Every year, Hostelworld.com presents ‘Hoscar’ awards to the finest communal lodging establishments in the world. This year’s winners (by continent) are:
The Winner: Atlantic Point Backpackers
City: Cape Town, South Africa
Why It’s Great: Located in a three-story converted mansion in Cape Town’s trendy Greenpoint neighborhood, APB offers guests an extensive list of amenities and reasonably priced lodgings. The hostel is also within a 10-minute cab ride of several Cape Town hotspots, including Long Street, Table Mountain, and Lions Head. The dutiful staff members are happy to arrange tours and other activities for guests, as well.
Runners-up: Hostel Essaouira (Essaouira, Morocco), The Backpack (Cape Town)
The Winner: NapPark Hostel at Kaho San
City: Bangkok, Thailand
Why It’s Great: This all-dorm hostel is certainly affordable (the most expensive room costs less than $25), but NapPark doesn’t scrimp on amenities or chic aesthetics. Guests can also enjoy the outdoor Tamarind Tree Café, which features a gallery of local artwork and provides views of the bustling Bangkok streets. And if you’re worried about a curfew, don’t be – NapPark’s doors are open 24 hours a day.
Runners-up: Sunshine Bedz KL (Kuala Lumpur), Khaosan Kyoto Guest House
The Winner: Adventure Queenstown Hostel
City: Queenstown, New Zealand
Why It’s Great: This hostel/ski chalet has claimed the Hoscar for ‘Best Hostel in Oceania’ for the last two years – pretty impressive, considering that’s how long the joint has been open. Guests are privy to a range of amenities and activities, including pot roast dinners, trivia competitions and comfy timber-framed beds. Visitors to Queenstown – dubbed the ‘Adventure Capital of the World’ – can also enjoy skydiving, paragliding, white-water rafting and other high-adrenaline activities.
Runners-up: Dreamtime Travellers Rest (Cairns, Australia), Nomads Queenstown
The Winner: Travellers House
City: Lisbon, Portugal
Why It’s Great: Recognizing the best hostel among thousands of European establishments is tricky – so we’ll let the 2012 Hoscars speak for themselves. Travellers House picked up four trophies this year (‘Best Staff’, ‘Best Location’, ‘Best Character’ and ‘Most Fun’) in addition to its win for the title of ‘Best Medium Hostel’. The location offers communal and private rooms of various sizes (including studios), as well as free amenities like linens, Wi-Fi and breakfast every morning.
Runners-up: The Naughty Squirrel Backpackers Hostel (Riga), Academy Hostel (Florence), Carpe Noctem (Budapest)
The Winner: Montreal Central
City: Monreal, Canada
Why It’s Great: This perennial Hoscar favorite (winner of the ‘Best Hostel in North America’ prize for three years running) sits in the heart of Montreal’s Latin Quarter and is a short distance from many of the city’s landmarks, including Park Lafontaine, St-Laurent Street and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Montreal Central also offers all the desired amenities, as well as a hostel rarity – telephones in each room (and local calls are free, to boot).
Runners-up: City Hostel Seattle, USA Hostels San Francisco
The Winner: America del Sur Hostel Buenos Aires
City: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Why It’s Great: The vibrant San Telmo district is a popular destination for visitors to Buenos Aires, and this hostel is located in the heart of it. While the exterior may resemble that of a modern office building, ‘America by the Sea’ offers a relaxed atmosphere and clean, comfortable lodgings to all those who book a stay there. Plus, all rooms come equipped with a private bathroom – which, as anyone who has visited a hostel can tell you, is an invaluable perk.
Runners-up: Andes Hostel (Santiago), Hostel Suites Obelisco (Buenos Aires)
By Brad Nehring