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Guesthouse vs. Hostel: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on June 5, 2024
A guesthouse is typically a private home converted for guest accommodation, while a hostel is a budget-friendly accommodation often with shared rooms and facilities.

Key Differences

A guesthouse often embodies a more personal, home-like environment. They may offer private rooms and generally provide a more intimate setting than hotels. Often owned by individuals or families, guesthouses may offer meals but lack the full array of services a hotel might provide. Hostels, in contrast, are known for creating a social environment, where travelers, often younger ones, can connect.
When considering a guesthouse, think about a quiet, cozy atmosphere, perhaps with the charm of the local culture and personalized service from the hosts. Hostels, conversely, prioritize communal spaces, perhaps providing shared kitchens and common areas, where guests, potentially solo travelers, can meet and mingle.
The guesthouse will typically cater to guests looking for a bit of solitude or a serene environment, often providing private rooms. Whereas, hostels often house multiple guests in a single room, providing bunk beds and shared facilities, making it a vibrant and interactive stay.
Privacy and price are notable distinctions. A guesthouse might offer private bathrooms and be priced slightly higher due to the added privacy and amenities. In a hostel, shared bathrooms are common, and the cost is usually quite budget-friendly, making it a favored choice among backpackers and budget travelers.
The appeal of a guesthouse often lies in its tranquility and the possibility of a more tailored, local experience. Hostels tend to draw those seeking dynamic environments, looking for travel companions, or simply wanting a more economically viable lodging option.

Comparison Chart


A private house offering paid accommodation to travelers
A budget-friendly accommodation with shared facilities

Word Class


Plural Form


Example Sentence

"We stayed at a lovely guesthouse in Paris."
"I booked a bed in a hostel in Berlin."

Associated Adjective


Guesthouse and Hostel Definitions


A lodging that is often smaller and more intimate than a hotel.
The guesthouse provided a cozy retreat in the heart of the city.


A place offering temporary accommodations to specific groups.
The youth hostel hosted school groups on field trips.


A property that provides lodging and possibly meals.
They operate a guesthouse that caters specifically to bird-watchers.


A budget-friendly option emphasizing communal living spaces.
The hostel had a shared kitchen where guests cooked together.


A small, separate building for guests.
The estate featured a luxurious guesthouse by the lake.


A lodging option often popular with young or solo travelers.
She met fellow adventurers while staying at a hostel in Prague.


A private home that has been converted for guest accommodation.
They converted their old villa into a charming guesthouse.


An establishment providing cheap accommodation, typically in shared rooms.
Backpackers often choose to stay in a hostel to save money.


A small-scale establishment offering overnight stays.
Travelers appreciated the quaint charm of the seaside guesthouse.


An inn providing lodging and food, historically.
In medieval times, the hostel served travelers and pilgrims alike.


A small house or cottage adjacent to a main house, used for lodging guests.


A supervised, inexpensive lodging place for travelers, especially young travelers.


A bed-and-breakfast.


An inn; a hotel.


A small house near a main house, for lodging visitors.


A private house offering accommodation to paying guests; a boarding house; a bed and breakfast.


A house separate from the main house; for housing guests


What is typically more expensive, a guesthouse or a hostel?

Generally, a guesthouse is more expensive than a hostel due to additional privacy and amenities.

Do hostels only offer shared rooms?

No, some hostels offer private rooms, but they are known for their shared accommodations.

Are meals included at a guesthouse?

It depends; some guesthouses offer meals, while others might only offer lodging.

Can you book a private room in a hostel?

Yes, many hostels offer the option of private rooms, often at a higher rate than shared rooms.

Can you host events at a guesthouse?

Some guesthouses may accommodate events, but you'll need to check their specific policies.

Is a guesthouse the same as a Bed and Breakfast (B&B)?

Not exactly. Both offer lodging, but a B&B typically includes breakfast, while a guesthouse might not.

Are hostels safe for solo travelers?

Generally, yes. Hostels often have security measures, but travelers should always stay vigilant.

Is it common for a guesthouse to be located in a residential area?

Yes, guesthouses are often located in residential areas, providing a home-like environment.

Are all hostels youth hostels?

No, while some hostels cater primarily to young travelers, many welcome guests of all ages.

Are linens and towels commonly provided in hostels?

Many hostels provide linens, but towels might be available for a fee or not at all.

Do hostels have curfews?

Some hostels might have curfews, particularly youth hostels, while others may offer 24/7 access.

Is it possible to rent an entire hostel?

Some hostels allow full rentals for large groups or events; you would need to check with the individual establishment.

Are hostels only found in urban areas?

No, hostels can be found in various locales, including cities, towns, and rural areas.

Is there usually a kitchen available for use in a hostel?

Many hostels offer shared kitchen facilities where guests can prepare their own meals.

Can you find luxury guesthouses?

Yes, there are luxury guesthouses offering high-end amenities and services.

Can guesthouses be rented for longer periods?

Yes, some guesthouses offer discounts for extended stays, but it's best to inquire directly.

Are pets typically allowed in guesthouses?

Policies vary; some guesthouses allow pets, while others do not.

Do guesthouses typically have WiFi?

Most guesthouses offer WiFi, but it's always a good idea to check in advance.

Can families stay in a hostel?

Yes, many hostels accommodate families, but it’s best to check facilities and room types in advance.

Do all guesthouses provide private bathrooms?

Not necessarily. Some might have shared bathrooms, so it’s crucial to check beforehand.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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