Hostels with style: The Big Six

From Brighton to Beijing, and London to Lisbon

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The Independent Travel

YHA, Brighton

On 17 November, the former four-star Royal York Hotel in Brighton will be reborn as a 180-bed youth hostel. The 51 rooms and dorms at YHA Brighton will all have en-suite bathrooms, and 17 will be private doubles – ideal for couples or families. The hostel will also offer premium rooms with king-size beds, roll-top baths and sea views. There will be a licensed bar and restaurant on site too, and free Wi-Fi for all guests. A total of £4m has been invested in converting this Grade II-listed building, after it stopped operating as a hotel earlier this year. Set a couple of minutes' walk from Brighton Pier, this is the latest in a line of historic buildings to be converted to YHA properties; you'll also find a Yorkshire friary and a Gloucestershire castle on the association's books.

Old Steine, Brighton BN1 1NH (0800 0191 700; yha.org.uk). Prices from £14.50 per bed, or £40 per person for a private room.

Generator, London

The rather swish Generator hostel in London relaunched in March, with new interiors that combine reclaimed timbers and exposed brickwork with art installations and bespoke graphics. The former police hostel is a five-minute walk from Russell Square Tube station and features a cinema, chill-out room, games room, café and a bar with a No 95 bus to Bloomsbury plonked in the middle. Guests can stay in mixed or female dorms, or private rooms sleeping up to three.

37 Tavistock Place, London WC1H 9SE (020 7388 7666; generatorhostels.com). Beds from £10.50, private doubles from £25 per person.

Travellers House, Lisbon

This award-winning hostel is within walking distance of most of the buzzing Portuguese capital's key sights. Travellers can relax in the music lounge and TV room, or relax with a book and go online in the reading lounge. The hostel also helps visitors make the most of their stay with a book exchange, free maps and advice, and free access to guide books. Complimentary tea and coffee are also available, and there is a choice of shared or private rooms.

89 Rua Augusta, Lisbon, Portugal (00 351 21 011 5922; travellershouse.com). Beds from €12, private rooms from €25 per person, both with breakfast.

Peking Youth Hostel, Beijing

This Beijing hostel is only a five-minute walk from the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, and is the perfect place to kick back after a day in the frenetic city centre. Set in a traditional courtyard house, it has boutique-style common areas and a rooftop restaurant. Visitors have a choice of rooms, from budget dormitories to affordable doubles and luxury rooms. There is also free internet access and a choice of Chinese and Western breakfasts.

113-2 Nan Luo Gu Xiang, Dong Cheng District, Beijing, China (00 86 10 6401 3961; peking.hostel.com). Beds from £13 for, or £24 per person for a private room.

Bunk Design Hostel, Istanbul

This hostel is in Beyoglu, one of Istanbul's most happening districts; bars, clubs, art galleries, restaurants and shops are all close to hand. It sports the sort of facilities that you'd expect from a fashionable hotel, including a complimentary breakfast, concierge, roof terrace, and even a Jacuzzi. Additional perks include free Wi-Fi, marble bathrooms, and fluffy white towels as standard. Rooms sleep one to four.

7 Balik Sokak, Kamer Hatun Mahallesi, Beyoglu, Istanbul, Turkey (00 90 212 244 8808; bunkhostels.com). Beds start at £15, private doubles from £51, both including breakfast.

HI Santa Monica, California

The location for this spacious and friendly hostel could hardly be better: a couple of blocks from the beach and its iconic pier, and just a few minutes' walk from the colourful centre of Santa Monica. While many of the dorms are fairly basic, the private rooms are stylish, comfortable – some even have an outdoor terrace overlooking lively Second Street. Breakfast is available in an internal courtyard, and Wi-Fi is free throughout.

1436 Second Street, Santa Monica, California, US (001 310 393 9913; hilosangeles.org). Beds from $39 (£24) and private doubles from $147 (£91) per room, both including breakfast.

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