Props to the groovy people at Cool Tools for the pointer to a directory of hostels around the world — http://www.hostelz.com/ . This site contains information on over 22,000 hostels in over 6,000 countries in the world.
Searching from the front page is extremely simple. Enter the name of the city or country you wish to stay, or the name of the hostel. I’ve been reading a lot of Inspector Maigret stories lately so I searched on Paris. I got a couple dozen results of hostels in Paris (the results were not numbered) with the option to narrow down the results further by area of the city (a dozen different areas!) The results listing included a star rating, name, and a very brief description. Beneath the hostel listings you’ll also find reviews of the area itself.
Click on the hostel name to get to its page and much more extensive information, including address, price, direction, and contact information. The site has a great layout which contrasts the way the hostel describes itself with a Hostelz.com review. There are also often a lot of photographs available. After the hostelz.com reviews there were customer reviews available. It was a pleasant surprise to see that there were more places that had reviews than did not (on my sites I visit that’s reversed.) Some sites had dozens and dozens of reviews.
The left nav has links to other places in the area that you can link to, and also links to information resources (Wikipedia etc.) about the area.
All the places I looked at had contact information available, so you could get in touch with them directly for a reservation. Hostelz also had an option to look for reservations, but it seemed to take a bit of time to load.
Chock full of information and the reviews had a much higher usefulness percentage than I’ve seen on some sites. I would have only two suggestions — make there be some way to enlarge the pictures taken at the hostels (I clicked on them thinking I would get a larger version, nothing), and perhaps have some way to quickly show how old some of the visitor reviews are (maybe a shaded bar at the top of the review?)
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