BackHome Hostel, Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA

BackHome Hostel is one of the best hostels I’ve been to. Clean, good location, fantastic staff, great facilities; this place exceeded my expectations.

They’ve managed to create a homey feel in a hostel that boasts an industrial minimalist chic. Little touches like hand drawn paintings, a lolly jar and local games adorn the reception area so you immediately feel comfortable.

They offer daily tours, breakfast and a security guard overnight, for your convenience and safety. It’s a stone’s throw from Jalan Petaling and the Chinatown area, so there’ll be plenty to do and see.

We stayed in the x4 mixed dorm and had ample personal space, lockers and the beds were super comfy. Aircon and WiFi are great too.

Lastly, the staff were fantastic. We had a lot of touristy questions and they were able to help us, recommend ideas and suggest places along our way and as a result, we had such a great trip.

Disclaimer: This review was also posted by me on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

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Living Lounge Hostel, Lisbon, PORTUGAL

My trip to Portugal was my first step into Europe. The Living Lounge Hostel in Lisbon was my first step into a European Hostel. Oh, am I glad to have come here.

The hostel was perfect for all my backpacking needs. Set at a reasonable price, this hostel felt more like a home, a giant sharehouse right in the heart of Lisbon. The communal areas are cute and kitsch, with vintage record players and astroturf and indoor plants. The kitchen is just big enough to offer cheap community dinners every night, as well as complimentary breakfasts of a morning. The bathrooms are clean.

My travel partner and I stayed in a private two bed room which had the feeling of being in a penthouse at the tippy-top of the hostel. It was spacious and fun, with a near-vertical climb up the stairs in our room.

This hostel offers communal activities as well, we were disappointed we didn’t try more than we did. We went out to see Fado for the evening, arranged by the hostel, and the night was cheap, informative and the perfect cultural experience. Living Lounge was an excellent hostel for us in Lisbon and would absolutely stay here again.

Disclaimer: This review was also posted by me on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

Flinders Backpackers, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA

Flinders Backpackers is your conventional backpackers hostel. Basic. Weird stain on the mattress. Paper thin walls.

The only common space is an all in one. As you exit the elevator, the first thing you see are the lines for the front office. Look left and there’s the huge kitchen space, tables and chairs, piles of luggage that didn’t fit inside the $2 lockers. Look right and there’s a mess of people, playing games, reading, eating, drinking. Some call this a homely vibe, communal and inviting. I found it chaotic and overwhelming.

I shared a room with friends on level 9. We could still feel the bass from the nightclub on the first floor through the walls. I know we paid basic rates for bare minimum facilities, and I wasn’t expecting the Ritz. But I felt uncomfortable with the ultra-sterile chlorine/bleach smell that permeated even the curtains.

Honestly, the hostel forced me out onto the streets and into the city. For that, I am grateful. I did not wish to stay in that place any longer than I needed to.

Disclaimer: This review was also posted by me on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

The Hat, Madrid, Spain

The Hat, Madrid, is the funkiest hostel around. Facilities are modern, clean and trendy- a nice reprieve from some of the other gritty hostels I stayed at in Spain. I stayed in a big 10 bed dorm and had excellent personal security, a very comfy bed and more privacy than I anticipated. The hostel itself is awesome; there’s a swish rooftop restaurant, a ground level bar and frequent activities for guests like tapas making, sangria mixing or pub crawling. The Hat is reasonably priced and within walking distance from anything touristy. Cannot recommend this hostel highly enough.

Disclaimer: This review was also posted by me on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

Riad Zineb, Marrakech, MOROCCO

Riad Zineb is a dream. We found it while searching for hostels to stay at and while it’s pricey for a hostel, it’s excellent value as a riad.

Riad Zineb offers great security, free wifi, airport/railway transfers, free breakfast and sits in a central location in the old town, with the Medina and main square within walking distance.

The riad itself is stunning. Quiet pool, quaint furnishings, attention to detail, rooftop terrace. It’s all there. The communal seating areas are so comfortable and filled with odd curiosities, that make the place feel like home. I honestly spent more time relaxing in the riad than I did out in the square. It was an oasis.

Riad Zineb is sisters with Riad Karmela and they often share facilities. While breakfast is served in Karmela, Riad Zineb offers a fantastic dinner on the terrace. Karmela also offers traditional hammams and massages, which I made good use of.

What makes this a stellar review is Walid. Walid was the riad staff who first greeted us and made us feel welcomed. His customer service went above and beyond as he gave us his full attention whenever I had a pressing matter, which was often. For example, I left my phone in a tour bus (I know, right?) and he helped me track it down and secure it again. Also, we arrived sick and weak from a previous illness (ate some bad food elsewhere) and he kept checking on us, providing bottles of water, catering dinner to our needs: plain, bland and simple.

Riad Zineb is more than a hostel, or a budget riad. Its ambience, customer service and comfortable feel left us reenergised and content.

Disclaimer: This review was also posted by me on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

Medina Social Club, Fés, MOROCCO

The Medina Social Club offered us excellent hospitality. It was an incredibly warm hostel.

The facilities are excellent for a hostel. We stayed in a private room with an ensuite and a small alcove with courtyard view to retreat. The rooftop terrace has lovely views of the Medina and beyond. Street cats hover about up there and there’s ample seating to lounge about. The restaurant in the atrium has excellent food; vegetarian, tagines, curries, salads. All healthy and all safe for the international traveler (well, we didn’t get sick from eating here).

The hostel offers Free breakfast 8.30-11am and free wifi. It’s relatively easy to navigate to, however they offer a driver pick up service from the airport for €15 which is invaluable because the Medina is a maze.

On our last night, we got sick (food unrelated to the hostel) and requested help from the hostel. Staff were incredibly accommodating, even the ones who spoke limited English. We were allowed to stay an extra night to recover and I was personally taken to the local pharmacy for medication. The kitchen made special rice and bread for us to eat to help us regain energy and they went above and beyond to support us.

They also offer various day trips to notable places, like the local Medina, Chefchaouen and more. Had we known this we would have booked through them.

I cannot recommend this hostel highly enough- best accommodation and food in Fés.

Disclaimer: This review was also posted by me on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.