I've stayed in plenty of hostels all around the world. And though they can make a good value option, especially for international travel, many can hardly be called stylish. But on my recent trip to Lisbon, I found a handful of new hostels (and one guest house) that were the exception.
1. At the Rituals Backpackers Hostel, the rooms are all named for Fado singers. Housed in a centuries-old building, this hostel is not a throwback to times gone by. After all, the sitting room comes with a plasma screen TV and guests have access to free WiFi and computers with Skype. The red drapes, pendant lights, black lacquered tables and multitude of throw pillows make it difficult to pull yourself away from the comfortable lounge area.
2. The nine-room Shiado Hostel has an eco-friendly bent. The reading lights in the guest rooms are all energy efficient and, continuing with a trend towards conservation, many of the furnishings are reused and restored, even the computer hard drives. Here, you also have an amalgam of the old and the new coexisting in harmony. The owner's friends donated contemporary paintings that hang in the living room that also displays trunks and chairs from his grandparents. A lovely touch can be found in the kitchen/dining room where recipes for notable Portuguese specialties are written on a blackboard.
3. The Kitsch Hostel couldn't be more appropriately named. The living room and dining room are both a rainbow of brilliant colors from the collages on the walls. You could spend a lot of time analyzing the symbolism behind various portions of this artwork -- I gave up psychoanalyzing after about half an hour. Graffiti is painted across the internet room -- also appropriate given the nature of communication that takes place there. Ascend a narrow spiral staircase and you'll find pure white guest rooms accented by crimson curtains. (Apparently many pedestrians feel the need to visit this venue because of these bold curtains visible from the street.)
4. Lisbon Dreams Guesthouse may technically not be a hostel but I'm including it because it's so economical. Open since May, this accommodations is your ticket to affordable luxury. The 10 private guest rooms all have a white-on-white color scheme -- the only other color comes from the green apple on the bed and the bright throw pillows. Sure, you have to share a bathroom but you'll hardly mind given the comfy robes and slippers provided. You also have full use of a laptop in the sitting room which also comes with a huge plasma screen TV. But the highlight for me was the meandering outdoor patio that's perfect for dining or sunning in the lounge chairs.
I wish I knew about these hostels before my trip. Next time, I'll be sure to stay at one.