One is the staff, particularly the reception crew – these guys & gals are the face of the hostel, the second is facilities and in-house communal events and the other element is the style of the hostel - the decor & design which goes some distance to making it distinct & original and having some influence on your experience, comfort and, ultimately, your memory of the place.
Criteria for judging what is stylish is, of course subjective, a matter of taste, but in terms of hostels (which can absolutely exist as hybrids of different 'types' of hostels), design-hostels are those which make a design- conscious effort to connote the values & ideals of luxury & comfort - often with unique & smart à la mode stylistic devices - balanced perfectly with the traditional hostel atmosphere and culture. Here's our list of recommended design hostels in Budapest where you can stay in style.
Full Moon Design Hostel
This is a fairly new hostel and offers elegant, modern private double and triple rooms- some with sound-proof windows for a better night's sleep- as well as 4, 6 and 8 bed dorms at very decent rates. Even from the exterior, there's a kind of quirky charm to this place, trendy but not overly-so and while there's an energetic vibe, there's also a cozy feel about the common areas throughout. With plush, soft furnishings in tones of turquoise, orange & red, complimented pleasantly by mellow lighting in yellows, reds & blues, the common areas and self-catering kitchen provide a relaxing atmosphere to interact with fellow guests but you can also get your party hat on and head downstairs to the hostel's nightclub, Morrisons 2, where all guests get free entry and is one of the city's most happening club's for local revelers. All the rooms have en-suite bathroom & air conditioning and the private rooms are equipped with a Smart TV, free of use. To top it off, they provide a buffet breakfast that will only put you back 3,8EUR.
Aventura Boutique Hostel
This hostel is cosy, inviting and hip while being spacious & stylishly designed. With 8, 6 and 4 bed dorms & private double room - each fittingly themed in celebration of some of the frontiers which have been the pursuit of travelling pioneers & explorers throughout the ages, from Africa, India, Japan and even space - the style here is thoughtful, quirky and fun throughout. The Africa room is one of adventurous charm, with deep dark wood, sun-yellow tones and a delightful giraffe patterned wall. There's no bunks, instead a clever loft sleeps 4 with 4 more beds below. There's also a hammock and each bed has an individual reading light. The India room is an exotic 6 bed dorm in vibrant purple and gold, set off by traditional mirrored Indian quilts and cushions, while the space room is reminiscent of a space-obsessed child's bedroom, with it's UFO-shaped lamps and images of Mars, but with a sophisticated design-conscious approach which includes a vibrant, if not a bit trippy, colourful expression of the infinite universe. They also offer private apartments in similar boutique style and the staff are friendly & very lovely.
Overlooking the Synagogue, A2Design Hostel is a clean and modern space set in a historical building. Overall it is quiet, cosy and homely with comfort at the heart of things. It has a modern apartment feel, with crisp whites & quirky furnishings while nice exposed wooden ceiling beams adds an element of quaint-cottage-style to the relaxed environment. There's a small kitchen, staff are friendly & helpful and this hostel is in a fantastic location for exploring all Budapest has to offer.
Casa de la Musica
There are many words which come to mind to describe Casa de la Musica's style and decor - fun, elegant, quirky, interesting, indeed even cute. There doesn't appear to be any specific inspiration in terms of theme, rather it's an effective fusion of old-world stylistic ideals with modern detail and retro technicolour. The dorms are each unique in their character, ranging from aged furnishings and shabby chic to visually striking ornamental patterns and colour while the comfortable common area is spacious & relaxed, yet with a young & energetic flair. Well located for scouring the centre and offering large dorms from 12 beds to 4 beds (both mixed and female only options) and private rooms and a big inflatable pool on the terrace in Summer (why not?), Casa de la Musica is a very nice base for your Budapest adventure.
So, this hostel obviously has a clear agenda in terms of style. It's no surprise you'll find the interior trends you'd expect to find in any self-respecting hipster's home here - the 70's style three-piece suite, the tastefully disheveled book shelf, the chalkboard wall and polaroids - It's charming, funky & fun and hip, naturally. The decor balances clean lines and a refined minimalist feel with the quirk and fun of retro furnishings and detail, a cosy common area & bean-bag corner makes interaction with fellow guests easy & relaxed and the dorms & rooms each convey individual character and style. The Polka Dots room, not surprisingly, features polka dots as well as a mezzanine, the Magenta Fever room includes a 'notebook' corner so you can stay connected to beards and craft-beer fan forums, the Neon BP room has notes of vibrant neon colour while the Honeymoon Suite is a beautiful and charming boutique style room with private entrance, comfortable double bed and delightful craft-paper love-hearts.
Lavender Circus Hostel
This is an exception to the traditional hostel concept in that they only offer private accommodation – doubles and apartment – combine this with the hotel-quality rooms and unique decor and you'd be forgiven for forgetting you are actually in a hostel. The big indicator, aside of course from having hostel in the name, that you are indeed in a hostel is the price; for a private room it is, frankly, terrific value. The rooms are remarkable in style with beautiful furnishings, clever designs adorning the walls and a healthy streak of mischief with a hint of the wacky. The common area is somewhat overwhelming to the visual sense on first exposure – a hectic splattering of old-worldy oddities and curious random artifacts which soon settle down into an intriguing and imaginative wonderland, with little details all about the place. It's a style embraced by the many ruin pubs of the city and this wonderful style continues into the communal kitchen which is an utterly charming space, full of rustic character, retro kitsch and a homely, familial vibe.
LOL Boutique Hostel
lolhostelbudapest.com | gallery
The name suggests fun, and the design matches. Decorated by young local artists, this is a modern, dare I say 'cool', place with unique themed dorms. There's capacity for 95 guests across 18 rooms, each with it's own play on style, and themes range from Graffiti & Industrial to Jail and Island, while their double rooms are named The Honeymoon Suite and, in another nod to fun, 69. There's even a mirrored ceiling. Nice.
There's also a pub in the same historic building as the hostel which is another demonstration in unique design but LOL is also a great base for exploring local night life. Staff are nice and helpful and, although a large place, it's quiet friendly while being lively.
Shantee House (aka Backpack Guesthouse)
This is a really beautiful hostel located on the Buda side of the city and claims to have been the first hostel in Budapest, opened in 1993. It's a real 'traveller-built' hostel and renovation in 2013 sought to embrace the stylistic devices & influences of Asia and the Orient to a large extent. It's a commendable result & legacy, fusing traditional hostel values with remarkable design & features in a very unique and creative way. With all the expected hostel facilities and services – free wifi, 24 hour reception, kitchen, communal events & all that jazz - Shantee House also has a wonderful Zen garden complete with mini bamboo forest, tranquil fishpond and an old willow tree. You even have the option to camp out in the garden or, better still, sleep in the traditional Mongolian yurt. Throughout this hostel there is a pleasant, calm ambience but a very jovial interaction between guests and staff. This hostel is a cosy & friendly place with a real sense of celebrating wanderlust and creativity.
So there ye have it friends, our run-down of design hostels to check out in Budapest. There are of course more, and indeed other hostel types with a heavy design element, which we haven't included here this time but let us know about your favourite design, wherever they are in the world, in the comments below. Happy travels.