The options for hostels in Melbourne were overwhelming so I asked a friend for her recommendations. She gave me two and I decide to try them both while in Melbs. First up was Flinders.
When arriving at Flinders you are directed to the third floor and the elevators open up into a surprising open concept reception, kitchen, and common space area. There was also a movie theater on the same floor. It was nice having one main floor where all the action happened and guests could congregate. Speaking of guests that was the one really strange rule – no non-hostel guests allowed anywhere at any time in the hostel. That to me was strange of how strict it was. I guess the rule must exist for a reason, but I was surprised you couldn’t invite any friends over even during the day. A lot of people that I had met were staying here on an extended basis and there was a sense of community within the hostel amongst guests.
The best thing about this hostel that I haven’t seen anywhere else was the amount of free food on offer daily. Specifically, in the morning they had make your own pancakes and toast with many spread options and free pasta and rice was available all day. That was a really nice perk for staying here.
I was in a four person female dorm. The space was fine, but my roommates were all varying levels of illness so I wanted to get out of there as quickly as I could. There was a bar below the hostel on the second floor with happy hour and drink specials/events pretty much every day. Downstairs there was a lovely coffee shop that hostel guests received discounts here. The hostel’s location was very central and close to Flinder’s Station. If you are looking for a hostel in Melbourne this is a great option.
The second hostel stop was United Backpackers, but I was only here for a night. United Backpackers is the highest rated hostel in Melbourne on HostelWorld and as a result has limited availability for bookings. I decided to check it out for a night for the experience, but I already knew I wanted to go back to the hotel I stayed at just for some extra comfort.
This location was even better than Flinders and when comparing the two properties there are drastic differences. Reception at United is on the first floor right when you walk in. The workers were all very friendly and helpful and the music playing contributed to the vibe (think 2000s summer hits – like Ocean Avenue by Yellowcard). Everything else was upstairs and separated so it was not the huge open floor plan like at Flinders. They also had free pancakes in the morning, but it was more limited; someone made them for you and you only got two at a time, though I’m sure you could go up for seconds if you wanted to, I just didn’t – different from the unlimited make your own at Flinders. The bar was in the basement and had a kind of grungy, house party feeling, which went well with Melbourne’s whole vibe. I heard Flinders had over 400 people staying there at one time and this was definitely a fraction of that.
I was only here the one night so I didn’t have the opportunity to really be social with anyone outside of my roommates, but it did seem like people were close and social. I really liked this location and overall atmosphere here. This hostel is more likely to be sold out/limited capacity so book sooner rather than later if you want to stay here.
Flinders vs. United
So which one would I recommend? I would stay at both again so it really depends. The pancakes were totally worth it at Flinders, but the vibe was a bit cooler at United. I think on my next trip to Melbourne I would stay a couple more nights at United Backpackers just to experience everything they have to offer including the social activities, but if you are looking for a hostel I don’t think you could go wrong with either.