Hostels can be boring, cheap, safe places to stay for a night. Of course, in Eli Roth's "Hostel" horror flicks, they can lead to torture and malice. This list leaps beyond the bare white walls and hard mattresses, while stopping short of chainsaws and blowtorches. But prisons and castles (moat included) make the cut of 22 cool and usual hostels, listed in no particular order. There's even a jumbo jet.
1 . Kadir's Tree House, Olympos, Turkey
Built as an actual tree house, Kadir's offers treehouse rooms, dormitories and private bungalows for two or three people. Breakfast and dinner are included, and Kadir's has two bars that open at lunch and close after the last guest leaves.
Guests can play volleyball, ping-pong or enjoy a picnic outdoors at Kadir's. The hostel is close to the beach and ancient ruins
There are 300 beds plus camping grounds.
Rates start at $14.44 per person for Jan. 1.
2. Hedonisia Hawaii Ecohostel, Pahoa, Hawaii.
Hedonisia is, you know, just another farm in the Hawaiian rainforest. This is a place for those who enjoy privacy more than company; there are only 10 beds on the nearly 4-acre property.
Part of the price of the room goes toward an agricultural fee that allows guests to harvest fruit and vegetables from the garden on the property.
Volcanoes National Park and black-sand beaches are within a couple of hours of driving from Hedonisia.
The hostel also offers a Fair-Trade Volunteer Program that provides volunteers accommodation for 15 hours of work per week.
Otherwise, rates start at $20 per room.
3. Gram's Place, Tampa, Florida
Gram's Place is named after musician Gram Parsons, and with music-themed (blues, jazz, rock 'n' roll, country, etc.) rooms, instruments provided to guests, and a recording studio, it is a great musician's getaway.
The sleeper car on a simulated railroad station depot is the coed dorm. There is a large jacuzzi area, with waterfalls and hammocks in one of the courtyards adjacent to the BYOB bar, Parsons Pub.
If you feel like getting away, Gram's offers bicycle and kayak rentals, as well as trips to two local beaches.
Rates start at $24.75 for Jan. 1.
4. Hostel Celica, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Up until 1991 Hostel Celica was a military prison. Now, 20 renovated prison cells serve as hostel cells, each with a different design. For travelers not looking to sleep in a former jail cell, there are eight rooms with ensuite bathrooms.
The hostel has several themed get-togethers throughout the week, ranging from barbecues to jam sessions. On the ground floor of the former prison is an art gallery, Srecisce, that plays host to some international art exhibitions.
Rooms start at $28.87 for Feb. 1.
5. Daddy Long Legs, Cape Town, South Africa
This is a boutique hostel in a century-old, four-story Victorian building with 13 rooms, each unique (like the Photo Booth, You Are Here and the Palimpsest rooms), and each looking like it is part of an art exhibition. Every room also has a private shower and toilet.
There is a communal area that includes a bar and balcony.
Rates start at $55.14 for Jan. 1.
Info: www.daddylonglegs.co.za (There are also apartments and trailers; this is the Art Hotel)
6. Praakli Farm, Saaremaa, Estonia
Praakli has 22 beds on a real organic farm with more than 100 animals, including sheep, goats, dogs, cats, rabbits and even bees.
The farm offers hiking and cycling tours, berry and mushroom picking, and there is a playground for those with children. From Praakli, it's about eight miles to Baltic Sea beaches.
Rates start at $30 for Jan. 1.
7. Carbisdale Castle, Carbisdale, Scotland
This castle was built in the early 20th century for the Duchess of Sutherland. It has a vast collection of art on the walls of the communal areas. Some pieces date back more than 300 years. There are also many Italian marble statues on display in the main gallery, dating to the late 19th century.
Along with the guests, a few ghosts are said to stay the night as well. (Hostel Bookers lists the Carbisdale Castle as a haunted hostel.)
Rates start at $32 a night. Make reservations at least five months in advance; otherwise it is likely to be fully booked.
8. Sepilok Jungle Resort, Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia
This jungle resort is stashed away in a tropical virgin rainforest in Malaysia. There are hiking areas where you can catch views of the surrounding wildlife. This hostel is just a short walk from the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, one of only four orangutan sanctuaries in the world.
If you don't feel like taking the trek to see the intelligent apes, you'll find a pool, steam room, sauna and a gym to help give you a brief break from your travels. There is also a café and restaurant on the property.
Rates start at $23.81 for Jan. 1.
9. Point Montara Lighthouse, Montara, California
About 20 miles south of San Francisco is a 45-bed hostel inside an old fog signal. A secluded beach and a clifftop view are just a couple of the common areas. From the hostel, there is easy access to hiking, surfing and horseback riding.
The indoor dining rooms overlook the ocean. There is also outdoor seating for picnics and barbecues.
Rates start at $28.80 for Feb. 1.
10. Grampians YHA Eco Hostel, Grampians, Australia
This eco-friendly hostel is powered by solar electricity and uses solar for its hot water. And that wastewater from dishwashing and bathing? It becomes moisture for the landscaping.
This place relies on nature and brings visitors closer to it. It is settled in Grampians National Park, where you can hike or rock climb. At night, guests can see the kangaroos in the yard surrounding the building.
