Could the shabby, no-frills youth hostels of our, um, youth, actually be growing up? The Youth Hostel Association of the U.K. has just announced that they're planning to inject $26.6 million dollars into their lodgings, upgrading many dorm-style rooms and adding locally sourced food items to their menus. We couldn't be more excited.
"The point is to offer guests more comfort and update what we offer," YHA spokesperson Paul Fearne told the Guardian. "We are breaking down lots of the large dormitories to create private rooms, many of which will be ensuite. Many hostels will have licensed bar areas, where we will sell local ales and organic wines, and there will be a full meal service, with locally sourced ingredients."
One impressive new property is the National Forest hostel in Derbyshire, which opened last month. You can hike, cycle and explore the forest, then return home to the brand new facility, which uses energy efficient solar panels, spray taps and showers for reduced water consumption and has built-in ventilation. The hostel is currently only open on weekends, but will be open seven days a week beginning in March.
The YHA, who recently conducted a survey of their 161 properties, have nearly completed the renovations of 12 hostels, and are working to refurbish 37 more. They're also opting to close 35 hostels that suffered from infrequent visits, and open three new ones, including a $8.5 million dollar hostel in central London which will open this month. It's just steps from Soho and starting at $37/night, and we're thinking we might need to give hostels another look.
Image: The new Central London hostel, Youth Hostel Association