It’s hard to find a boutique hostel that actually deserves the title.
It turns out that there is the ultimate example of one done right, sitting in the relaxed Uruguayan capital of Montevideo.
We haven’t really hit up a true boutique hostel in our South American travels. The way we’ve usually thought about it is that a hostel will buy some sale price modern art, get some antique nic-nacs, throw the word ‘boutique’ in their title and then pump up their prices by 50%.
So it was with some apprehension that we walked through the doors of Hostel Chic, a relatively new German-backed hostel option in the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo.
Hostel Chic sits in Montevideo’s old town, next to the wharf that essentially built the city. This is an area of the city that is on the tipping point of becoming the place to be. Think London’s Canary Wharf of the mid-90s. Or the Fremantle, Western Australia of the early 2000s.
As such, the area still has its grimier elements. But if anything, that just adds to the character of the place. And at just 3 blocks from the town’s main square, you are in a prime location to attack the historic old town.
The hostel building itself, as with most in the area, had an industrial start to life. But the conversion to a hostel has been seamless, and the results are gorgeous.
The building is super spacious, with a massive welcoming hallway housing only the stairs to get up to the first floor. I think the sense of scale can be put down solely to the ceiling height, which is outrageous. One floor could have easily been converted into two, but the fact that they haven’t really creates the unique and airy feel of the joint.
The small number of guests that the hostel provides for meant that we essentially had the well-equipped kitchen to ourselves – a godsend when you’ve been staying with larger hostels and almost enter into fist-fights when it comes to dinner time. We took the liberty of cooking a roast, and after 8 roast-chickenless months, it tasted better than I could’ve ever imagined.
The second floor is a mezzanine that overlooks the communal area, and has its own chill-out area and TV. Above that is the balcony, where you have a great view of the water and a barbecue setup that you can capitalise on as you please. There had been whispers that the staff at the hostel cooked an asado (South American BBQ) that is to die for, but unfortunately our dates meant it didn’t quite happen.
Speaking of the staff, they couldn’t be friendlier. Luis and Isabella welcomed us like family, and the info they provided about Montevideo and surrounds was awesome.
All-in-all we couldn’t be happier with our first boutique hostel experience. If you find yourself in Montevideo and need a bed, look no further. You can hit up Montevideo Chic via their website or Facebook Page.