There we are keen to walk you through the different hostel definitions out there. We will walk you through the process to understand what is the meaning of hosteling. We will be starting with the very basic definition of a hostel.
Then we will jump into the details to see what Hosteling actually means – for travelers, for the owners.
At first, we have to clarify a bit what is the hostel meaning?
A hostel means simply a shared accommodation. Instead of staying in a private room with a private bathroom, you stay in a dorm room sharing the room with other people.
Same goes for the bathroom.
It means, it is a place where traveler sleep on a budget and share the space.
However, over the time a hostel has became a hotspot for travelers to mingle. Hostels have evolved to be more than a bed to sleep in. There is common areas, a kitchen to share, events and now as well even private rooms.
That being said, a hostel has always been and will always be: A place to meet other people!
Let us start at the very beginning.
WHAT is a hostel?
Traveler usually share the common areas and stay at a dorm, but also private rooms are nowadays common.
You will notice that hostels nowadays cover a wide range from a cheap-cheaper-hostel up to Boutique Hostels and finally 5 Star Hostels.
The Hostel Definitions
As you can see, it is quite simple to find out “What is a Hostel”.
However, there is more. In fact, there is plenty of more things to consider. We asked several hostels owners and managers of the 5 Star Hostels about “What is a Hostel?”.
The hostel definitions range from complex, to simple, and ideological.
1. Lollis Homestay in Dresden, Germany
The Lollis Homestay is a genuine backpackers hostel with a social heart. It is one of the best hostels in Dresden, an absolute gem, perfect to visit in between Berlin and Prague.
So, we asked Lolli, the owner of Lollis Homestay on his opinion. Here is what he says:
“A hostel is a place, where backpackers stay. It can be a huge crowded party hostel in any capital of Europe, it can also be cheap place where mainly long term guests sleep or even a private hostal in Ecuador.
Actually, it could be even a hotel, if that’s the only choice at the place you go. I experienced all of them and despite they are very different, they all combine one thing:
It will be the place, no matter of facilities, dorms or private rooms, manned or not, where you will most likely meet other travelers.
Because this is the idea of a hostel: Meet other like minded people.
A good hostel is a hostel, where you will easily find some company.”
2. Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof, Interlaken
The Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof is one of the best hostels in Interlaken, Switzerland. It is well known for being the best hostel in Switzerland.
It is popular for being the calm and cosy home for the adventurous traveler.
After a long, Adrenalin-loaded day, the Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof invites the guests to relax and kick-back.
So, what is a Hostel?
This is what Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof says:
“A clean, safe, friendly place to stay overnight. You can share a room, called dormitory (dorms), with other travelers that you don’t know. This way traveling gets cheaper and a lot more fun. Usually you find anything from 4-10 bed dorms.
One can expect to find lots of public space to be and socialize, often a self catering kitchen. Young and cool staff that help with things to do.
Some hostels can be particularly cool for the party crowd, others for families or adventure cracks. Have a look what’s on offer and make sure to find the right spot for you!
Be prepared to get talked to, because this is part of the hostel experience.”
3. Sunset Destination Hostel Lisbon
There are many fabulous hostels in Lisbon.
However, there is only 5 Star Hostel in Lisbon. The Sunset Destination Hostel is a special hostel with a big roof top terrace.
The Sunset Destination Hostel also comes with a great swimming pool on its very roof top terrace.
What is a hostel?
Here is the hostel definition of Sunset Destination Hostel:
“Until few years (probably the best secular definition will be of before and after the Internet and of the Low Cost airlines companies), the Hostels were spaces for “backpackers”, the habitual tourists with heavy backpacks and little money in the pocket.
Today, the Hostel is the result of an evolution from the conventional Youth hostels, being fit somewhere between these and Charm Hotel.
The model is mush more flexible, being able to co-exist private rooms (also “ensuite”), as in any conventional Hotel unit, with dormitories.
With the Charm Hotels it has in common the care for tasty decoration and the personalized attention given to the customer, complementary with the hygiene and good services.
The essential in a Hostel is its social spaces.
– Joao, Sunset Destination Hostel
And these are common and made to be used in a way that will raise opportunity to meet other guests.
A stay in a Hostel is out of a Hotel standard, and more than a bed, it is an all experience that is sold.
Although a room is considered low budget exists an increasing requirement from these customers, as for example, free access to the Internet, breakfast included, high standards conditions for hygiene, safety and security.
The customer type is what currently is called FlashPacker (evolution of the Backpacker), a fast-growing segment of travelers who choose a economic lodging, while they spend freely in activities in the chosen destinations.
Known for its artsy vibe, Ani&Haakien is a perfect example to show what is a top hostel. Their various common spaces are comfy and inviting.
