The backpackers have spoken: Buffalo has the best youth hostel in North America.
Hostelling International-Buffalo Niagara, at 667 Main St. in the Theater District, received its "Hoscar" from Hostelworld.com. The location is operated by the Niagara Frontier Council of Hostelling International-USA.
The awards were based on the results of surveys of hostel users who booked their stays through Hostelworld.com. More than 500,000 users graded the properties on six criteria: character, security, location, staff, fun and cleanliness. More than 10,000 hostels are featured on the site. Donnie Morgan, the manager of the Buffalo hostel, said it was nice to receive recognition for some of the same responses that staff members hear from their visitors.
"We have a reputation that we built over the years of being very friendly, very clean and very customer-service oriented," she said.
The 48-bed Buffalo hostel opened in December 1996. It hosted 5,500 overnight stays in 2005, with more than 75 percent of the travelers coming from overseas. June through September is its busiest time of year. Rates in the dormitory-style accommodations are $20 a night for Hostelling International members and $23 for all others.
Niagara Falls is a big drawing card for visitors, Morgan said.
The Buffalo hostel gives them a unique opportunity to stay in a smaller hostel, she added.
A hostel in Latvia was named the best in the world in the awards program. The Buffalo hostel won in awards by continent.
Hostelworld.com is a booking and community site for backpackers and other budget and independent travelers.
The awards were part of the second annual Hostel Conference, which was held in Dublin, Ireland, and attended by more than 300 hostel owners and managers around the world.