Breaking the Hostel Mold in Boston
40 Berkeley Hostel offers a unique stay in a unique city.
By Hannah Monahan
An increasing number of younger people in recent years have taken an interest in travel, more so then ever before. Because of this large market opening up, a large number of hostels have opened up worldwide.
American cities have joined in on the travel fad and in many major cities hostel style businesses have opened their doors to the influx of foreign visitors. Boston is no exception. One hostel, 40 Berkeley, is one of the premier places for visitors to stay for a reasonable price.
Hostels have become the go to place to younger tourists because they allow for much more affordable travel. Instead of spending money on expensive hotels, spend money on enjoying the new surroundings of an exciting city. 40 Berkeley’s events manager Bria says these travelers, “opt for the ‘no frills’ accommodations so they can spend money on what they truly love – the experience of seeing, tasting listening to, and exploring their new surroundings.” That is the aim of most hostels around the world, and the rule for 40 Berkeley.
Located in the historical and hip South End, the hostel is in one of the trendiest spots in the city. Recently earning the title of “Restaurant Row”, In the South End there are a multitude of places to dine, drink, and party. Within walking distance to some of Boston’s best areas including Copley Square, Back Bay, and Downtown Boston, there is always something to do close by while staying at 40 Berkeley.
Places You’ve got to Visit- Let 40 Berkeley Help
Because one of 40 Berkeley’s main goals is providing affordable accommodations for travelers, they take the extra step by working with local attractions to get reduced fairs for the guests. The New England Aquarium on 1 Central Wharf in Boston is an obvious place to visit, perfect for rainy days. Featuring sharks, penguins, seals, and a touch tank, you’ll have a great time. 40 Berkeley offers discounted tickets at the front desk.
Another classic Boston tour you have to take is the Duck Tours. The large vehicle travels the streets of Boston showing you the significant and famous spots, and then easily transitions into the water taking you through the historic Charles River basin. You’ll see it all on this tour, but it can be a little pricey. Get reduced fairs through 40 Berkeley who partners with the tour group to give their guests an affordable price.
The Museum of Science is one if the best Boston Museums and is a ton of fun. There are a number of different exhibits that will spark the interest of any visitor. Situated on the Charles River there is a beautiful view from the museum, but with all the interesting things to see inside you won’t even want to look.
The electric lightshow is a favorite, and the planetarium show is spectacular. But one of the best features is the Omni IMAX theatre that shows some of the best scientific but also some main stream movies on a surrounding screen. 40 Berkeley offers reduced tickets to this Boston must see as well.
If you’re looking for more “adult fun” try going to the Sam Adams Brewery for a tour and of course tastings. Just a short ride on the Orange Line take a tour of the local brewery that serves up some of the best local beer that comes in an unbelievable amount of seasonal flavors. At the end you get to sample some of these beers for free and you even get to take a souvenir glass with you.
Eat, Drink, and Party All Night
If you’re a fan of Mexican food, just a short walk from the hostel is all the guacamole, salsa, fajitas you could ask for, and much more. Zocalo Cucina Mexicana on 35 Stanhope Street has some of the best Mexican food I’ve had in the city, especially the guacamole which is made table side specifically to your liking.
A diner Caryn says that “This is absolutely the best guacamole I’ve had. I’ve been to South America, and this runs a close second to what I ate there.” Zocalo is very affordable, and has a great atmosphere that matches the authentic Mexican cuisine. With both outdoor and indoor seating, you can get to see the streets of Boston while enjoying a margarita.
When you come to New England seafood is often on the top of traveler’s lists of things they must eat. There are endless numbers of seafood restaurants in Boston, but one of the best, appearing on 40 Berkeley’s Best 40 of Boston, is the No Name restaurant on 15 ½ Fish Pier Street West.
Right on the harbor, the No Name features some of the freshest daily catches at affordable prices. But hey, seafood is expensive, so if you’re trying to save some cash maybe split one of the generous meals.
Around the corner from 40 Berkeley is the Bee Hive on 541 Tremont St., one of the South End’s hippest bars and lounges. With lave music most nights and unique drinks, it is a really fun spot to come after a day of sightseeing. The bohemian style bar and restaurant features live music from many genres including Jazz, Blues, Reggae, Latin, and Country. It was named one of the “Top 100 Jazz Bars” by Downbeat Magazine.
