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Hostels reimagined in the age of boutique hotels & social media

Excerpt from New York Times

Feb 24, 2013 6:21 am

Skift Take

If the whole world is becoming more “affordable design” conscious, why couldn’t hostels be too?

— Rafat Ali

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Clearly, Downtown Beds is not your traditional hostel, nor could its guests be defined as typical backpackers. There are no chores required, no lockout hours or curfews, and linens and toiletries are provided in each of the 17 rooms, whether private or shared. It is one of the latest examples of a global, industrywide trend focused on accommodating design-conscious 20- and 30-somethings who are seeking out the scene (via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) for reasons beyond saving a buck.

“We’re seeing more and more travelers who can afford to stay at hotels, yet choose to stay at hostels for the social experience,” said Aaron Chaffee, director of hostels at Hostelling International USA, who noted that many modern hostels are offering the same amenities as hotels: private rooms, concierge service, Wi-Fi, restaurants and bars. And, of course, stylish interiors.

According to Mr. Chaffee, the trend has its roots in Asia, known for its capsule hotels, and Europe, largely considered the vanguard of hosteling.

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