Checking in: the world’s best hotels and boutique stays for solo travelers
What’s in a great hotel for solo travelers? Well, a friendly vibe is a must: most of us traveling alone want to rock up somewhere where the staff are warm and welcoming – and there are plenty of nice communal spots.
Equally important is a local, immersive feel. You don’t want to hole up in some generic-yet-convenient corporate “meh” place. You’re opening yourself up to the full experience. That means local food, quirky entertainment, spectacular views – the whole nine yards of what a particular region or locality has to offer.
If you’re based in a city, it helps if a hotel it’s central, with lots of buzz and eclectic neighborhoods nearby. If you’re somewhere more remote, the hotel needs to be an experience in itself – drawing you and your fellow travelers together. Here are just a few of our favorite stays for solo travelers, all available on Flash Pack trips…
El Mangroove, Papagayo, Costa Rica
Costa Rica’s coastal culture laps up to the shores of El Mangroove – a boutique stay on the shores of the Gulf of Papagayo. You can go fishing for snapper or sailfish with new-found friends, explore the area’s teeming offshore coral reefs or take things slow with stand-up paddleboarding. It’s very much not a stay where you’ll be left twiddling your thumbs, wondering what to do.
Learn to surf, hop in a kayak or grab free bikes to explore pindrop-quiet beaches. It’s only near-neighbor is nature, so naturally, it’s all inclusive. And a free bar means fast friends, people…
Feynan Ecolodge, Dana Reserve, Jordan
National Geographic Traveler Magazine named Feynan Ecolodge in Jordan’s Dana Nature Reserve as one of the best eco lodges in the world. When you arrive here, it’s not hard to see why. The entire place is solar powered, and at night, it’s bathed in candlelight for a magical atmosphere. The hotel has close links with the local Bedouin community, so you can join neighboring families in activities such as making Arabic coffee or weaving goat-haired tents.
The secluded, otherworldly location means it’s easy to bond with other travelers, too, whether you’re sharing a three-course vegetarian feast or star-gazing over a mint tea from the rooftop, with incredible views of the night sky.
Mama Shelter, Lisbon, Portugal
Located centrally in hip and happening Lisbon, Mama Shelter offers a solo-travel experience on the opposite end to Feynan. Its rooftop terrace is *the* place to be come sunset, with table football, ping-pong, guest DJs and an iconic Island Bar flanked by guests from all over the world.
Vibrant signature cocktails are all part of the vibe here, as are design-led communal spaces. The food, too, is a talking point for you and your newfound friends – we particularly like Mama’s coquillettes with ham and Emmental cheese. And if you really hit it off, snap the moment for safekeeping in one of the hotel’s photo booths.
Belle Maison Hadana, Hoi An, Vietnam
Hội An is a friendly place all in itself, and Belle Maison Hadana is a great spot to explore it from – located handily between the picturesque Old Town and the beach. It’s easy to meet fellow travelers by the pool here, over a sundowner at the Terrace Cafe, or on the hotel-run shuttle to the sand and the South China Sea.
If you want to amp up the adventure factor a notch, you and other travelers can hire free bikes from the hotel and set out along lantern-lined streets, or weave between the rice-paddy-rich countryside.
Mdluli Safari Lodge, Kruger, South Africa
Mdluli Safari Lodge offers a fully immersive wildlife experience: even having coffee here comes with the possibility of seeing wandering giraffes or herds of buffalo just metres away. Equally, the hotel’s infinity pool overlooks a watering hole where elephants and zebras are frequent guests – a wow sight that’s easily enough to tempt you out of your luxury safari tent.
The sheer spectacle will have you bonding with other guests in no time. But a South African safari is a very social set-up as well – often bookended with bush braais and sunset sundowners under the African night sky, not to mention evening gatherings around the camp fire. You’ll be sharing jokes and life stories in no time.
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Diez Hotel, Medellín, Colombia
Medellín, Colombia’s fêted “City of Eternal Spring”, calls to intrepid souls – some of whom you’ll cross paths with at this charismatic design hotel, located in the chic El Poblado district. The rooftop restaurant and hot tub here are both areas where you’ll make new friends; the spectacular views alone are a cracking conversation starter.
A friendly vibe continues with the jungle-themed co-working space, the Turkish hammam-style steam bath and the natural design accents. Once you’ve had a chance to hang out, plenty of the city’s best boutiques, restaurants and museums are in walking distance.
Hotel Rangá, Hella, Iceland
Hotel Rangá, in the south of Iceland, is an adventure hotel that knows how to deliver. This cabin-style retreat comes with its own stargazing observatory, which, on a clear night, gifts you front-row views to the dancing Northern Lights.
Like Feynan in Jordan, Hotel Rangá is quite secluded, so it’s easy to get a community feel going with your fellow guests. If you want to make friends for life, try wallowing in the geothermal hot tubs, sharing a few shots of Brennivín (a potent Icelandic spirit) as you admire the sparse glacial landscape.
Riad Bensouda, Fes, Morocco
There are so many communal areas to enjoy in this gloriously decorated hotel in the medieval city of Fes. Think: a large living room with fireplace, a tranquil pool area and a rooftop terrace where you can drink in extraordinary views while feasting on tagine and other Moroccan delicacies.
The on-site workshops are also a good shout for meeting new people: you can try out Moroccan cooking, pottery, calligraphy and more, in a deep-dive into local culture. Once you’ve found your people, the city’s souks beckon for a sensory adventure of colorful market stalls and echoing mosques, set within beautifully tiled alleyways.
Mirador Del Lago, El Calafate, Argentina
Settle down with a book and a glass of malbec in this cosy hotel overlooking Argentino lake in El Calafate – the gateway to the Argentina’s portion of Patagonia. Hearty local fare is all part of the experience here, and the entire place radiates a warmth and easy-going spirit.
The particularly nice thing about Mirador Del Lago is you can choose to mingle with others on your own terms. If you’re in a social mood, great – head to the snack bar where you can try out traditional picada with fellow travelers – or you can find a tranquil spot for some alone time overlooking the lake, with poplar trees all around.
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Images: Flash Pack