When the Generator opened its first branch in London in 1995, the common image of a hostel was that of dingy rooms, metal bunks and groovy wall paintings. Now, as the hip hostel brand – known for its stylish, contemporary interiors – relaunches its flagship address, it is one of a growing number of upmarket hostels proving popular with cash-conscious travellers.
Relaunching on 20 March, the new Generator London will offer guests modern, design-led bedrooms and a range of creative areas to hang out in, such as a lounge with a piano, a fancy cafe and a check-in area to rival the Ace, plus quirky features that hammer home the location, including a London bus-cum-DJ booth.
The relaunch comes at a time when there is growing demand from travellers to stay in luxury hostels. Tourists who would previously have stayed in hotels are increasingly being attracted to alternative accomodation due to a combination of holiday budgets becoming tighter and a growing realisation that many hostels are a far cry from the down-and-out backpacking stereotype of the past, with many offering comfortable double rooms, as well as dorms.
According to a report by bookings site LateRooms.com, the rise in popularity of upmarket hostels has seen bookings in some properties jump by up to 600% year on year. The Generator Dublin saw the biggest increase, enjoying a 616% rise since January 2013, while the recently refurbished YHA by Windermere in the Lake District and the funky Clink 78 in Kings Cross both saw bookings shoot up by around 150%.
More on the best hostels around the world
Our round up of the best hostels in London, includes Palmer's Lodge in Swiss Cottage, which is housed in a Grade II-listed Victorian building and Blue Skies Hostel, situated above a pub in Tulse Hill, which claims to possess the largest beer garden in London.
See our review of Generator Venice which offers a cool, young vibe at decidely un-Venetian prices.
Take a peek inside the best luxury hostels in Europe with our picture gallery showing the glimmering swimming pool at Plus Berlin and the roofop garden and hammocks at the Ostello Bello in Milan.
Our round up of New York's finest hostels includes The Jane Hotel in West Village, which used to be a boarding house for sailors and NY Loft Hostel.
Check out Plas Curig; the Snowdonia lodgings are probably the UK's poshest hostel.
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image: © Generator Hostels