Hostelling International is the hostel chain that most people will know. I’ve stayed at plenty, because I was familiar with them, but always found them huge and impersonal backpackers factories. I mean, ever stayed at Sydney Central YHA?
Then I travelled to New Zealand and discovered BBH. And I was spoilt forever. ❤
BBH (http://www.bbh.co.nz/) is a listing of a wide range of independently owned hostels. Hostels are evaluated by backpackers and those ratings are visible for everyone to see in both the hostelguide and on the website. If you pick a hostel with a rating of 80% or higher, you know you’ve got a good one.
I’ll share my current top 3 with you 🙂
Hopewell, Marlborough Sounds (BPP 97%)
The hostel that will spoil you forever and ever and ever! The location is to die for and hosts Mike and Lynley are super super friendly. Ok, it takes a bit of trouble to get there (easiest by water taxi), but the effort is well worth it. I promise! 🙂 It hasn’t received a Supreme Award from BBH for nothing! And if anywhere in New Zealand you tell fellow backpackers you’re going to Hopewell, everyone will go ‘oooooh’. Extensive kitchen, comfy beds, stunning views. It’s a piece of paradise and you’ll never ever want to leave! 🙂 I had to, but can’t wait to go back and I’ll even deal with the sandflies! 😛
Lazy Dolphin Lodge, Curio Bay (BPP 84%)
Situated in the gorgeous and remote Catlins, this little gem awaits! Curio Bay itself is tiny but beautiful and this hostel fits there perfectly. Host Glenda is super nice! She even let me ride her horse, which was awesome! The hostel is spotlessly clean, the beds comfy and the view is stunning. There is nothing better than looking out the window and seeing dolphins in the surf! I’ll be back for sure. 🙂
Trampers Rest, Nelson (BPP 90%)
With just 7 beds, this is the smallest hostel I’ve ever stayed at. The hosts Alan and Piri are very friendly and Piri makes delicious cake! It’s very homey, but that’s only fair as it’s their own home that they turn into a hostel in the high season every year. The location is perfect too. All in all a wonderful home away from home, that I’d love to return to one day. 🙂