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You don’t have to be young to love both saving a few bucks and mingling with other travelers. Enter a new set of hostels that appeal to those on the upside of 35. These modern hostels no longer exclusively target students and backpackers, nor do they only feature spartan accommodations (i.e. creaky bunk beds, thin mattresses and thinner walls). We’re now in the age of the boutique hostel, offering affordable accommodations—shared rooms, bathrooms and common areas—but also upgraded amenities: buzzing cafes, award-winning cocktail bars, trendy decor and even rooftop swimming pools in some instances.

Additionally, hot new hotels are also debuting hostel-like options that include both bunk-style and private rooms, either en suite or with a shared bath. With the attention to quality and greater chance for privacy, hostels aren’t just for kids anymore. We rounded up some of the best hostels and hostel-ish hotels for the 35+ set.

RELATED: gorgeous hostels in Europe starting at $4

Society Hotel, Portland, PDX, hotel, hostel

Society Hotel

Society Hotel: Portland, OR

Move over, Ace Hotel. Tucked away in Old Town/Chinatown
in a former boarding house for sailors, the Society Hotel mixes hotel accommodations with old-world lodging. While this upscale hostel offers a communal room with triple-tall bunks made of reclaimed wood ($35/nightly), our 35-year-old-selves can opt for a private room, featuring a full or queen bed, sink and vanity and shared bathroom ($79/nightly). Ten-foot windows, comfy beds and free Wi-Fi up the ante, as does the lobby cafe and convenient location. But what really floats our boat (sailor joke!) is the rooftop deck, affording sweeping views of downtown Portland, the Lan Su Chinese Garden, Willamette River and snow-capped Cascades.

Hollander Chicago, hotel, hostel

Hollander Chicago

The Hollander: Chicago, IL

Located in a converted warehouse on the edge of
Wicker Park and Bucktown, the Hollander markets itself as “high-design hotel meets sharing economy.” This is about as far away from the seedy hostel stereotype (made famous in B-list American horror films) as you can get. Sleek but sparse shared rooms with en suite bathrooms and free Wi-Fi offer multiple bedding configurations (bunk beds and twin beds) and start at $45 per night. Meanwhile, if you choose a private loft room (starting at $165/night), you’ll enjoy extra perks like a TV and minibar, a seating area and access to the rooftop pool at the Robey, the Hollander’s sister property. There’s no shortage of things to do nearby, from exploring great bars and restaurants to wandering down the 606, an elevated greenway built on a former railroad.

NYAH, Key West, hostel, hotel


NYAH: Key West, FL

Bike rentals, complimentary breakfast, happy hour, three pools, two
jacuzzis, free Wi-Fi and more make NYAH  in Key West anything but a hostile hostel experience. At the heart of it all is the “Build Your Own Room” concept, offering an array of customizable bedding options for groups of two to six. (Each bed comes with a memory foam mattress and personal charging station and can be rented for as low as $45 a person, depending on group size.) This arrangement takes away the awkwardness of deciding who’s going to sleep on the roll-away bed or—gasp!—the floor. An adults-only lodging (you
must be 21 to check in and 18+ to stay), NYAH is truly Not Your Average Hotel.

Paul NYC, hotels, hostels

The Paul

The Paul, New York, NY

It can be difficult to find affordable accommodations in Manhattan, but this Art Deco hotel includes cozy but comfortable bunk-style rooms (starting at $134) with en suite bath, flat-screen TVs, a mini fridge and large windows providing views of the Empire State Building. Added amenities include free WiFi, rainfall shower heads, a rooftop terrace and garden, and complimentary use of a nearby fitness facility. Bonus: The hotel is within close proximity to both Times Square and Union Square.

Wayfarer Hotel, Santa Barbara, hostel, hotel

Wayfarer Hotel

The Wayfarer: Santa Barbara, CA

Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and Highway 101, Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone (a neighborhood that sounds like a ’90s Nickelodeon show) is home to vibrant galleries, cafes and boutiques. Here, you’ll find the community-focused, centrally located Wayfarer, featuring both dorm rooms (starting at $79/night) and private
guest rooms (averaging $231), as well as a shared kitchen and dining area for guests to use at their leisure. Other amenities at this chilled-out, grown-up hostel/hotel include a heated pool, bike rentals, continental breakfast and free Wi-Fi.

Freehand Hostel, Miami

Freehand Hostel Miami

Freehand: Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles

The Freehand brand is a leader in the hybrid hostel-hotel
industry. Not only does it offer super stylish yet not-super-expensive accommodations—shared bunk rooms (starting at $55) and private rooms with a bohemian modern sensibility—but it also features reputable bars and restaurants where locals actually come and hang out. The Broken Shaker at the Freehand Miami, serving up handcrafted cocktails in an idyllic outdoor garden, was nominated for a James Beard Award. The common room at the Freehand Chicago looks like your grandma’s mid-century-modern living room—if your grandma had really good taste. Meanwhile, the Freehand L.A. is the newest of the bunch and offers an affordable night’s sleep in downtown Los Angeles, plus upgraded amenities, including room service, valet and nicer bedding.




Tagged: California, Chicago, Destinations, Florida, L.A., New York City

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Laura Pearson

Laura Pearson

Laura Pearson

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