The March 2014 edition of Business Traveller (grab a copy from your nearest airport lounge or nice hotel!) has an interesting article on "Luxury Hostels". Specifically, it was about why business travellers might want to look at staying in a private room in a higher end hostel, rather than in a 3*-4* hotel as they might normally do by default. It wasn't so much about price, much more about the location, atmosphere, decor, activities etc.

If you're used to booking into hostels, then working out if a hostel is likely to be a good fit for you or not is something you'll already know about. However, if you typically book into mid-range hotels, how do you check if a private room in an interesting/trendy hostel is likely to work well for a business trip? Especially around noise. (Fun bar to hang out in during the evenings = good reason to stay at a hostel, all night disco heard throughout hostel until 3am = bad for business trip!)

part of the article, to give an idea, hopefully fair use

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    Some hostels explicitly advertise themselves as party hostels. I avoid at least definitively avoid these hostels! Mar 4, 2014 at 12:14

3 Answers 3


Oh yeah, this is tricky, but it's arguably also tricky to pick a good hotel. Some just aren't as described. Some have construction outside. Some aren't clean.

Anyway, for a hostel. I've stayed in plenty, and sometimes I want a party hostel, sometimes I don't. And by far, the best indicator I've found for this is on hostelbookers - the hostel shows an 'atmosphere' rating. If that atmosphere is high, the odds of it being a party hostel is well correlated. And therefore, unlikely to be quiet.

At that point, it's into the reviews to confirm this. Lots of reviews like 'had a great time, awesome people' can imply a big social atmosphere. However it might also just describe a friendly common room, there's no guarantee.

So next is to consider the other less critical factors:

  • chains. Some are party-ish hostel chains, like The Point in South America. YHA hostels in North America tend to be cleaner, quieter in the rooms and more social in the common room.
  • room sizes. The bigger the room, the noisier. And the increased chance of snorers, rustlers, coughers and late sleepers / early risers. Pick the smallest dorm room if staying in a dorm - but for you, since you're looking at private rooms, it's a rough idea that cheaper, bigger dorms will attract the rowdier crowd. Not always, mind you, but commonly.
  • read the negative reviews. If it's noisy and hard to sleep, there'll be comments saying this. Almost always. I'm amazed how fussy some reviewers are.
  • read the positive reviews. Sometimes they'll offer hints - nice reading room, private room was separated (eg Monkey Mendoza hostel in Mendoza, Argentina) from the rest of the rooms.

However, as another person has said, there's no guarantee. You might get unlucky. Then again, you may find a gem, and it'll have completely been worth it :)


Interesting question.

I think this is where social networking comes forward. I personally go for TripAdvisor and look for user comments/ratings to check things like this. I skip the noisy hostels because I'm not a night man while travelling. It takes a lot of time to check all these things hostel-by-hostel, but its worthy.

However I believe there is no way to ensure or guarantee a specific quality about a hostel. Hostels are made to trade-off the price and flexibility.


On a business trip, I'm more interested in location and security than "fun".
Close to the reason for my trip, or at the very least close to major roads or transportation networks is a must.
Safe to have my laptop, tablet, and other gear with me as well. Ideally a secure car park if I'm going to need a rental car.
As many people will end up on business travel needing access to industrial estates and office parks, which are often hard to reach by public transportation, and most hostels are in inner cities, that excludes hostels almost by default.
As hostels tend to have rather poor security in place compared to (the better) hotels, another serious drawback.
Leaves cost as the main reason, but as the trip is going to cost several thousand Euro already a difference of a few tens of Euros in the price of a hotel vs. a hostel isn't going to make much of an impact (and it'll most likely end up being charged to the customer I'm visiting anyway).

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    Not sure this answers the question - I don't want to know why I might or might not want a hostel, I want to know how to pick between possible hostels if I've a choice and I've decided to try one
    – Gagravarr
    Mar 4, 2014 at 12:13
  • Most city hostels I have used in the last 20 years or so had better front door security than many of the hotels in the same cities. Maybe not car parks but as most guests in city hostels do not travel by car, expect to be directed to a public parking area which is likely secure when asked for advice at check-in.
    – Willeke
    Jul 5, 2015 at 13:11
  • @Willeke maybe the front door, but once you're in you can browse through everyone's luggage, there's no security past that front door.
    – jwenting
    Jul 6, 2015 at 5:29
  • @jwenting, not true, just like hotels, hostels have locks on room doors. Within the rooms are lockers (unless they are in a common area somewhere in the hostel) and everybody is encouraged to keep his/her luggage tidy and locked away or at least in a closed suitcase at all times. It is the people themselves who might be careless.
    – Willeke
    Jul 6, 2015 at 18:25
  • @Willeke the few hostels I've been had communal sleeping rooms for 10+ guests, where each guest had a locker to store his belongings that had a highly questionable lock on it if any.
    – jwenting
    Jul 7, 2015 at 5:26

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