Generator Hostel Paris
Credit: Courtesy of Generator Hostel Paris

It’s time to drop every preconceived notion you have about hostels, because there’s nary a rickety bunk beds to be found at those of Generator, a new design-focused brand with locations in culture capitals like London, Barcelona, and Berlin. The brand is reinventing the affordable-accommodation model, and ensuring that hostel-hopping through Europe no longer requires roughing it.

For example, at the just-opened Generator Paris—in the up-and-coming 10th arrondissement district—a rooftop bar with views of Montmartre and Sacré Coeur make the $77 rate (for a private room on a Friday in May, no less) something from a dream. Willing to share a room? That rate dips to $36.

So how do they keep prices low, while maintaining a comfortable, clean experience for guests?

“When I'm in a three-star hotel room, there's probably 10 things I literally never touch when I'm in there,” said Generator's Chief Strategic Officer Josh Wyatt in an interview with Cool Hunting. “I think you can reduce or eliminate all those things, and that knocks $20 off the room rate—and your customer is happier, because they're getting a better deal and they're spending their money where they really want to spend it."

To put it in other words, they have everything the modern traveler needs—Wi-Fi, fresh linens, and carefully curating décor (think Tom Dixon lights, original Parisian metro tiles, and colorful hammocks)—and nothing they don’t.

Caroline Hallemann is the Assistant Digital Editor of Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @challemann.