A really interesting bar close to the hostel is Alibi Lounge on 215 Charles Street. At the base of Liberty Hotel, the building was once the Charles Street Jail, and the bar was fittingly once the “drunk tank”. With stone floors and brick wall, the jail cell theme is what makes this place unique and is complete with celebrity mug shots. An outdoor patio courtyard makes this a “hip yet romantic” place Bria says.
If you’re looking to have some fun dancing there are lots of 21+ clubs in Boston. But with the price of cover charges and drinks, and the often overplayed top 40 songs, a lot of these clubs can lead to a fun but trivial experience. If you want to dance all night though, try The Good Life on 28 Kingston Street. A bit too long of a walk, the club is nearby T stops and is easily accessible.
One of the best features of the lounge is the music selection, ranging from hip hop to reggae. They often have 90’s music nights, which is perfect for the young travelers 40 Berkeley generally hosts.
Breaking the Hostel Mold
Hostels often get the unfair stereotype that you’ll be living in extremely tight quarters with people you don’t know at all, but at 40 Berkeley this is simply not the case. There are a wide range of private rooms that allow you to customize your experience while still getting the hostel experience of meeting people from all over the world.
Get a room with one to four twin sized beds or a room with one full bed, all with shared clean restrooms, and two per floor. Prices for these rooms range from $84 to $224 a night on weekdays and $88 to $228 a night on weekends.
Not keen on sharing a bathroom with fellow travelers, 40 Berkeley offers rooms to accommodate. Stay in a deluxe suite that offers either two full beds, or one full and two twins, with a private bathroom for $270 a night on weekdays, and $274 a night on weekends. Prices listed are during the hostel’s high season and will reduce at other times during the year.
You could also try the Berkeley Suite which offers a full bed, a full sized pull-out couch, a private bathroom, private kitchen, and your own living room for $289 a night on weekdays, and $293 a night on weekends. Every room at the hostel is private with locking doors.
Meeting in the melting pot
A major reason for staying at a hostel though is to meet the interesting and cultured people who come from all over the world who stay there. Alex, a Slovenian tourist explains that she “went to Boston to see where all the historic events we learned at school really happened and found that Boston is much more than that.
It captured me with its charms, and so did 40 Berkeley. I had a blast in both!” The 40 Berkeley building has many places for you to go and meet with people.
Grab a coffee at the in-house Starbucks machine and sit on the outdoor patio with table and chairs. It’s the perfect place to sit and chat. Watch a sports game in the TV room with a large flat screen television, or play a game of pool in the game room.
Send emails home telling you’re family back home about your great times in Boston, or catch up on some work if you must in one of the comfortable reading and work stations. Complete with a laundry room and 24 hour security, 40 Berkeley has everything you could need in a safe and comfortable environment.
Dining in Boston is amazing with many options, but if you’re looking to keep things cheap, take advantage of the free breakfast 40 Berkeley offers in their spacious dining hall. With a full buffet, there is anything you could want, including an egg station where you can get them made to order. Dinner is available daily from an eat-in or take-out menu for a reasonable price. There are daily specials on the menu as well.
The hostel’s event staff organizes activities and excursions for free or a low cost. Go on a pub tour with the people you meet, or take a sunset yoga class hosted on the private outdoor patio. There are summer barbeques and super bowl parties.
On Marathon Monday, practically a Boston holiday, many runners stay at the hostel and enjoy a runner’s breakfast and celebrate afterwards. There’s always something to do and interesting people to meet at 40 Berkeley.
A sense of community is felt in any hostel, which is essentially communal living. 40 Berkeley takes this to another level, growing out of a community organization and maintaining its status in the South End.
The building began as a YWCA Residence for Women and by partnering with the non-profit group FOCUS: For Our Communities, the hostel still provides for the long-term residence of the YWCA. The hostel also participates in well-managed, long term residency programs. These people are a strong part of the local community and have become welcomed members of the 40 Berkeley community as well.
Read more articles about Boston, Massachusetts.
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