Written by Vanessa Chiasson, from www.turnipseedtravel.com
Hostelling International Boston. Photo by Beth Santos.
Today we are proud to launch our partnership with Hostelling International Boston for WITS ’15! The hostel is located just down the street from the Revere and WITS attendees can take advantage of a 10% off discount PLUS the waiving of the $3 nightly fees — just for being a part of WITS! If you’ve already registered for WITS, use the form at the bottom of this article to get your code.
A lot of places like to brag that they are “boutique hostels”, which is often nothing more than a euphemism for miniscule bathrooms or non-existent amenities. In a way, it’s a pity that Hostelling International’s new Boston property hasn’t adopted the trendy boutique label — they could show all the others how it’s really done!
For starters, each floor has a different brightly painted color pallet, each an homage to the Boston “T” subway system. Over-sized art prints adorn the walls, book-ending gigantic sofas. Every time the elevator doors opened (yes, an elevator! a real one!), I was hit with a burst of color and style. The designer touches were evident through the lobby as well. The exposed beams and pipes highlighted the soaring ceiling and complimented the low couches and cushions. An art patterned piano sat in one corner of the café and on several occasions, I was treated to impromptu concerts by some of the talented guests.
Not every corner is filled with a modern and edgy style. There are vintage flourishes all over the property, including reproductions of decades-old hosteling posters, shadow boxes with memorabilia, and touching tributes to those who have made major contributions to the hosteling community over the years. Together, these throwbacks to yesteryear really highlight how Hostelling International is very much a network of communities and not just a network of accommodations.
HI Boston doesn’t sacrifice substance for all its style. It has amenities which rival that of most upscale hotels and it boasts a café, a TV room, a pool table, private telephone booths, a laundry room (complete with irons and its own website showing current washer and dryer availability), a library, a computer center, and a massive kitchen and dining room. Did I mention that every day the kitchen hosts a self-serve breakfast with toast, bagels, hard boiled eggs, porridge, fruit, yogurt, juice, tea, and cocoa? And on Sundays there are even waffles with whipped cream!
Inside the rooms, there are a lot of careful touches that are sure to delight WITS participants. Features like double wide lockers that are actually more akin to mini closets and offer plenty of storage space. Many of these are personalized, name in honor of a HI supporter. There are numbered hooks, full-length mirrors, extra blankets, complimentary towels and — my favourite thing of all — a nook beside each bunk with four plugs and a reading light. It’s the only time I’ve stayed in a hostel and didn’t have to worry once about charging all my devices (and having them securely beside me at the same time).
To help WITS attendees get conference ready, the hostel doesn’t have one large communal bathroom but instead dozens of small, individual, private bathrooms, each with a sink, toilet, and large shower stall. They also come with a stack of fresh terrycloth bathmats (just put yours int he provided hamper when you’re done), shower gel, and hair dryers — the good kind!
For long term backpackers who’ve seen the more hostile side of hostels, HI Boston will be like a little slice of heaven, but I think the property actually offers even more to the non-backpacking crowd. Staying in a hostel, being surrounded by inspiring, like-minded travelers is a great way to get the best bang for the conference buck. You immerse yourself in the world of travel 24/7. You can connect with other conference attendees after hours and extend your unofficial networking. You can, of course, also connect with lots of travelers who aren’t a part of the conference and have the chance to connect with people from all around the world.
Prices at HI Boston start at $36.99 for an advanced booking in an 8 bed dorm to $64.99 for a bunk in the 4 bed dorm during peak times. The hostel is less than a 5 minute walk to the conference site and I would highly recommend it to anyone traveling on a budget, anyone looking to make even more friends and connections, and anyone who is looking for the perfect location to try hosteling for the very first time.