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Chic Hostels Are On the Up and Up

January 3, 2014

‘Chic Hostel’ is no longer an oxymoron or a cruel punchline. Diana Hubbell checks out Southeast Asia’s new way to rough it easy.

Published on Jan 3, 2014

Say the word “hostel” to a seasoned traveler, and get ready to hear horror stories of old college trips, complete with rock-hard mattresses, hygienically challenged roommates, frigid showers and windowless cells…all for a few bucks a night.

The times have changed though, and the latest crop of hostels is a far cry from those primitive establishments. Catering to a slightly more discerning set of flashpackers, these newer addresses are spotless and feature clever, thoughtful design touches.

Take for example Lub d, a stylishly modern industrial hostel with two branches in Bangkok, one in the nightlife district of Silom and the other by the megamalls of Siam. Both feature funky raw cement with stenciled decorations, as well as contemporary dorms and a helpful staff.

Meanwhile, over in Singapore, Matchbox, with its candy-colored interiors, and amenities that include a pillow menu, offers one of the hippest ways to see the Lion City on a budget.

Sanlitun Youth Hostel’s dorms are immaculate, but their spacious doubles with flatscreen TVs verge on hotel rooms. Add that to a central location and surprisingly good cappuccinos, and you have a perfect way to check out Beijing.

Finally, The Mad Monkey Hostel in Phnom Penh has a laid-back vibe with a side of social consciousness: Employees are often sourced through NGOs, and are guaranteed uncommonly high wages, healthcare and hospitality training.


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