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Jaunted-Approved Hostels in Berlin, Singapore and Mendoza

May 18, 2012 at 1:18 PM | by | ()

If you're older than 24 and you're still staying in hostels, that's a big shhh no-no. At least that's what society would have you think, however; we'd like to officially come out and say that we're older than 24 and still. staying. in. hostels.

Deep breath. Though the reason for our hostel stays has evolved—they're now backups for when we blow all our budget early on in trips, with 5-star hotels—we're never ashamed.

Having done the whole backpack-around-Europe thing during college, we have a solid past dotted with hostel stays of all sorts. Dirty hostels? Don't get us started on Budapest. Party hostels? Ugh, Barcelona. Plain scary hostels? Look no further than London. Still we haven't given up on them, and we've discovered some real diamonds in the rough, places we'd happily return to (and soon). Oh yeah, and ALL WITH EXCELLENT, FREE WIFI INTERNET AND BREAKFAST. Here's three we've recently stayed at, and personally approve of:

· 5Footway.inn Hostel in Singapore
Not only is this hostel new, but it contributes to Singapore's reputation for being clean and tidy. The 5Footway.inn is a walk-up hostel of only several rooms, all centered around a half-outdoor, half-indoor patio space. We so much enjoyed alfresco there, underneath the stars in the warm Singapore nights, that we wouldn't hesitate to return.

The rooms are small, so you'll have few others sharing your space, and the lockable drawers underneath the beds are large enough to fit a rolling carry-on bag and more. Each bed also has a little cubby on the wall, complete with power outlets (SCORE!). Last but not least, the location is ridiculously excellent—just up a flight of stairs in a building right outside the Chinatown subway stop.
Nightly rate per person: Between $25 and $40.

· Hostel Lao in Mendoza, Argentina
We did Mendoza wrong, arriving during Carnevale without a reservation and without a clue. We tramped around the city, going hostel to hostel in search of free beds. The Hostel Lao saved us. Though they were full up, they do offer a kind of pop-up bedroom, which we grabbed for $10. At dusk, the housekeeper sets up a mattress with bedding on the upper outdoor patio, and surrounds it with a mosquito net. It worked like a charm and luckily it didn't rain. Compared to the other hostels we'd dropped in on, Hostel Lao by far had the nicest digs, friendliest staff, and least weird-o fellow guests.

We'd suggest booking early if you want in, however, as the hostel is small—more like a private home—and so enjoyable, with its pool, sunny yard, friendly resident doggies and comfortable common spaces, that guests tend to stay for more than a week.
Nightly rate per person: $16 for a dorm, up to $59 for a private double bedroom with bath & TV. Or, you know, $10 for the patio.

· Jetpack Hostel in Berlin, Germany
Berlin is freaking awesome on so many levels, it's pretty ridiculous. The city is full of expensive, cutting edge hotels, but you can also score a super sweet design-forward room on Airbnb. Still cheaper, we have lovely little places like the Jetpack. Again, we totally stumbled upon this place, down a very safe, very picturesque street in the Wilmersdorf neighborhood, with all the best stuff in the city a short bike ride away. And rent a bike we did, as the hostel has them for like $5-7 per day.

Our favorite part of the hostel wasn't the rooms, though they were clean and perfectly fine. Our favorite was the common area, which doubles as a neighborhood coffeeshop in the morning and laid-back bar in the evening. Every morning we'd wake up at 7am, order a cappuccino and sit in the sunny window, getting work out of the way before taking off on our trusty rented bike. We even ran into one of the members of the hostel staff at brunch, in a totally different neighborhood, and though it was her day off, she totally chilled and shared her favorite spots in the city. We're excellent Facebook friends now. Ha.
Nightly rate per person: Between $22 and $31.

Honorable mention: Ryokan Katsutaro Annex in Tokyo, Japan. It's around $80 per night, for a Japanese-style ryokan and a private room, it's ideal. And the area—Japan's traditional Asakusa—is free of skyscrapers and pleasantly packed instead with older, one-story residences, bakeries, noodle shops and temples.

The view from our room at Singapore's 5Footway.inn

[Photos: Jaunted]

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