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Many European hostels today are nearly unrecognizable from their ancestors in design, but the culture of camaraderie remains as a wider group of tourists turn to the hostels for beds on the cheap.
With the wine tasting in the lobby bar approaching, I rinsed the green-tea shampoo from my hair, grabbed a towel from the queen bed and settled into a Philippe Starck chair, espresso in hand. A flat-screen TV flickered in the next room of my suite, but I was more captivated by the view that lay just beyond the glass doors of my balcony: the orange tile roofs of Lisbon, washed in the glow of a setting sun.
A rooftop Jacuzzi at Bunk in Istanbul; a cinema room at Design Hostel Goli & Bosi in Split, Croatia; a sleek basement nightclub in One80° Berlin: Whether they bill themselves as “design hostels” or “boutique hostels” or “hostel and suites,” these new accommodations are striving to raise the standard of an institution that was once the lodging equivalent of a Greyhound bus.