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January 06, 2010
Following the mad rush of Christmas and New Year festivities, exhausted party goers will be anxiously awaiting the chance to relax, refocus and detox for the start of 2010. Hostelworld.com has put together its top picks for kicking back and relaxing for that well earned January break as well as escaping those winter blues.
Gyreum Hostel in Sligo, Ireland
A first of its kind in Ireland, this hostel was voted the best ecological building of the year by the European Eco-Label and was also crowned as a Lama Award Finalist. Located near Castlebaldwin, Co. Sligo this hostel overlooks Lough Arrow and is nestled in amongst the heart of Sligo's cairn topped mountains. With open fire and large movie screen you can spend time relaxing in the circular hall or reading in the cosy, glass domed library. Alternatively you can explore ancient archaeology sites or surf or walk in the Bricklieve mountains. Like the Luck of the Irish, you won't believe your fortune in this truly unique hostel.
Rates from €17.00 pp/per night
Traveller's Haven in Bled, Slovenia
Traveller's Haven was voted the best hostel in Slovenia for 2008 by Hostelworld.com users.The hostel is located in the centre of Bled's residential district, only yards from St Martin's Church at the foot of the spectacular cliff top Bled Castle, where many concerts and recitals are put on throughout the year. The building itself is a typical Bled house from the beginning of the 20 century. The hostel sleeps 27 people in five mixed dorms and a double bedroom. There is also a fully equipped kitchen and a living room with wireless internet access. Bled is an Alpine resort of breathtaking beauty. The vibrant town surrounds a crystal clear spa lake, fed by the pure, green melt water from the Julian Alps. In the winter it is crisp, dry and cold and occasionally the lake freezes and Bled is engulfed in snow. A winter wonderland for guests who can be expected to get their skates on. The snow capped Julian Alps are the background to this fairytale scenery. One for history lovers, Bled and its surroundings, are steeped in history from Roman times, to the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Front Line in WW1, to Tito and the socialist Yugoslavia until 1991 when it gained independence and joined the European Union in 2004.
Rates from €19.00 pp/per night
Homemade Hostel Bulgaria in Tserovo, Bulgaria
This traditional Bulgarian farm house hostel is located in the Iskar gorge. It is run by two artists and a musician who write all their own music and create beautiful artwork, both of which can be admired by guests. If travelers are foodies this hostel is the ideal choice as it uses as much organic local food as possible and enjoys creating healthy meals for guests. They are specialists in vegan and vegetarian dietary requirements (but do also cater for meat eaters!) The hostel is situated on a working farm as one of the owners is an agricultural scientist. They even hold residential courses in one of the farm house on the property so as well as relaxing; guests can also learn a new skill.
Rates from €4 pp/per night
The Kenai International Hostel in Soldotna, USA
Situated on 5 acres of family owned homestead, the Kenai International hostel is the ideal place for a remote getaway. Guests can enjoy river fishing, sightseeing and wild land trail hiking opportunities available right on the doorstep. If they are lucky they may even bump into a moose at the same time! Guests at the hostel have easy access to the nearby Kenai National Wildlife Refuge visitor center and other state parks that are rich in naturalist activities. The world famous Kenai River meanders through Soldotna a short 5 minute drive from the hostel. The Kenai River is home to the world record King salmon and is renowned as an excellent spot for avid fisherman to get away for some quality down time, relaxing on the banks next to their rods. The Kenai International Hostel has rooms ranging from single to bunk rooms and so offers something for everyone. As a nonsmoking and alcohol free property, guests can ensure a healthy break away with no rowdy party people disturbing their slumbers making a welcome relief from the December parties.
Rates from £15.38 pp/pn
Rainforest Shangrila Resort in Wotten Waven, Dominica
Located on the island of Dominica the hostel sits one thousand feet above sea level, away from the heat and bustle of the beach areas and the cities, on the edge of a rain forest, where steam and natural hot water emerge from the unspoiled earth. This gives guests that true island paradise feeling and produces some great photographs for jealous friends at home. For centuries the natives of the island have been using these mineral rich waters and vapors for healing, relaxation and simple pleasure. The geothermal areas provide the hostel with ample mineral rich mud of varying colors for mud baths, wraps and facials. Better than spending the big bucks on spas at home, this getaway offers the real thing here. Guests can choose a rustic bamboo cabin with modern luxuries that is hidden in twenty foot high cane or one located with a view of the changing colors of the clouds as the sun sets on the Caribbean Sea. The reception center contains a restaurant with indoor and veranda dining.
