linens, and polished dressers. There are no large dorms here, and single person bathrooms give guests the privacy they desire, while the massage and rain shower heads add a luxurious element to the stay.

The Backpack and Africa Travel Centre
Cape Town, South Africa

Not only has The Backpack and Africa Travel Centre been awarded a 5-star backpacker lodge rating, it’s also eco-friendly, as it’s been awarded a Fair Trade in Tourism trademark. The rooms are stylishly decorated in an “Afro-Chic” design, many with features like skylights, fire places, and wall art, and include in-room safes. Don’t expect the usual unmatched bedspread look as seen at most hostels, as The Backpack and Africa Travel Centre ensures that all the beds in the room not only look alike, but also go with the decor of the room as a whole. The best part about the hostel is actually outside, as it features an in-ground swimming pool that will literally put you in the center of nature as it is surrounded by unique flora and fauna and the breathtaking Table Mountain. Enjoy the outdoor tile mosaic designs around the pool while sipping a cocktail and soaking in the scenery.

The Seven Hostel
Sorrento, Italy

The Seven Hostel is a property that is nothing like a hostel, aside from the budget-friendly prices. Inside, the decor is modern and trendy infusing neutral and Earthy tones with unique textures and furnishings. The rooftop terrace and bar is similar to something you’d find in New York City, with plush white couches and breathtaking views of the city, Gulf of Naples, and nearby mountains. Other amenities of The Seven Hostel include a trendy bar, a 24-hour reception and concierge for tour booking, a library and game room, free internet and satellite TV, and an outdoor solarium on the top floor for sunbathing.

Oasis Palace Hostel Seville
Seville, Spain

I’ve actually stayed in both the Oasis Palace Hostel Seville as well as the Oasis Hostel Lisbon and found both to be both comfortable and luxurious. The Seville location gets extra points, however, as it has a rooftop terrace and pool. There are also a lot of free perks, like Wi-Fi, city and cultural tours, linens, luggage room, a welcome drink, and a delicious breakfast including pancakes, crepes, breads, spreads and cereals. At night for a small fee (about 5 Euros), the resident chef creates local dishes like paella and grilled meats.

The Green Saman
Cali, Colombia

The Green Saman
is more than just a hostel; it’s also a spa, yoga center, and “gastronomic sanctuary”. The venue is actually a renovated mansion that features a swimming pool, sauna, and gardens for outdoor relaxation, while clean and spacious dorms and private rooms are available inside. The hostel also offers unique and worthwhile experiences, like language immersion courses, salsa dancing lessons, cooking classes, molecular gastronomy workshops, and free multicourse breakfasts served with upscale presentation during the week. Guests will also enjoy the healthy cuisine found at the on-site restaurant, which was voted one of the best backpacker restaurants in South America.

Hostel International Point
Calafate, Argentina

When staying at a luxury property most people expect great views, and Hostel International Point provides some of the best I’ve ever seen. What’s great about this hilltop hostel is that you don’t have to go outside to see the lake and countryside, but instead have access to panoramic views from everywhere in the hostel, including dorm rooms. The accommmodation offers spacious 4-bed dorms as well as private rooms, all with bathrooms so clean you won’t be affraid to soak in the bathtub. And in the morning, a delicious breakfast is literally served to guests, allowing them to eat without having to clean up or move from the table.

Eco Resort Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai, Thailand

Eco Resort Chiang Mai is one of the most upscale hostels I have ever seen. It’s immersed in the center of a massive, jungle-like garden in a quiet setting, giving guests access to a peaceful, majestic atmosphere right at their doorstep. An expansive cystral-clear in-ground pool set among dangling palm trees add to the ambiance, which takes on a romantic atmosphere at night when everything is all lit up. Inside, the spacious and immpecibly clean rooms are decorated in a contemporary Thai design, and guests can choose from private spaces or small dorms. Free Wi-Fi, cooking classes, tour bookings, outdoor art sculptures, a movie theater, gym, and library are also offered on premises. In fact, the place is so luxurious they even offer wedding packages.

Siem Reap Hostel
Siem Reap, Cambodia

The Siem Reap Hostel is more like like a resort than a hostel, as it offers both dorms and private rooms as well as an on-site spa that features massages, facials, mani/pedis, body wraps, and scrubs for $35 or less. There is also a poolside bar and restaurant so that guests can go for a swim or relax in the water with a fruity cocktail, Asian-style meal, or Western comfort food. Other amenities and facilities include outdoor gardens, free airport pickup, free Wi-Fi, a game room, tour desk, daily happy hours in the on-site bar, and a $2 all-you-can-eat buffet breakfast each morning in a beautiful setting.

Experience luxury, culture, and adventure in Dubai through timelapse

Apparently, you can see a lot in 3 days. This timelapse video captures freelance filmmaker Aaron Mendez‘s short visit to Dubai and actually manages to capture a mix of experiences. Luxury travelers will enjoy seeing the pristine beaches, buzzing nightlife, and high rise buildings of the city, while the adventure-enthusiasts can witness off-roading, sandboarding, and camel riding in the desert. And for a bit of culture, Mendez gives a glimpse into traditional dances and ceremonies as well as an authentic beach-front hookah bar. The film was shot using a 5D Mark ll with 24-70mm and 70-200mm. And for those who like the background music, it’s “Midnight City” by M83.

The graffiti art of Buenos Aires, Argentina, in photos

Buenos Aires, Argentina, is well known for its booming arts scene. One way to experience the creative side of the city while also getting to enjoy the beautiful weather and outdoor scenery is through the myriad works of graffiti art that adorn the various neighborhoods.

Although many people may think of graffiti as dirty, ugly, or associated with vandalism, Buenos Aires is actually home to some of the most beautiful graffiti in the world, created by actual artists. One group that works to promote street art in the city is graffitimundo, an organization that works with local artists to create tours of the urban arts scene. When discussing their beginnings and mission in 2009, they state, “We wanted to connect people with the art and artists of this unique movement, and highlight the cultural and historical context of the scene.”

For more information on tours with graffitimundo, click here. And to get a glimpse of the graffiti-ladden city yourself, check out the gallery below.


Get to know Belarus through the art of motion timelapse

This timelapse video, One Day in Life, was created by professional photographer and Minsk native, Artem Sergeevich. It shows the country of Belarus in a way that will put any negative eastern Europe stereotypes out of your head and have you booking a one-way plane ticket there. Vibrant colors wash over a mix of countrysides and cityscapes, making the factories look just as beautiful and exciting as the lakes and fountains. It isn’t easy to capture images like these, and Sergeevich used a range of different cameras, some of which included a Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 60D, Tokina 11-16mm, and a Sigma 14mm, among others.
To see more videos by Artem Sergeevich, click here.

Video: An ultra high resolution look at the American Southwest

Time lapse photographer and filmmaker Tom Lowe has been working on his new and innovative creation for over two years now. The video is actually a clip of his soon-to-debut film, TimeScapes, which showcases the beauty of the American Southwest using Canon RAW and Epic Red still cameras. Because the movie was filmed and edited at 4K resolution, which is four times greater than regular high definition, the moments and places really come to life on the screen.

Watch sunsets at Salton Sea, coastlines, Redwoods, and waterfalls in Big Sur, and meteor showers at Bristlecone take on a life of their own as firefalls, eclipses, cultural dances, lakes, mountains, starry skys, concerts, and unique landscapes are shown like never before.

To see a stunning preview of what’s to come, as well as hear music by John Stanford, check out this video:

TimeScapes 4K from Tom Lowe on Vimeo.