En suite bathrooms, Wi-Fi and cool decor are no longer strangers to youth hostels, which still offer great camaraderie – perhaps why Guardian readers voted the YHA winner of the best UK hotel in this year’s travel awards
• Five of the best YHA hostels in the UK
In my teenage years, a summer spent youth hostelling with friends was one of the only holiday options that met with universal parental approval. A painstakingly wholesome, budget-friendly dose of communal self-catering, making new chums over a couple of jolly rounds of cribbage, then going upstairs to sleep with them. No, mum, not like that.
But single-sex dormitories filled with snorers and mud were a tough sell to those of us who’d moved on from Enid Blyton to Hunter S Thompson and feared sharing a bunk bed with some prematurely bearded, Kumbaya-humming hostel stereotype of the age.