And they even have a hostel cat, giving it a homely feeling.
We at Hostelgeeks asked the owners of Ani&Haakien: What IS a hostel?
“When people ask us what we do for a living, we tell them we run a Hostel..
Yes a Hostel!
Its a place where travelers share everything with each other! It’s a feeling, a lifestyle, a way of thinking!
Don’t you know? If you’ve been brave enough to leave your life for a while, to discover the world with just a backpack, you know what we are talking about.
For us, most hostels felt like home. Before we even knew where we gonna stay that night, we talked about taking a nice hot shower upon arrival when traveling through the cold Siberia.
Or talking about painting our nails after climbing the Chinese wall…’tonight when we get HOME’ we can kick off our shoes and walk around on our socks.
There is no fun in experiencing something beautiful without sharing it with others.
– Joyce, Ani&Haakien Hostel
There is a big feeling of solidarity.
A huge community of travelers wandering around the world. They meet each other in little homes called hostels.
When you enter a good hostel you feel it immediately. It is the music they play, the smiles and friendly faces you see, the smell of food coming out of the kitchen, the conversations guest have. You know you can get good travel information there.
And finally get rid of that heavy backpack!
Entering your bedroom, you meet your new friends for the next couple of days.
It’s not only about sleeping for a cheap price, it’s more about meeting people.
Sharing stories, learning about other ways of life, learning about yourself, meeting new friends for life.”
From outside it looks shy, but from the inside you will be blown away by its beautiful interior design.
We asked as well the Russian team behind Sputnik Hostel and Personal Space. The hostel had to close by now unfortunately. Nevertheless, here’s what they said:
“Hostels are so much better than hotels and much more interesting than regular apartments.
You have locals to ask for anything and foreigns to make bunch of new friends.
– Kristina from Sputnik Hostel
At the same time you can think about a hostel as a hotel and be on your own or you can be the heart of the hostel, all up to you!
But just imagine, what can be more exciting than having a cup of mate with tango dancers from Argentina, at the same time discussing The Great Wall of China with Chinese school workers and enjoying a real Dutch cheese from Amsterdam backpackers.
Hostel is a lifestyle and our own personal world, which we are so happy to share!”
12. Yim Huai Khwang Hostel, Bangkok
The Yim Huai Khwang Hostel is one of the top hostels in Bangkok. We wrote a big guide on the top hostels in Bangkok, Thailand.
“Yim” is thai and it means smile. Now, this is a great starting point, right?!
We asked them what hosteling means.
“In our opinion, a hostel is a place where like-minded travelers sharing smiles, laugh, stories and friendship.”
13. STAY Hostel in Rhodes, Greece
STAY Hostel is located on the beautiful island of Rhodes in Greece. This hostel has it all, from a roof top massage studio to a designer lounge, a cinema, in-house bar and a beach nearby. All that in a design-led way, perfect for the solo-travelers, couples, groups and even families.
So, we reached out and asked Gesine, the owner of STAY Hostel how she thinks a hostel is best defined.
Here is her answer:
“Here at STAY Rhodes we believe a hostel really stands out when you feel like home.
Being away from home and coming to a place that gives you the comfort and warm feeling of a home away from home is our key to success.
They say that the difference between a hotel and a hostel is the letter “S”, which stands for social….
We agree, that this is a big part of it, but not only.
We believe in offering the comfort of a hotel and taking it a step further. Defining from scratch what are the services and facilities of a hotel and which of these make a traveller feel comfortable.
In addition to that, what are the needs of a traveller, that he doesn’t find addressed in a hotel. Top this off with a homely atmosphere of the staff and great socialising activities and get the mix of a hostel, that guests will remember.”
I would love to hear your opinion. What is the hostel meaning for you?
Do you think we missed some essential part of hostel life and what’s a hostel?
This article is part of our big guide to hostels.
We would love to have it as essential, as informative, as pinpointed down as possible. Therefore, if you have any questions or any comments, we would love to hear from you.
Your question helps us to see what we may have missed, so you are not just getting an answer to your own question, but also help other travelers and young people to understand more about this topic.
Just leave your comment in the comment section below.
Summary “What is a Hostel?”
You see, a Hostel has different angles to look at.
Besides the fact that a hostel is a budget accommodation, it is also an easy way to find fellow travelers.
Whether it is for having a drink together, share travel tips, or whatever you fancy. A Hostel comes in handy when traveling around and looking for fellow travelers.
And then there is the ideological part of your questions “What is a Hostel”. It is a space to share, a community, a a travel style, and even lifestyle. It is the home and the 2nd home. After all: A hostel is a shared accommodation.