None were better than Penthouse 1004 in Bariloche, Argentina.
Firstly, the location. Penthouse 1004 is, pretty obviously, on the top floor of a big apartment building. It has panoramic views of the whole town, which would be impressive in any city, but Bariloche is a place that must be seen to be believed. Along with the old city in Cartagena this, for me, is the most beautiful city in South America. Luscious deep blue lakes well at the bottom of towering white-capped mountains and low rising clouds. It's typically pristine Patagonia.
|The view from Penthouse 1004|
Secondly, the staff are incredible. They were more than happy to practice speaking Spanish with me and tried to put on less of an Argentinian accent so that I would understand better. They knew everything about the town: what there was to do, how to get there, where the supermarkets were (essential) etc. They were always super friendly.
The facilities were also amazing. The beds were big and comfortable with plenty of linen to get you through those cold Patagonian nights. The rooms were spacious, the lockers very secure and the kitchen was gigantic with plenty of fridge space, which is (as I'm sure many of you know) a rarity at a hostel. Not only that, but there was freshly baked bread provided for you every morning which, by Argentinian hostel standards, is pretty damn good. Normally, you just get injected with sugar: dulce de leche and media lunas (aka croissants).
|My girlfriend, Tam, getting blown away by the beauty of Bariloche|
The vibe of the hostel was unrivaled. Everyone (when I stayed there at least) was sociable and friendly but also extremely relaxed. While this is certainly not a party hostel, you're always more than welcome to stay up and hang out with people in the common area which is far enough away from the rooms not to be noisy.
All in all, a great spot. Trust me, I'm not getting paid to do this. Now there's a dream, getting paid to blog...