Rates start at $30 for Jan. 1.Info: www.yha.com.au/hostels/vic/great-ocean-rd-grampians/grampians-halls-gap/
11. Marie-Anns Houseboat/Deo Volente, Amsterdam
If you ever wanted to be whisked away off to dreamland on calming waves but weren't allowed to have a waterbed, Marie-Anns Houseboat may be your best bet. There are four beds in two double rooms. Get views of surrounding Amsterdam on the rooftop of the houseboat. It's a short walk to the city center so this is convenient as well.
Rates start at $55 for Feb. 1.
12. St. Briavels Castle, St. Briavels, England
Here's a castle with a long history. It was built as a hunting lodge for King John in 1205 and eventually used as a prison until 1842. There used to be a drawbridge over a moat at the entrance, but now the moat has partly become a garden and the drawbridge is gone.
There are often medieval banquets on Saturday evenings (also available upon request).
Rates start at $28 for Jan. 1.
13. Hostel Brumund, Brumunddal, Norway
Hostel Brumund is two separate treetop huts. The Pine Hut, the original, was built in 2006. It is the smaller of the two, squeezing in five people. It sits about 25 feet above ground in a 250-year-old pine tree (hence the name).
The Larch Hut was built in 2009, modeled essentially on the Pine Hut but just a bit bigger. This cabin has room for six people. The porch offers a view of a nearby lake.
Rates start at $164 for Jan. 1.
14. Jumbo Stay Hostel, Stockholm
This is a real retired Boeing 747-200 Jumbo Jet that opened as a hostel in January 2009 at Arlanda Airport in Stockholm. Oscar Dios, the creator of the Jumbo Stay, squeezed 25 rooms with 85 beds inside the plane.
For those willing to spend some extra cash, the cockpit has been turned into a suite, with views of the airport's runway.
Rates start at $57.36 for Jan. 1.
15. Zhangzhou Wei Qun Lou Inn, Zhangzhou, China
The Zhangzhou Wei Qun Inn, in Fujian province, makes the list based on its appearance alone. Reviewers say it's like a UFO. At night, lanterns hang on each floor, lighting up the building with a red glow.
Rates start at $7.50 for Jan. 1.
16. Travellers' Cave Pension, Goreme, Turkey
Sleeping in a cave can be comfortable. Traveller's Cave Pension offers cave rooms as well as fairy chimney rooms (the local name for small, protruding rock formations).
A welcome drink is provided on arrival, and the terrace has a panoramic view of the town. Travellers' Cave will also set up hot air balloon tours and horseback riding for guests. Scooters and bicycles are available to rent.
Rates start at $9.25 for Jan. 1.
17. Radeka Downunder, Coober Pedy, Australia
Radeka Downunder, a one-time opal mine, has been transformed into an underground hostel and motel.
Accommodations consist of motel rooms, budget rooms and dormitories. The motel rooms can be about 10 feet underground; while the budget rooms and dormitories are about 20 feet under. It might be 110 degrees, but in this land down under, it will be about 80. It works the same way in the winter: When it's in the 30s outside, it will be about 70 inside.
Coober Pedy has many underground attractions, including homes, museums, an art gallery and opal mines.
Rates start at $63 for Jan. 1.
18. Asylum Lodge, Seacliff, New Zealand
When it was built as the Seacliff Lunatic Asylum in the 19th century, it was the largest building in New Zealand. The hostel itself is in some of the remaining hospital buildings.
The asylum has a dark past. In December 1942, a fire broke out in what was Ward 5, killing 39 patients trapped in the building. Two women survived. At the time, it was the country's deadliest fire.
Rates start at $23.
19. Bungalow Bay Koala Village, Magnetic Island, Australia
At the wildlife park at Bungalow Bay Koala Village, rangers will allow guests to hold koalas, crocodiles or lizards.
Oh, you still want to know more? If you feel like kicking back, you'll find a bar on the property and hammocks by the pool. If you're feeling active, there are walking tracks, as well as horseback riding on the beach.
This is an eco-hostel with 25 private bungalows and five dorm areas.
Rates start at $29.31 for Jan. 1.
20. Railway Square, Sydney, Australia
Travelers can stay in one of the railway carriages on what used to be Platform Zero next to Central Station in Sydney.
Otherwise, guests can decide to stay in what is the original main building. It was built in the early 20th century and has since been renovated and turned into accommodations.
Railway Square is just outside of Central Station, giving travelers easy access to Sydney's sights.
Rates start at $35.17 for Feb. 1.
21. Rygerfjord Hotel and Hostel, Stockholm, Sweden.
These are two permanently docked former cruise ships (one a hotel and one a hostel) on Lake Mälaren that give guests a partial experience of a cruise (minus the actual cruising), at the cost of a hostel.
There are restaurant, bar, and lounge areas on the ship.
The Rygerfjord was built in 1950 and was eventually converted to a hostel in 1995. There are now 55 cabins, with about 150 beds.
Rates start at $44.16 for Jan. 1.
22. Clink78, London, England.
Clink78 is a restored 200-year-old courthouse in London. Two original courtrooms and seven original prison cells remain in the building.
The hostel offers free breakfast to guests in its dorms, private rooms or prison cell accommodations. Clink78 also provides free walking tours of London.
Rates start at $21 for Jan. 1.
Info: http://www.clinkhostels.com/en/about/clink78Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times