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Hostel Lao, Mendoza

Best for… laidback sociability.

Dinner at Hostel Lao © Craig FastThere are many good reasons why Hostel Lao is frequently in HostelWorld’s list of top Argentine hostels. I’ll start with the hammocks and garden, move on to the owners and finish with the dogs.

The shared areas are a lonely traveller’s wet dream. Clearly, a comfort addict has run amok in the garden, scattering hammocks, garden furniture, tablecloths and day beds in his wake. The pool, although it administers a healthy shock to the nipples on first entry, is better than nothing and manages to complement rather than overwhelm what is a rather cosy chill-out area.

Inside, a large futon, corner sofa and DVD collection cater for those missing a few home comforts. The kitchen is more than adequate for guests who don’t fancy joining the rest of the crowd in a trip to one of Mendoza’s many restaurants reliably recommended by the hostel. Dorm rooms are small but the bathrooms are spacious enough and the entire hostel is obsessively clean from front door to garden wall. The double rooms are comfortable with a few personal touches that make the relatively small extra expense more than worth it.

Hostel Lao dogs © Craig FastTalking of the personal touch, Brit-Argentine owners Mike and Celeste do everything they can to make sure your stay is comfortable. Breakfast is served from 7am to midday – why can’t more hostels be this flexible? The weekly asado (Argentine BBQ) is legendary and the tours they recommend are chosen for value and quality rather than commission. The sociability this attitude engenders in the hostel is fantastic. Free wine at 8pm five evenings a week will have that effect…

Best of all, they have two dogs, Aster and Bambino, who run around begging you to throw a stick. They’re adorably irresistible. Whatever you do though, don’t feed them scraps from the table. You will be thrown out, much to the delight of the next walk-in who, guaranteed, won’t be far behind.

Beds are highly sought after so I recommend you book in advance. Hostel Lao does save a few beds for walk-ins every day, and if they fill up the hammocks do occasionally get taken too.

Hostel Lao
Rioja 771, Mendoza, Argentina
Tel: (+54) 261 4380 454
www.laohostel.com

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Overland Traveller copyright © Emma Field 2010