This award is extra special! Hostels couldn’t nominate themselves, instead, the HOSCARs judges picked the top five hostel submissions across all entries and only one hostel will walk away victorious (although, we’re sure you’ll agree they’re all deserving!). Have a read through, remind yourself why you love hostels and hostelling so much, and then vote for your favourite to win Extraordinary Hostel Hero.
1. WELCOMMON HOSTEL (Greece)
Saving people and the planet is just what they do at Welcommon Hostel in Athens. Travellers get involved in their humanitarian, social and environmental projects, alongside locals and refugees too. It’s a real community hub, a place for learning from and socialising with people from all walks of life. It’s a safe space for survivors of sexual violence and torture, and also open to the elderly and those with chronic illness. The hostel team have helped guests find employment, training, and education. It’s a centre for innovation, art, and sustainable living. This hostel really is making our world a better place.
2. The Prime Spot Backpacker’s Hostel (Peru)
This Lima-based hostel is rated 10 ‘Superb’, by travellers like you! Not only have they achieved the best review score possible, they launched a social aid initiative called ‘Staying with a Purpose’, working with volunteer guests to provide health, food and housing to Lima’s most deprived communities. The village of San Genaro received aid for their elderly, sick, and orphaned children and they’ve managed to get essential food supplies to many projects, feeding those people most in need. The pandemic created more demand for their services and despite seeing their own income fall, they’ve dedicated more time to helping others. The team here work with sensitivity and empathy, ensuring the human-factor is their priority.
3. El Rio Hostel (Colombia)
Found in the middle of the Colombian jungle, not far from Tayrona National Park and the Caribbean Coast, this hostel and other local businesses and people, heavily rely on the steady flow of travellers it usually attracts to survive. In March 2020 as travellers returned home it plunged the Tayrona area into unemployment and left many families unable to feed themselves. The team at El Rio Hostel didn’t hesitate in using their expertise and connections to start fundraising for their local community. Managing to fundraise an incredible $20,000 USD, they fed over 1,000 families between April and July 2020. They travelled door-to-door, reaching families most in need with healthy and locally sourced produce, packages of food containing pumpkins, onions, garlic, arepa flour, oil, panela, rice, frijol beans and lentils. Thankfully, travellers are starting to return, but El Rio Hostel played a crucial role in helping the communities survive the toughest months.
4. JAM Hostel Barcelona (Spain)
Pre-pandemic, Jam Hostel, was a popular spot for global backpackers exploring Barcelona. Working with BarcelonaActua, they now provide a home to 40 young refugees. Many of these young people had travelled alone and needed housing, emotional support, and employment. With funding from the Alcantara Family Foundation, they’re now supporting their guests, giving them back physical, psychological, and emotional integrity. The team at Jam Hostel have always prioritised making a positive impact, valuing people over profit.
5. A&O Hostels (Europe)
A&O Hostels immediately understood that they had the facilities to make a real difference as COVID-19 spread throughout Europe. Reaching out mainly to the German and Austrian authorities, they offered their beds to those who most needed them. Across all 21 locations, they provided a safe refuge for vulnerable people and medical staff saving lives on the frontline. Their sales team dealt with the necessary bureaucracy and still to this day A&O are supporting homeless people, victims of domestic violence and medical staff.
Have you cast your vote? Once you’re done, head back to explore more EXTRAORDINARY HOSCARs finalists, or have a read through their entries in these posts: