The Best Hostel Food Around the World

Tapas at the Oasis Granada Hostel

Tapas at the Oasis Granada Hostel – Lisbon, Portugal

Our friends at The Daily Meal love to keep us informed on the best of the best when it comes to food around the world. This time, they’ve done a great 20 best hostels around the world for food (since we know hostels can get a bad rap, and most of the time, that reputation isn’t unfounded). If a hostel serves any food at all, the best most backpackers can expect to find is some cheap white bread and bad coffee. For many travelers, this lack of decent food is hardly a point of contention. After all, eating pricey gourmet meals often isn’t an option for those traveling on a budget, and as long as the hostel is well located, safe, and free of bedbug sightings, what more could a backpacker ask for? A lot more, apparently, according to recent research.

Plus Berlin

Plus Berlin All-You-Can-Eat Buffet

A hostel meal will likely never reach the ranks of Michelin-starred dining or compare to the breakfast buffet at the St. Regis. However, some establishments are offering culinary delights such as barbecue, ceviche, poutine, and a burger that even the locals clamor over, and these are just a sampling of some of the excellent dishes found in hostel dining rooms around the world.  

Ceviche at La Hamaca Hostel - San Pedro Sula, Honduras

Ceviche at La Hamaca Hostel – San Pedro Sula, Honduras

For a minimal fee, guests at PLUS Berlin Hostel can enjoy an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet and dinner in the hostel restaurant.  The restaurant’s manager, Diego, is Italian and takes pride in the quality of the food. Options range from pizza and pasta dishes to German specialties. The hostel’s well-stocked bar also serves cocktails to get you ready for a night exploring the neighborhood’s nightclubs.

The Green Tortoise

The Green Tortoise – San Francisco, CA

So what makes a hostel’s food stand above the fray? “Food is part of the cultural experience you get when you visit a foreign country,” explains Andres Poveda Solano, co-owner of Hostel Pangea in Costa Rica, while Green Tortoise Hostel in San Francisco provides hearty and healthy free breakfast every day of organic oatmeal and fresh fruit, and free dinner three times per week including dishes like pasta primavera and Thai curry.

The Menaggio Youth Hostel's Cooking Classes - Lake Como, Italy

The Menaggio Youth Hostel’s Cooking Classes – Lake Como, Italy

Good food at a hostel enhances the backpacker’s experience. One of the charms of staying in a hostel is the opportunity it offers to meet people from all over the world, and for these hostels, the dining room is one place where the magic happens. Whether you’re enjoying a hearty breakfast on a terrace overlooking the scenic French countryside or participating in a free tour with fellow travelers of a Spanish city’s tapas bars, the food at these top 20 hostels will create memories you won’t quickly forget.

The 20 Best Hotels Around the World For Food

What hostels have you stayed in that had great food?

By Michelle Kiefer

Milan’s Discount Shopping Treasure

Milan’s Galleria

While Paris may hold the title of ‘Fashion Capital of the World’, Milan is her runner-up (if not her better understudy). Considered one of the chicest, sophisticated and fashion conscious cities in all of Italy, every big name fashion brand has a store in Milan, displaying the latest clothing and accessories direct from the catwalk – trends that won’t reach the rest of the world for months. The style in Milan is decidedly cutting-edge, which is why we’re so much in love with it, changing constantly to reflect the newest trends and fads amongst fashionistas.

Milan is also a big city with plenty of attractions and sights, but the primary designer shopping district is remarkably compact, making it dangerously simple to flit from store to store with credit card in hand, even if you’re just visiting for a few hours as part of a European cruise to nearby Genoa. Known as Quadrilatero d’Oro – directly translated as Golden Quadrilateral – the district connects four streets in the city lined with designer stores which span almost one mile: Via della Spiga, Via Sant’Andrea, Via Alessandro Manzoni and Via Montenapoleone. Along these streets shoppers can discover the delights of Hermes, Miu Miu, Chanel, Giorgio Armani, Versace, Stella McCartney, Tiffany and Gucci, to name just a select few. There’s even Armani Junior for young fashion lovers, but it’s really all about the bespoke shoe designers and stores like Mario Leoni, Barbara Beryl (La Vetrina di Beryl), Berluti, and Le Solferine.

However, Milan’s big name brands aren’t restricted solely to this Quadrilatero d’Oro, and a few of the world-renowned fashion labels have spread out into some of the city’s shopping malls. Shopping malls can be found all over Milan, and Italy’s oldest mall is actually located right in the heart of the city. Built in 1877, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II made news in 2012 for making the somewhat controversial decision not to renew the lease of the McDonalds fast food restaurant that had been serving up burgers and fries for 20 years. The store’s replacement? The mall’s second Prada store. This emphasizes just how much Milan is striving to remain at the top of its game.

Fidenza Village

These designer stores are fascinating to look round and view the unique and gorgeous creations, but the price tags can be downright terrifying, we must admit. Fortunately, Milan caters to everyone, and the quick-moving trends within the ever-changing fashion world particularly lend themselves to outlet malls and stores. Travelers looking for a day excursion from their cruise and who love fashion but hate the prices should consider a trip to Fidenza Village, located 70 miles south of Milan, close to Parma. Boasting ‘chic outlet shopping’, Fidenza Village is like the Disneyland of fashion. The village has been purpose-built to display older, yet still current, trends at hugely reduced prices. The village operates a ‘Shopping Express’ bus from Milan, leaving at 10 a.m. and departing the village at 6.30 p.m., giving shoppers a full three hours to browse through hot trends at discount prices.

Whether you’re a fashion lover or not, if you’re in Milan then the shopping district just isn’t to be missed. Beautiful and sophisticated designs are interspersed with the most bizarre creations you can imagine. Although some believe that Milan has been trumped by Paris in terms of fashion and style, the city is without a doubt the best place in Italy for picking up gifts and treats from the biggest fashion houses in the world. Just be sure to take a credit card… or two!

www.fidenzavillage.com

Your Yoga Yacht Away from Home

The Voyager. Your Yacht Away from Home.

The Voyager. Your Yacht Away from Home.

How ’bout this?? Group IST is offering a special eight-day Yoga Retreat In The Riviera aboard the newly-built 68-meter Variety Cruises Voyager Mega Yacht. Practice Prana Vinyasa yoga twice daily while unraveling the wonders of the French of Italian Rivieras and the splendorous Mediterranean islands of Elba and Corsica (remind me to tell you about the time I kissed a beautiful Italian on the rocks of Bonifacio). Guided by instructor Konstantina Maridaki, who trained under world-renowned guru Shiva Rea, the yoga program is based on the five Pancha Vayus, which have been the core of Vedic, Tantric and Ayurvedic yoga practices for over 5.000 years. The retreat will be devoted to traditional practices, innovative explorations, inward reflection, dynamic morning vinyasa sadhana, while integrating specific and creative tools for a transformative yoga practice. I could really use some of that right now (I call it “Summeritis”).

Your Stateroom... away from the states

Your Stateroom… away from the states

The high oxygen levels and iodized air of the Mediterranean optimize the effect of the traveler’s yoga practice. I swear, it’s true (at least… that’s what they tell us). Daily sessions of 60-minute Solar Gathering classes in the morning and a 60-minute Lunar Salutation classes at sunset are augmented by meditation sessions and three 30-minute lectures (The Miracle of Prana Breathing on Life, Why Yoga?: How Yoga Can Help your Body Posture and Activate Your Chakras and Achieving a Healthy Life Style Through Yoga and Diet) throughout the cruise.

Travelers will embark on the yacht in Nice and sail to St Tropez, Corsica, Ile Rousse, Bonifacio, Elba, Portovenere, Cinqueterre, Portofino and Monte Carlobeforedisembarking in Nice on the eighth day.

Fares for the Yoga Retreat In The Riviera range from $1690 – $6000 per person, depending on suite size and number of occupants. The cruise departs on Saturdays, August 11 and August 18, 2012.

http://www.groupist.com/yogaretreat.

Lake Como’s Grand Hotel Tremezzo

The Grand Hotel Tremezzo - Lake Como

The Grand Hotel Tremezzo – Lake Como

Located on the shores of the famous Lake Como, lies a gem of a property we’re looking to stay.  With 88 molto elegant rooms and 10 exclusive suites, we’re talking about the Grand Hotel Tremezzo.

Why are we recently obsessed, you ask?

Well, it’s unique lakeside positioning offers unparalleled views of Bellagio, the Riviera delle Azalee and the stunning Grigne mountains.

The View of Lake Como from the Hotel Grand Tremezzo

The View of Lago di Como (Lake Como) from the Hotel Grand Tremezzo

The hotel’s true Art Nouveau style and décor also hosts five upscale dining venues by renowned chef Maestro Gualtiero Marchesi. What a great name, eh? And now, the historic Grand Hotel Tremezzo celebrates the grand opening of their newly renovated ultra luxe Rooftop Floor, comprised of eight lavishly-appointed suites.  A mix between contemporary and old-world charm, these are just a few latest additions to this swanky centenary palace. The iconic hotel dates back to 1910 and also showcases a rejuvenating spa, flower gardens, and an age-old park. Glitteratti and guests flock to the hotel’s upscale restaurants and wine bars for culinary guest master-chef Gualtiero Marchesi’s authentic Italian fare.

Allooorrrraaaa... Now That's a Room with a View

Allooorrrraaaa… Now That’s a Room with a View

Spearheaded by Italian designer Venelli Kramer in collaboration with the De Santis family, who manage the hotel today, the delicate renovation of the Rooftop Floor is evocative of the picturesque lakeside estate. Taking inspiration from Italian classics and Lake Como itself, did we mention that each of the suites also comes with their own private terrace, outdoor heated Jacuzzi, butler, and panoramic views of the lake? Luxury bathrooms throughout also include Cedarstone and Imperial marble with double basins, bathtubs overlooking the room’s views, and a separate shower.

George Clooney, who?

Suite rates start @480 EUR (approximately USD $627*)/night

www.grandhoteltremezzo.com

Melanie Brandman is… The Travel Curator

She’s something of a 007 in heels… ready to hit the tarmac. She possesses that rare blend of friendly, fierce, and intelligent. And, of course, if she’s going to advise luxury hoteliers, she must also be lethally… stylish. She is… The Most Interesting Travel Curator in the World. She is… Melanie Brandman. Yes, anyone who’s anyone in the luxe travel world knows this stunning powerhouse and she’s always fascinated us for a variety of reasons. Namely, we admire women-on-top who carry-on a smile with business savvy to boot.
An eighth-generation Australian, Brandman spent her childhood in Melbourne and Sydney and, although she’s been calling NYC home for a number of years, she began her 20+ years of public relations experience with positions at Vogue Australia, and InterContinental Hotels & Resorts,  Sydney and London. Eventually, she settled in New York City where, in 2001, she established The Brandman Agency. Today, her agency counts itself as one of the major competitors in the global luxury travel market.

La Mamounia - Marrakech

Now, Brandman brings passion to her latest project and one that gets our attention… a travel website called The Travel Curator, for the traveler who craves exciting, unique experiences. The site – Melanie’s virtual diary of sorts – is designed to cut through all of the clutter of your average travel website; instead, giving people who love travel all of her tried and tested favorites, as well as word-of-mouth travel tips and favorite must-do’s. She’s all about what’s new and what’s now, places to go, and where to go once you’re there. This upcoming month The Travel Curator will feature London and each month in the Salon Section, a celebrity or influencer will be interviewed.

Melanie Brandman - The Travel Curator

So we asked Melanie: Out of your impressive client roster, what are some of  your favorites?

La Mamounia in Marrakech – Perhaps the most iconic hotel in Morocco, La Mamounia re-opened in late 2009 after a magnificent 3-year makeover, under the direction of star designer Jacques Garcia. There are two things that I love most about this hotel:

1) It’s historical significance. Since its original debut in 1923, La Mamounia has hosted the “who’s who” of international royalty, politicians, celebrities and the jet set

2) The design. The hotel fits perfectly into it’s surroundings, thanks to its contemporary Moroccan design. The breathtaking mosaics and moldings make you feel like you are in the city center (yet surrounded by peace and privacy).  The hotel has expanded with 136 guest rooms, 71 Suites, and three incredible Riads. Their spa is something like 27,000 sq feet, every inch of it divine, as is their iconic pool, which I love for people watching. I would, and often do, recommend this hotel to anyone in search of the very best.  www.mamounia.com

Villa San Michele - Florence, Italy

Villa San Michele in Fiesole, Italy — Once a Franciscan monastery, this flagship Orient-Express hotel is located on an ancient hilltop and features facades done by Michelangelo himself. It has perhaps one of the most epic views of any hotel I have ever stayed, a rare bird’s-eye view of Florence (one of my all-time favorite cities). It’s tranquil, it’s sophisticated… the service, the gardens, and white-glove room-service (especially for breakfast) are impeccable. www.villasanmichele.com

InterContinental Hong Kong's Superb Rooftop

InterContinental Hong Kong - Everything about this hotel is dramatic, in all the right ways. When I stay at this hotel, I feel as though I am right on top of the water, like being on a yacht in the middle of one of the world’s buzziest cities. The Presidential Suites, if you can sneak a peak, are not to be missed. The service and the butlers and the staff in general are beyond accommodating. And you don’t even need to leave the hotel to eat or drink, if you so choose — Nobu and Alain Ducasse’s Spoon are two of many superb dining options on property. http://www.ichotelsgroup.com/intercontinental/en/gb/locations/hongkong

So there you have it, straight from the 007 of bespoke travel. For more of Melanie’s insider travel picks and monthly interviews with top designers and celebs, check out her website, The Travel Curator, it’s one to watch.

www.thetravelcurator.com