Days when hostels were only for desperate backpackers are long gone. The next generation hostels are comfy and stylish, yet retain the benefits of traditional youth hostels such as lively communal spaces and low-price appeal. In keeping with the world trends, Russian hostels raised the ante by creating thought-out dorms with custom-made furniture and impeccably-styled communal spaces for design-savvy millennials. Rated among the best in Russia, and some even in the world, these Russian hostels combine the intimacy and welcoming atmosphere of micro-hotels and prime location which don't come at a high price.
Sputnik Hostel, Moscow
The first designer hostel in Moscow, Sputnik Hostel occupies a two-level loft on the top floor of an early 20th-century house with vintage brickwork and wooden, handcrafted bunk beds. The communal area is dominated by an open-plan kitchen and dining room with a library, while the upper floor has a small communal space with a movie projector. As well as dorms, there're private rooms channeling industrial chic and some boho vibes with its colourful cushions and wooden elements. Sputnik takes the idea of personal space inside the hostel to a new level - the dorms have sleepboxes with privacy curtains, reading lights, shelves, and a co-working space, while the communal areas have lots of nice little nooks to sit with a book or work on your laptop.
Consistently ranked as the best hostel in the world by Hostelworld, Soul Kitchen is a cosy boutique hostel located in a 19th-century Neo-Baroque building on the bank of the Moika River. At Soul Kitchen, the luxury is in the details: custom-made queen-size bunk beds with privacy curtains, reading lights, shelves and electric outlets to charge all your devices, ensuite bathrooms, huge common areas with plenty of attention to detail, such as exposed-brick rooms, mismatched chairs, sofas and cushions, Russian ceramic ovens, antique stucco moldings and vintage furniture and prints. The amenities and facilities are second to none - think top of the line Mac computers, free international calls from a quirky old phone, bicycles, and even a vintage 1970s table football.
Opened by a group of local interior designers, KoikaGo boasts imaginative design evocative of the world's cities and cultures. Each room in KoikaGo is unique and highly-functional featuring capsule beds, privacy curtains and flexible furniture that can be stowed away when not in use. There're Scandi-inspired Stockholm and Helsinki dorms, the minimalist Tokyo room, the bucolic Provence, the flamboyant Mexico, the bright Manhattan studio, and the pompous Georgian-era London flat. The spacious lounge with a dining space is the heart of the hostel where everything is happening, and if you're not in the mood to meet new people, you can always escape to a quiet computer room nearby.
Located in a former tobacco factory, Nabokov Loft Hotel oozes not only exposed brick aesthetic but also the sweet smell of a century-old tobacco. The design of the common areas is bare, bold and beautiful, where brick walls meet heavy Persian rugs on the floor. We particularly like Nabokov's huge light-filled communal kitchen and a stylish lounge with a TV and a library. The bedrooms are modestly designed, but with a similar aesthetic of exposed brick walls and large windows.
Tucked away in a courtyard among residential blocks, Scotch Hostel is one of the pioneers of boutique hostels in Russia. There're four individually designed dorms equipped with custom-made beds (we're looking at you, double-decker-shaped bunk bed) and quirky details like Soviet tapestries, Russian doll-shaped lamps, sunglass wall mirror in the bathroom or a cardboard moose head at the reception. The place has a great welcoming atmosphere with its young English-speaking staff and a super-comfy lounge ideal for movie nights.
This sleek minimalist hostel with four light-filled dorms is the perfect starting point for exploring Krasnodar. The name and design are an homage to an unfairly underrated local sight, Shukhov hyperboloid water tower, which stands just a stone's throw away from the hostel. We love this hostel for sophisticated aesthetics and subtle use of colour which go hand in hand with functional common space, impeccably clean rooms and super comfy beds. Although minute, there's enough space to relax and watch TV, work or cook dinner.
This cheeky hostel has twelve uniquely decorated private rooms and only one dormitory. It's a kind of a grown-up hostel which combines comfort, affordability, and excellent location. The interior is minimalist but each room has some colourful graffiti and quirky furnishings - think cage-like steel wardrobes and wood crate platform beds. There's plenty of common spaces including kitchen and dining room, lounge and library where you can relax and while away your time.
Tucked away in a 19th-century merchant's house just off the main pedestrian street of Kazan, Kazanskoye Podvorye is like no other hostel. What makes it so unique is the attitude of the owners towards their brainchild and their understanding that the devil is in the detail. Free breakfast buffet in the morning, sauna, cinema, free barbecue parties in the courtyard, bicycle rent, free guided tours in English, and when you come back in the evening and sink into an armchair in the library - a tray with a jug of hot milk and biscuits arrives. Dorms have all the bells and whistles including ulta-comfy beds with privacy-curtains, shelves, hangers and reading lights, while the newly-refurbished private rooms are allying to the less-is-more aesthetic with exposed brick walls and monochrome walls.
If you think that Russian avant-garde ran its course a long time ago, you should come to Hovel Hostel, a design-forward hostel inspired by the works of Malevich and Rodchenko. Rooms are spacious, light and comfortable, with the choice of private rooms and dorms. Like in a true Suprematist hovel, the design is focused on basic geometric forms and pure colours. The heart of The Hovel is its public spaces - a big kitchen with a long communal table, a lounge with sofas, TV, PS3, board games and books.
One of the best-kept secrets of Vladivostok, this beautifully designed abode is hidden on the top floor of an old residential building in the city centre. Each of the six rooms is uniquely decorated with antique furnishings, vintage typewriters and ship models from flea markets, and has a name: there's the Traveller's Room, the Architect's Room, the Author's Room, the Poet's Room, the Philosopher's Room, and the Captain's Room. The shared lounge is also filled with hundreds of quirky details such as the stacks of battered suitcases, old cuckoo clocks on the wall and antique ship lanterns. However, the star here is the spacious balcony with a telescope offering stunning views over the port, the Golden Bridge and the embankment.