Gunnison’s Wanderlust Hostel Offers $35 Crested Butte Lift Tickets

While I was enjoying a few days of Nordic (read: free) activities in Crested Butte last week, a local let me in on a secret. “You can get deals on lift tickets everywhere. You just need to know where to look.” And then she passed on some intel to me.

In that spirit, I’d like to present to you what is perhaps the most insane ski deal I’ve ever come across. Gunnison’s groovy Wanderlust Hostel is offering up $35 lift tickets with a one-night stay.

Located just 30 miles down-valley from Crested Butte, Gunnison is still very much the old-school ranching community it’s always been. Sure, they have a coffee house and some good restaurants now, but it’s still rural Colorado, albeit just outside one of the state’s most enchanting and authentic ski towns.

Wanderlust, which is owned by outdoor guide Amy Stevens and her cat Porkchop (don’t laugh; he’s kind of a badass, and even has his own blog), is the anti-hosteler’s hostel. It’s spotless, homey, peaceful, full of funky style, and caters to outdoorsy folks of all ages (for photos, click here). If the pursuit of powder (or, in summer, slab climbing, fly-fishing, trail-riding, or mountain biking) is more important to you than thread-count, you’ll appreciate Wanderlust.

There are private and shared rooms starting at just $23/night, and a family room that sleeps up to six. You can spend your time off the slopes curled up next to the fireplace, or cooking in the spacious hostel kitchen. No car? There’s a free shuttle to Crested Butte running eight times a day, just a half-block away.

[Photo credit: Tom Stillo]

10 historical hostels with unique pasts

Former prisons, renovated brothels, converted convents; sometimes, you get more than just a cheap bed when choosing a hostel. In fact, with a little research you can find yourself relaxing in the same room a king once did, or dining in a kitchen where soldiers from WWII slept during the war. To help make your next trip a bit more historical, here are ten hostels from around the world with unique pasts.

Hostel Celica
Ljubljana, Slovenia

While Hostel Celica is currently a cultural and creative hostel that features an art gallery, debate forum, inspirational workshops, concerts, and special events, the accommodation is actually a former military prison. Its use dates back to 1882, when the jail was within the military barracks of Metelkova Street. It wasn’t until Solvenia gained independence and the barracks were no longer necessary that the space was converted into what it is today. While there are no longer prisoners of war here, guests can still spend the night in a jail cell. Moreover, symbols of peace, like prayer rooms with alters for the world’s five major religions and a “Point of Peace” meditation space, celebrate the positive transition of the building.Bluehostel Rome
Rome, Italy

The Bluehostel Rome is not only well-situated near historical sites like the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, it’s also a historical site in itself. Once a 17th century convent, the basement of the hostel has been renovated from a 1st century Roman dwelling. Today, guests can still enjoy this unique past through old-world decor and the 150-year-old traditional wooden ceilings, which were recently discovered during a renovation in May of 2010.

Clink 78
London, United Kingdom

Located in central London is a trendy backpacker hostel that is actually a renovated 200-year-old courthouse. There are also seven original prison cells which guests can sleep in. Some fun facts about the hostel: The Clash once stood trial in what is now the TV lounge, and the current internet space, which was also once a courtroom, gave Charles Dickens his inspiration for “Oliver Twist.” With all of this history, it’s not surprising that Clink 78 is on the official National Heritage List for England.

Ethic étapes Cannes Jeunesse
Cannes, France

Located on a protected and nearly deserted island in the Mediterranean, this hostel is a historic fort from the 17th century. Built by architect Marquis de Vauban, well-known for advising Louis XIV on how to condense France’s borders, it was later made famous by the movie “The Man in the Iron Mask” as the place where the prisoner was held captive.

Belford Hostel
Edinburgh, Scotland

When visiting a Gothic city like Edinburgh, it would only be right to stay in an accommodation that reflects its rich history. Belford Hostel is actually a historic church building from the 19th century that has retained its features over the decades. High ceilings, stained glass windows, details and decor from the original building help take travelers back in time and to feel as if they are living in old-world Scotland.

Historical Ryokan Hostel K’s House Ito Onsen Accommodation
Higashimatsubara-cho, Japan

This historical building is over 100 years old and is the only hostel registered as a cultural property in Japan. Because of this, guests are metaphorically taken into the past as the property has changed very little in terms of structure and decor. What guests of this property enjoy more than anything is the 100% natural age-old hot springs with relaxation and healing properties, making it one of the most historical as well as luxurious hostels in the world.

Back of Chapel Backpacker
Melbourne, Australia

While the name of the hostel sounds happy and light, this newly renovated hostel has a bit of a seedy past. Over 100 years ago, the building was actually a brothel used by politicians and ministers, and a stay here will allow you to see firsthand the hidden escape door these men would sneak out through during police raids. You can actually read about the old brothel in the novel “My Brother Jack.” Today, this social hostel takes on a more moral air and features modern amenities to help backpackers feel comfortable and safe.

Jailhouse Accommodation

Christchurch, New Zealand

Jailhouse Accommodation has everything a backpacker could want: comfortable beds, TV lounges, a communal kitchen, a fun game room, and prison-style accommodation. The thick concrete walls of the building held not only a jail, but also a military camp and women’s prison. Although the prison was shut down in 1999, it wasn’t until 2006 that a couple transformed the building from a gloomy jailhouse to a friendly backpacker destination. Today, you can still experience the Gothic architecture from 1874 as well as sleep in a prison cell for yourself (they even have prisoner outfits that you can wear for photos). Jailhouse Accommodation is also listed as a New Zealand Historic Places Trust Heritage Building.

Old Firestation Backpackers
Fremantle, Australia

This fun and social destination is well-known for offering an array of free amenities, such as WiFi, video games, linens, lockers, an outdoor cinema, and a game lounge. According to the Australian Heritage Database, Old Firestation Backpackers is a restored heritage building from 1908 and was originally planned to house four horse-drawn carriages including an ambulance. Another interesting tidbit is that during WWII, the firemen were evacuated so the U.S. Marines could move in. Today, guests can still experience the history of the building, as little has been changed inside, from high ceilings to a fireman’s pole.

Hostelling International- Ottawa Jail Hostel
Ottawa, Canada

Located in downtown Ottawa, this hostel was once the Carleton County Gaol (Jail), and a stay here will allow you to sleep in a prison hospital room or a renovated jail cell with barred doors and arched ceilings. You can also take a Haunted Walking Tour of the jail, which will give you a spooky look into the history of the building. If your appetite for history still isn’t satiated, you can head over to nearby sites like Parliament Hill, the Museum of Civilization, the Canadian War Museum, or the National Gallery of Canada.

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.