Rates from €34.00 pp/per night for double bed private ensuite
Richmond Vale Nature and Hiking Center in Chateaubelair, Saint Vincent And The Grenadines
Richmond Vale Nature and Hiking Center is situated on the Leeward Coast of mainland St.Vincent and is located 5 minutes away from the beach at the foot of the volcano La Soufriereâ. The Wallibou River is close by where there are also waterfalls and hot springs. Guests can enjoy a dip in these to freshen up after their long journeys or explorations of the day. This is a unique, picturesque spot where guests can relax, kick back and put the world to rights. The rooms are private meaning guests can escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life in true privacy. Towels and bedding can also be provided on arrival - another weight of the mind! The hostel also offers tours of the volcano, salt ponds, waterfalls and Vermont trail parks.
Rates from €18.00 pp/per night
The Moose Hoose in Stara Lubovna, Slovakia
The Moose Hoose is a beautiful, small cottage standing alone in the glorious Slovakian countryside. The cottage has a 360 degree view of natural beauty. With only 7 beds, this hostel has a unique cosy atmosphere. Guests can enjoy regular fires from the fire pit and with plenty of local activities there is always something to keep you occupied. Within a short bus ride there are many Slovakian places of interest to visit including Stara Lubovna Castle, rafting on the Danjuec (which borders Poland and Slovakia), Levoca a local historical town, Bardejov (a Unesco site), Slovensky Raj (a beautiful national park), and many more which guests can learn more about from the hostel on arrival. The Moose Hoose also offers a host of activities including hiking, bike rides, various racket sports, and loads of board games. There is 3000 sq metres of land around the hostel so there is plenty of space for some fresh air or just simply lounge around in one of their relaxing hammocks. If you fancy staying inside in colder weather, the lounge has a log burner ensuring a cosy feel to the cottage.
Rates from €14.00 pp/per night
Grundarfjordur Youth Hostel in Grundarfjordur, Iceland
Grundarfjörður Hostel occupies a charming old house in a small and picturesque fishing village surrounded by a dramatic backdrop of high soaring mountains, the ultimate of remote getaways. This small town is right in the middle of the magical Snæfellsnes Peninsula which makes it an ideal stopover from which to explore the surrounding area and points of interest. The legendary Snæfellsjökull glacier is only 20 minutes west, and the ferry to the West Fjords is 35 minutes to the east. The Hostel is a stone's throw from the swimming pool and a few minutes' walk will take you straight into the magnificent mountains surrounding the town. Despite the relaxed atmosphere there is a multitude of activities and services available. Rather than strolling around and watching the boats land fish at the harbour, visitors can go golfing on one of the finest 9-hole golf courses in the country. Guests can also go horse-riding, bicycling, hiking, fishing, mountain-climbing and swimming, or just hang out in the hostel garden with a drink. Iceland was typically expensive in the past but prices have shot down which would be helped further by staying in this hostel. If Iceland is the dream destination, there really isn't a better time to visit.
Rates from €16.00 pp/per night
Kamerkloof Gastehuis in Studtis Baviaanskloof, South Africa
Kamerkloof guest house is a newly refurbished self-catering guest house situated on an olive estate on a World Heritage Site. Its location in the heart of the Baviannskloof makes it ideal for travellers wishing to explore the area, there are three 'Kloofs' (valleys) on the farm, ideal for walking, swimming and exploring, not only that the guesthouse offers beautiful unobstructed views of the surrounding Baviaanskloof and Kouga mountains. The hostel has rooms ranging from dorms to luxury ensuite rooms. There is also a fully equipped flat for families or groups. The hostel has a fresh water reservoir for swimming which is surrounded by decking and two braai (barbeque areas) where guests can relax and take in the beautiful scenery, ideal for South Africa's January sun. There are a range of activities nature lovers and guests can enjoy such as picnics, guided walks, Indigenous Forest Walks, game viewing, swimming in rock pools, fishing, astronomy and even leopard tracking.
Rates from €15.00 pp/per night
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