Smart City Hostel
This huge, five-star hostel has 132 rooms sleeping between two and 12 people. It knows its clientele well, being grown-up enough to have clean, smart rooms which are en-suite – and a licensed bar and restaurant – but avoiding spending on unnecessary frills to help keep costs down. For most visitors its Old Town location will be hard to beat but, in July and August look out, too, for Smart City iQ, a collection of designer student apartments in the West End that the hostel also rents out.
• 50 Blackfriars Street, 0131-524 1989 (reservations: 0800 840 5500), smartcityhostels.com, private twins from £51.80, dorm beds from £10pp
Definitely a 21st-century breed of hostel, though its dorms are still pretty basic, Art Roch looks as though it’s been given a once-over by the students of Edinburgh College of Art – especially in the cafe and lounge areas, with their exposed brickwork, painted floors and industrial-chic vibe. The fact that it’s a hostel – and set in Saturday night party central, the Grassmarket – means it’s still pretty lively, so don’t book in here if you’re looking for a quiet night. You’re likely to be somewhat disturbed by noise even if you book one of the doubles. If you want a cheap bed with a bit of style, though, it’s a step above your average hostel.
• 2 West Port, 0131-228 9981, artrochhostel.com, doubles from £55, dorm beds from £10 room only