WHERE TO STAY IN: HAARLEM
HELLO I'M LOCAL
For years when looking at travel accommodation my sights would not dare stray from the traditional hotel offerings, challenged only by increasingly innovative and inviting boutique hotels and the occasional airbnb.
My reluctance to experience a hostel stay was compounded by my preconceived idea that hostels were invariably all the same: rows of bunk beds and lockers in sparingly maintained old buildings. This was, until coming across Hello I'm Local.
The rise of a new breed of hostels, combining the comfort and aesthetics of a boutique hotel with the price point and social fora of a hostel, has challenged even my most deeply held bias.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by a genuinely friendly host, who not only checked us in but also took the time to get to know us a little and offer some tailored suggestions for places to check out the next day. This warm welcome, untroubled by our rather later arrival, set the tone for the rest of our stay.
Hello I'm Local is aptly named, providing the perfect base to explore Haarlem and experience the city like a local; that is, by bicycle (thanks to its on-site bike rental). But rest assured, if you prefer that your feet remain firmly on the ground, the hostel's location in the cool Burgwal neighbourhood and its proximity to the centre make walking a particularly pleasant alternative.
The redbrick building's interior is assorted with a carefully curated composition of vintage furniture, quirky details and fresh colourful blooms. Minimal design and a neutral palette are complemented by tastefully repurposed items - flower pots and lights are fitted into old cocoa and biscuit tins, and maps make for uniquely inspiring wall art.
Everything about this hostel felt more boutique hotel meets cool airbnb, than rowdy drunken party goers scene, without ever compromising on conviviality. A refreshing alternative to the stereotypical hostel, Hello I'm local boasts comfort, style, and substance. With an exception of its kind, the only regret you'll have, is not booking for longer.