The words “glam” and “hostel” don’t seem to mix, but Happy Buddha Boutique Hostel, located in the heart of Poblado, does just that, aiming to please travelers who seek luxury and style, but who are also frugal-minded.
It is the first place in Colombia that mixes your favorite qualities of a hotel and a hostel, in one location.
This 3-year-old renovated boutique hostel features:
- Chic décor
- Stylish bar terrace
- Pool and ping-pong tables
- En suite bathrooms with complimentary soap, conditioner, shampoo and towel
- In-room flat screen TVs, free Wi-Fi
- Spacious lockers with shelves and charge ports for your electronics
- Individual bunk bed lights
- 24-hour bilingual reception
Dorms start at 30,000 pesos (about $16) per night per person. Private rooms start at 110,000 pesos (about $57).
The price at the Happy Buddha also includes a great breakfast — eggs, toast and sausage, and on the weekends, calentado, the popular mix of rice and beans that’s a staple in Colombia.
Tree Bar is actually what drew me to the hostel in the first place. This fun bar is open to everyone, whether they’re staying at the hostel or not.
The bar overlooks Via Provenza, one of the trendiest streets in Medellín that is home to or near some of the most popular locales in the city, such as Bogotá Beer Company and the Santo Baile dance studio.
As I sat there, I noticed how clean and organized the hostel is, so much so that there is a shine to it.
Some people were playing pool, some playing beer pong, others just enjoying a drink and getting to know the locals.
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There is a blackboard near the reception area that spells out events for each night, everything from a free salsa class (with free shots for those who dance) on Wednesdays to unlimited happy hour drinks if you wear a costume on Thursdays. Only on Sundays is there a day of rest.
The staff, dressed in sharp uniforms, is really friendly and makes you feel right at home.
I later learned that the employees receive full benefits and were trained by a seasoned hospitality veteran on how to handle the 100-plus savvy travelers who fill this place nightly.
Maybe the best part of the Happy Buddha is this: as great as it already is, it’s going to only get better.
Another Happy Buddha will open this year in Guatapé, with over 80 beds, a floating lakefront bar, a massive infinity edge pool, and a vast array of water sports. (Editor’s note: Book your stay at the Guatapé location here.)
The hostel was inspired by Luna’s Castle, a hostel in Panamá City.
The owners noticed a trend of boutique hostels in Europe, the United States, and elsewhere, and they wanted to bring that to Colombia.
As they like to say: “We’re pioneering a new segment in the hospitality industry.”
This post was brought to you by Happy Buddha Boutique Hostel and Tree Bar.