And the Hoscars go to... young, hip Lisbon hostels

Fri Feb 27, 2009 10:03am EST
 
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By Andrei Khalip

LISBON (Reuters Life!) - Squeaky clean, elegant and well-located, a young crop of Lisbon hostels is reinventing the concept of a backpacker's inn, luring guests of all ages in these difficult times and sweeping the industry's own Oscars.

Dublin-based hostelworld.com recently named Portugal's capital the top location for hostels in the world in its Hostelworld Customer Annual Ratings, or HOSCARS. Three Lisbon establishments were picked as No. 1 through No. 3 among 20,000 properties worldwide, and a fourth ranked in the top ten.

The ratings are based on some 800,000 travelers' reviews.

"There has been an explosion of hostels in Lisbon for the past year and a half and the quality of the hostels has been extraordinary," said Aisling White, marketing manager with Web Reservations International, Hostelworld's parent company.

"They really lead the way in an ongoing change of the image and standard of a hostel," White said.

Located in Lisbon's tourist-crammed down town Baixa area, they are not far from the Tagus River and surrounded by historic monuments and dozens of typical pastry shops. These hostels are worlds away from the dirt-cheap, and often grimy student hostels dotting the dodgy outskirts of many European cities.

Cozy, brightly decorated chill out rooms with flat TV screens and free Internet would make many boutique hotels envious. Bathrooms are impeccably clean and dorms with bunk beds are far from barracks-ugly.

Dorms for up to eight people and a common bathroom are still typical of a hostel, although many also feature double rooms, making them more attractive for couples seeking some privacy.   Continued...

 
<p>Guests use the TV and internet facilities at the Lisbon's hostel Travellers House February 24, 2009. REUTERS/Jose Manuel Ribeiro</p>