Winner: Vagabond Hostel (Moscow, Russia)
For me, this one was pretty much had to go with Vagabond, which was my home for eight months. I made more friends than I can count and had so many experiences I'll never forget. For example. every person so far featured on the Awesome People's page was someone I met there, and the staff was not only helpful, but now happen to be my best friends in the whole city. Not to mention, Vagabond goes above and beyond, more than anywhere, whether it be weekly concerts, enormous free breakfasts, and help with whatever you need, to make sure your stay in Moscow is amazing. I could go on forever, but instead, please check out the Moscow page where I've already written extensively about it.
Comrade Hostel (Moscow)
Before I get to the Runners Up section, I have to give a shout-out to Comrade Hostel in Moscow as well. Over the pat three months, I've been spending a fair amount of time here (even a little more than Vagabond), and I can confirm that it too is a place of wonders. Although it doesn't have the free breakfasts or quite the close social atmosphere of Vagabond, the staff, led by Masha (possibly the most chill yet interesting person I know) is absolutely amazing and can help with pretty much everything you can imagine. The place is a little more quiet and relaxed, with ample room for personal space, but still gets pretty lively ever once in a while, so you can still have a good social experience. And, on a personal note, it is where I've done most of the writing for this blog. So, yeah, its awesome.
Why Not? Hostel (Tbilisi, Georgia)
Although I had stayed in a variety of hostels before, this was by far the first one I can truly call amazing.It was just such a welcoming, communal place with cats, drinks, and a nice balcony overlooking the street. And to this day, it still has the largest common room (30 beds) and most extensive breakfast of any place I've ever stayed in. Plus the staff was super helpful when it came to everything, including giving free, leftover metro cards to guests. I guess the only reason why this one doesn't get the top spot is due to the fact I've never lived there and didn't get the chance to closely befriend the staff. Who knows though. Maybe sometime in the future, perhaps?
Almaty Dom Hostel (Almaty, Kazakhstan)
If you've spoken to me recently, I have probably raved about my recent trip to Kazakhstan. Therefore, I need to give credit where credit it due and acknowledge that if it was not for Almaty Dom Hostel and its host Shakir, my trip would not have been as good as it was. Alongside the general helpfulness and welcoming atmosphere, this hostel quite literally felt like a home (hence the name 'dom' meaning home is Russian). The bedrooms were quite literally bedrooms, you could make and eat your dinner in an actual kitchen and living room, and it was all the perfect atmosphere to meet other interesting travelers. I can personally back the last statement because I went on to travel to Kyrgyzstan with people I met at Almaty Dom. And finally, as a little cool side feature, Shakir keeps a wall where guests are to either write a message or draw a picture to commemorate their stay. The whole place is full of such features that give it that little extra personal feel, making it all the more worth staying.
Kismet Dao (Brasov, Romania)
Pretty much every aspect about this hostel was unbelievably cool. I noticed this right when I first entered, as I was greeted by a huge mural of Vlad the Impailer riding a bicycle and a friendly hostel dog. There was also a really nice, green backdoor garden, impressive breakfast, and, best of all, one free drink per person, per day. The staff was also super helpful and the area was gorgeous as well. Unfortunately, I was only there for two days, so I didn't get enough time to know it enough for it to reach the top spot. Oh well, I guess that means I have to return!